The first time I tried Love Bites Raw Chocolate, I was rushing through a Saturday Farmers Market. Merissa’s striking chocolate confections, with a little sign next to one reading ‘Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt’, stopped me right in my tracks.
I popped that sample in my mouth and as it melted away, Merissa, owner of Love Bites, started telling me I was eating vegan chocolate, the health benefits of the chocolates, that they are created with fair trade cocao… of course, she just had me at dark chocolate and sea salt.
I was hooked and wanted to learn more so we met up at the commercial kitchen she works out of for a little lesson in vegan chocolate.
Since cacao is not produced locally, the next best thing are fair trade products and all of Love Bites cacao is organically produced and sourced from David Wolfe’s Longevity Warehouse. All other ingredients are organic as well, and are picked not only for their flavor but for their health benefits, so eating a piece of Love Bites chocolate truly is a guilt free indulgence.
Love Bites confections are also raw confections, so they must be kept in the refrigerator and consumed within three months. (Of course they probably won’t last in your home more then a day.) Many raw companies with shelf stable chocolates temper their chocolates at close to 120 degrees, which is not truly raw and kills vital enzymes. Love Bites has their own process that never reaches over the human body temperature of 98.7 degrees. Also, Merissa warns of use of products like Agave nectar, which is almost always highly processed. So if you are looking for the real vegan, raw deal in chocolate, read your labels and do your research. Or, now that I’ve done if for you, buy from Merissa!
Love Bites also has vegan milk chocolate that uses organic cashew butter as it’s base. I have to tell you, you would have no idea! Merissa whipped up a batch for samples while I was there and it was silky smooth and delicious.
Love Bites came to be through Merissa’s journey with health and nutrition. As a sick child, she learned early on about both traditional and alternative medicines. As a child growing up in Hawaii and later as an adult having spent time in the Caribbean, she also knew what it meant to eat locally and it was during her time in Dominica that she first saw cacao growing and tried harvesting it on her own. Her love of yoga and the mind/body connection all came together when she started making her own batches of chocolate, first for herself, then as a buisness.
Right now there are eight flavors and they are all wonderful artisan pieces. I went in thinking the sea salt would continue to be my hands down favorite but after getting to taste them all, I honestly couldn’t tell you my fav. Each one brings a unique taste to the palette and eating them is so guilt free! Although I am not vegan, not having dairy is not a bad thing! And no soy, no gluten, and no refined sugar either.
On the left we have the gorgeous Dark Chocolate Chai (turmeric, cardamom, ginger, pepper…) which has a nice kick at the end. On the right is the Nibs ‘N Cream “white chocolate” with amazing aruba Cacao nibs (that have a hint of violet coloring!)
On the left, below, are the star shaped Vegan “milk” Chocolate that are so, so silky smooth! The round ones on the right are Dark Orange, two amazing flavors that work so well together!
I really loved the uniqueness of the Dark Chocolate Goji Berry chocolate. It actually has seven berries mixed into the chocolate with a mostly raspberry flavor and the cute little goji berry on top. Yum!!!!
There is also the Dark Chocolate Celtic Sea Salt, Peppermint Crunch and the Mayan Heat with just the perfect amount of hot! Most of her chocolates only have four ingrediants!
As you know, I love sharing great food artisans with you and giving them a spotlight so more people are aware of their amazing work! Right now, Love Bites can be purchased online here: Love Bites Raw Confections. If you are in the greater Los Angeles area, you can also find Merissa with her chocolates at the Saturday Farmers Market in Calabasas and on Sundays at the Westlake one.
Learn more about Merissa and her goodies at Love Bites.