We take chocolate for granted. Kisses, bars, truffles, and so forth; piles of the sweetest variety emerge in October, and taper off some time mid-February. After a while, it all tastes the same and has the same effect on us. Yet does anyone ever think beyond engaging in the gluttony? Eddie Perrin did. Actually, he had to for a client. This is where our story begins.
Perrin had been private chefing in Los Angeles, specializing in raw vegan cuisine. A couple hired him to work on a dietary plan for their autistic son. Previous treatments weren't effective, and they thought healthy eating would make an impact. Brian was 43-years old, with the IQ of a 6-year old. He had childlike cravings for fast food and dessert. However, Eddie could not cook anything with sugar, as it would spike Brian's blood sugar for the worse. He began experimenting with chocolate, and was determined to create sweets that were good for Brian, yet still tasted delicious.
Eddie did research with a friend who previously worked with chocolate. They convinced him to just wing it, since he had the culinary experience. He discovered many things about cacao beans. For example, it solidifies at three different temperatures. Perrin jokingly remarked, "It was more temperamental than any female than I've ever met." [That must've gone over well with the missus.]. It was both heat and cold sensitive. If he wasn't in a good mood, the chocolate would know, and batches turned out poorly. As a result, he never even bothered going into the kitchen unless he was in the best of moods.
His biggest challenge was finding a way to make desserts sweet enough, but without all the fat and sugar. Perrin originally tried substituting stevia, but too much became overpowering. He discovered xylitol, a different plant-derived sweetener that didn't spike Brian's blood sugar. It was a success. Eddie made a few extra sweets for himself and his friends. People loved the small batches of chocolate, and Love Snax was born roughly five years ago.
Since the chocolates are heated below 118-degrees, they are considered a raw treat. Without any dairy or other animal products, they're also vegan. Before utilizing any resources, all products are studied thoroughly. Cacao is shipped from a single farm in Ecuador, and the workers are paid a living wage, unlike some of the slavery still going on in other areas. It makes for a fair trade product made from organic ingredients. Love Snax packaging is made of compostable materials. Even their shipping is green; delivery under a 12-mile radius is done on Eddie's bicycle. Over 12, and he rides a moped. When he's not working in the kitchen, he doubles as a surf instructor in Laguna Beach.
Our sampling began with their most popular flavor, lucuma vanilla. Lucuma is a South American superfruit used in desserts. Once only fit for kings and queens, the inclusion of vanilla makes for a buttery blend. Their strawberry blondes infuse white chocolate with coconut palm sugar. This mineral-rich sweetener has an almost maple quality. A bonus: it doesn't spike blood sugar, making it ideal for people with diabetes. A mild, yet soothing morsel.
The individual candies have a glossy sheen, feeding into my senses further. I bit into a piece of habanero vanilla, and realized why folks were most curious about this one. The habanero has a high spice note, hitting one's taste buds on the finish. Pink Himalayan crystal salt compliments the heat, as well as the fresh ground Tahitian vanilla. A flavor simply called nice is exactly that, traditional dark chocolate for those craving a hit.
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His parents influence a couple of labor-intensive flavors. For mom, Eddie created a rose flavor, scented with flower essences. Trust me when I say you gotta really love flowers to enjoy this. The bouquet alone nearly overtakes you. Maybe this is your affordable flower arrangement? Dad is a fan of peanut butter cups, so for his last birthday, that's what he requested. Sweet.
My favorite was the final piece -- orange creamsicle. Memories of hanging out with my friend's family at an ice creamery in Solvang resurfaced, minus the brain freeze. Definitely worth the indulgence.
Love Snax is family owned and operated in Laguna Beach. They can be ordered at www.lovesnax.com.