Rockin’ Women Wednesdays – Sarah Wheeler
What if you were told that eating 50 grams of 85% cacao was your cure? And you decided to create a remedy just because it felt like the right thing to do?
And what if you felt that what you had created shouldn’t be yours alone but should be shared amongst everyone? This is the true story of Sarah Wheeler and Puremelt Chocolate Byron Bay.
It all started when I went to see a professor of nutritional medicine about nine years ago.He suggested The Paleo diet. I was basically eating nuts and seeds, fruit and veg, meat and fish and nothing else but I was told I had to eat 50 grams a of 85% pure cacao chocolate. It was fantastic having this treat everyday but it was a challenge finding good quality, sugar free chocolate so a friend taught me how to make raw chocolate from scratch and I thought that’s how everybody made chocolate. I would melt down the cacao butter, blend in the cacao powder, a little bit of dark agave syrup and a lot of freshly scraped vanilla which counteracts the bitterness of the cacao. I started making it for family and friends and they loved it.
Meanwhile I became healthier and healthier , after much pathology, I was told my fertility levels had doubled.. I was 43 and we decided to have another child. I conceived in three months. all because of the chocolate, well that certainly helped me keep to the healthy diet ! With all that chocolate I never felt I was depriving myself.
I went to London to visit my mother and I passed this Chocolatier and they had a class so I thought maybe I can learn something here. He talked about cacao pods and cacao powder then he poured all these chocolate buttons into a pan and said this is how we make chocolate. That’s when I realised most Chocolatiers make it from chocolate buttons, milk, cream and sugar. But what I was doing was really quite special as I was making it from scratch and it was healthy. Cacao is the most antioxidant rich food that exists.
When I returned I went to Mullumbimby markets and got a spot there and started making a few hundred chocolates a week, I launched at Sample Food Festival and we just won a bronze medal at The Melbourne Fine Food Awards for my brownie. We won the plate last year at Sample .
We’ve just started wholesaling around the Byron Shire and the Gold Coast. Next week we will be in Canberra visiting shops and also showcasing our Puremelt Chocolate at the Handmade in Canberra markets.
Announcing The Chocolate Lounge
Her dream and vision is to set up her own chocolate lounge in Mullumbimby where people can come and see it being made, eat indulgent treats that are cane sugar free, totally ethical fair trade, have a mug of delicious drinking chocolate or a beautiful organic chai they do as well.
Sarah has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to open a chocolate lounge in Mullumbimby, where people can come and indulge in gluten-free, cane-sugar free organic deliciousness.
It will also be her production kitchen where people will be able to come and see the chocolate being made and let the community who have so supported her since she started have a place to come and learn more. The lounge means Sarah can increase production, convey the health benefits of Puremelt and share the love more widely.
Puremelt Chocolate Organic Gluten Free Brownie
Makes about 10 brownies.
70g Puremelt chocolate ( 85%)
70g salted butter
10-15g cacao powder
30g coconut, shredded
65g coconut sugar
35g hazelnuts crushed or blended
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Melt the butter and chocolate and mix together.
- Let it cool slightly and then add cacao powder and egg.
- Add the coconut sugared coconut and mix together until all blended.
- Then add nuts and pour into brownie pan or individual moulds.
- Cook for 13 minutes and then turn heat down to 160 degrees.
- Cook for a further 3 minutes.
- Allow them to cool fully and then either eat warm, refrigerate or freeze.
A few questions for Sarah
What’s your survival food when you’re on tour or working late in your business?
My survival food of course is …… Puremelt chocolate!
What’s your healthy go-to comfort food – either at home or in a restaurant?
My absolute favourite comfort food is apple compote like my Grandma used to make, with a hint of cinnamon and delicious stewed organic apples. In a restaurant it might have to be the brekkie greens at Bayleaf Cafe in Byron Bay….so delicious.
Do you have a secret remedy that keeps either your voice / mind / body in shape?
Gentle breathing, I used to be a Buteyko practitioner and I know that breathing is as important or more important as what we eat.
What is you must have piece of equipment?
I think it would have to be my basic, stainless hand whisk….. better than any machine for blending my chocolate.
What is your favourite ingredient?
That’s easy….. cacao, closely followed by apples.
What’s the most obscure request you’ve ever heard?
Mmmmm Well you can imagine the requests I have for ‘funny chocolate” and I have also had a request for gold in my chocolate so that will be coming soon.
Who has been the most influential on your life?
I guess it would have to be my father… he died 30 years ago when I was 22 and we have so much to catch up on… we were each others biggest fans and he had the most wonderful sense of humour and ethics.