GLOW Chocolate: The bond between woman and chocolate

by | Dec 3, 2018 | Food + Drink

Julie Beyer talks about chocolate like a monk talks about meditation. It’s not a treat or a vice, it’s a way of life, an almost spiritual substance.

“When I enjoy really good chocolate I just stop and I savour it and I feel connected to myself,” said Beyer. “That’s a huge part of what GLOW is – the connection to yourself and your essence. If you are connected to yourself you glow from the inside out.”

That’s some pretty heady stuff for a substance most people equate to junk food, but Beyer’s GLOW Chocolates and carob GLOWBalls are all about biting into a bit consciousness and savouring a moment of pure pleasure.

Beyer’s journey into clean eating started in her 20s. She was forced to change her diet due to health concerns, which meant she couldn’t commit many of the food indiscretions 20-something year-olds tend to do. No beers, no 3 am pizza or going out for meals – not that those eating habits are solely reserved for the young.

Julie Beyer is the owner of GLOW Chocolates. Photo: Abby Wiseman

“I felt like I didn’t really live my full 20s,” said Beyer. “It was really isolating, and that’s what got me into the kitchen, experimenting with recipes and making food for my friends.”

Sugar was a major culprit for Beyer, but finding decent sugar-free chocolate is next to impossible, and tasty carob ‘chocolate’ rarely satisfied a craving.

She found chocolate and carob, mixing spices and nuts, making carob into tasty and nutritious truffles.

Carob is a Mediterranean legume that is often used as an alternative to cacao. It looks like chocolate when ground into a flour and shares a similar consistency, but the flavour is less bitter and more earthy. It’s naturally sweeter than cacao, which makes it a favourite among diabetics and contains no stimulants, like caffeine.

Still, carob is polarizing and people tend to love or hate it.

“I can’t tell people that there is carob in it, because they have an adverse reaction, like a flashback of their hippy parents forcing them to eat bad carob,” said Beyer.

Beyer makes her carob ball in different flavours like pumpkin spice, mint and double cream. Sugar is swapped out for stevia and she incorporates ingredients like Brazil nuts, Chaga mushroom, raw vanilla bean and maca – not the kind of ingredients you’ll find in a Kit Kat bar, or even those 80% cacao chocolate bars from Whole Foods.

Staying true to her values, Beyer prioritizes using high-quality ingredients, sourced locally when possible and from trusted suppliers who share the same mission to source earth-friendly foods.

“There’s a lot of unknowns in the food industry,” said Beyer. “I can talk to some of the suppliers and know exactly where they source, but sometimes I’m sourcing from companies with larger distributors, so I have to rely on certifications. As a small producer, there is only so much you can do.”

Her chocolate is sourced from 100-year-old Ecuadorian heirloom cacao plants through Giddy Yo, a Canadian-based company that deals in organic or wild harvested fair-trade cacao.

“Every time I get a batch of chocolate it tastes a little different because it takes up the flavour of the trees around it,” said Beyer. “Sometimes I taste citrus, or coffee, or greens. The flavours vary like they do with wine.”

Beyer’s chocolates don’t have any refined sugar and she adds a bit of stevia for sweetness. Stevia is a sweet leaf that, if not measured correctly, can taste straight up awful, but Beyer added just enough to cut out the cacao’s bitterness while maintaining a smooth consistency.

We tried several of her GLOWballs, which are best served on the cold, and our top picks were mint, for its intense flavour bomb, and pumpkin spice, which goes down nice this time of year.

For many people having to make changes in their lifestyle is seen as a loss or a burden, but in Beyer’s case, it opened the door to her exploring alternative ways to eat and ultimately led her to her sacred cacao.

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Excellent work. Well done you. Bravo.

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