As chocolate-lovers, we are very excited to work with chocolate makers who highlight the wellness properties of chocolate. That is why we are so excited to get to speak to Sage Dammers from the health-conscious powerhouse known as Addictive Wellness. Addictive Wellness blends the pure enjoyment of delicious chocolate with the healing, medicinal ingredients of superherbs and superfoods such as such as Lucuma, Cordyceps, Reishi Mushroom, and Ashwagandha, all used in global traditions and cultures the world over.
Sage and his partner AnnaBlanca have taken their combined experiences and knowledge to produce delicious and powerful chocolate products that complement a lifestyle that embodies both mindful and healthful indulgence and in their words, they aim to “infuse their love for each other, for life, for nature, and the desire to help everyone live their own version of the ultimate life.” They have created their chocolate to be vegan and free of sugar, gluten, GMOs, soy, dairy, and nuts, ensuring that no matter your diet or lifestyle, you are free to indulge.
At Addictive Wellness, they are careful to source their ingredients with producers who pay their workers better than fair trade wages, ensuring the quality of their product and ethical impact of their chocolate is at the forefront of their brand.
How often do we get to indulge in a healthful treat that promotes our well-being as well as the well-being of the whole world?
How did you decide to pursue an interest in the artisanal market?
I first learned to make chocolate in the jungles of Costa Rica when I was 19 and fell in love both with the experience and also with the idea of really pure chocolate as a “gateway health food.” I was (and still am) very passionate about natural health, nutrition, and traditional herbal systems of ancient indigenous cultures. I’ve always been happy to eat anything that I knew was good for me, no matter how bad it tasted. But I knew if I was going to introduce others to some of my favorite exotic herbs, I was going to have to make them taste amazing. On my own healing journey I had to cut sugar completely out of my diet. I wanted to make this chocolate sugar-free so that anyone who didn’t want to have sugar could still enjoy the magic of chocolate.
You state that you carefully source your ingredients. What goes into the process of choosing the right ingredients for your products? If that is too proprietary, do you source your ingredients by getting to know the growers, seeing their location, etc.?
I’ve had the good fortune to grow up in and around the health food industry and have built strong relationships with our suppliers over the course of many years. Purity, potency, and origin are all extremely important to me when it comes to sourcing. We test all of our ingredients for heavy metals, as this is a very common problem with many chocolates and herbal products. We also test our cacao for mold and mycotoxins to ensure that it is completely clean. We are very proud of the potency of our ingredients, and the customer reviews on our site stand as a great testament to this. Finally, we strongly believe in the Taoist philosophy of “Di Tao” when it comes to sourcing ingredients. This philosophy states that ingredients should be grown in the region in which they originally evolved and have been either growing wild or wildcrafted for thousands of years. These plants have evolved to thrive and exhibit their strongest epigenetic traits in those environmental conditions, making for a truly superior product.
What is it about chocolate and/or the chocolate making process that makes delivering the wellness effects of your superherbs and mushrooms more effective/a better experience for the consumer?
Many of the herbs we use, such as reishi mushroom, he shou wu, and ashwagandha have strong earthy and bitter flavors, which most people find challenging, but these flavors camouflage very nicely into chocolate. If you can make something taste wonderful, it’s going to be much easier to introduce it to someone who has never experienced it before. Also, cacao has vasodilation properties, which improve the absorption of the herbs.
How are Micelli molds integral to your final product?
Before people taste or even smell the chocolate, they’re going to be taking it in with their eyes and already starting to formulate an opinion. So, naturally, if you can present something really beautiful, you’ve taken a big step in the right direction to winning someone’s taste buds and heart. It’s been a great pleasure creating custom molds with Micelli and using them in our chocolate making.
What products in your line are you most excited for a person new to your products to try?
My favorite chocolate to share with people is our Recharge chocolate, which incorporates 6 of the most powerful Chinese adrenal supportive herbs. In the modern world, almost everyone is in a constant state of stress, which depletes our adrenals, leading to a cascade of negative health consequences. We’re constantly getting incredible customer feedback on this chocolate and we absolutely love hearing how good people are feeling.
What do you consider to be the glue that holds your brand together?
Super communication. My partner in business and love AnnaBlanca and I live and work together, so we’re side by side pretty much constantly. Our comupters are literally side by side at one 6-foot wide desk. Always erring on the side of over communicating and leaving no room for misunderstanding does wonders for ensuring a harmonious relationship. Through this communication over the years, we’ve developed many different little “systems” that allow us to work super efficiently and never develop friction between us.
Are there any processes or techniques you are interested in incorporating into your chocolate-making repertoire?
So many! Without having any formal training in chocolate making, there is still so much for me to learn, so I’m very excited to see what I end up making in the future.
Is there anything on the horizon you would like to mention?
Lots of things on the horizon, but it’s kind of top-secret ;)
For The Love of Making Chocolate,
The Micelli Team