Chocolate Runs Deep: Chocolate is in her blood. Melissa comes from a family deeply connected to chocolate. Melissa's grandmother knew Mary Sees, and yes, she's the Mary Sees of See's Chocolates. Needless to say, Melissa grew up with chocolate, and made fudge as a kid. Melissa's mother, a life long vegan, also loves chocolate. But finding good, vegan chocolate was difficult.
The Mission: When Melissa's mother became seriously ill, Melissa wanted to cheer her up. Melissa had purchased her mother some fancy vegan chocolates. But, not being satisfied with the taste and texture of the chocolates she purchased, Melissa decided to make her own chocolates for Christmas gifts and for her mother. As Melissa tells it, she "was on a mission to make her mother happy." Soon she was running a business named Missionary Chocolates.
The Recipes: Melissa develops her own recipes. She started with a recipe from a library book and modified it to be dairy free and vegan, and a chocolate that everyone could and would want to eat. She makes her chocolate with coconut milk, having loved coconut since she was a kid. She flavors the chocolate with organic and natural fruit flavors, and makes her own caramel. She uses coconut palm sugar to sweeten some of her truffles to keep the glycemic index lower.
|The shop - Lucy is in the back|
Melissa also welcomes ideas for new flavors of truffles from her customers. While we were chatting, a customer came in, and she and Melissa discussed the idea for a pepper flavored chocolate. In fact, Melissa seemed to be on a first-name basis with most of the customers who stopped by.
|Photo from www.missionarychocolates.com|
The Mission, Part 2: Motivated to action by her mother's critical illness and long path to diagnosis and recovery, and by her desire to treat and heal the critically ill, Melissa's dream is to establish and fund an integrative natural health care clinic in Portland. She wants to fill a gap in the health care delivery system. Missionary Chocolates is the vehicle she hopes will get her there. She wants to ultimately turn Missionary Chocolates into a nonprofit to fund the clinic.
Visit Missionary Chocolates: You should really stop by her shop. You'll probably get to taste some of the chocolates if you do. They are located at 2712 NE Glisan Street in Portland. You can also find Missionary Chocolates at a few retail outlets which are listed here. Also, look for them at Portland Pairings Wine Shop. Finally, you can find Missionary Chocolates on the web at www.missionarychocolates.com.