When I had heard about Not Your Sugar Mamas and the raw chocolate they made, I was skeptical. How could chocolate made from cacao and just a couple other natural ingredients be any good and actually good for you? Isn’t it all that refined sugar and words I can’t pronounce that make chocolate so yummy? Curiosity peaked, I had to meet the people behind the chocolate, find out their story, and of course try it for myself. Eating chocolate – sometimes my job really is so tough.
The creators of Not Your Sugar Mamas (NYSM), are two beautiful, funny, smart women, Bennett Coffey and Kyleen (Ky), Keenan. Though they have only known each other for a short period of time, their relationship has changed their lives.
Bennett, who recently graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, is a certified holistic nutrition counselor. She found that the raw food concept for nutrition really resonated with her. She felt as though she could help people through nutrition and do some good in the world. She discovered raw chocolate and started experimenting with recipes.
Much to her surprise, she found that she felt better from eating raw chocolate. It gave a natural energy boost that was sustained, not like that crash and burn boost from lets say a Twix bar. She was happier and more energetic all around. She knew she was on to something good, but really didn’t know the next step.
A friend of a friend introduces Ky and Bennett to each other. Interestingly, Ky has a business background. Disappointed with corporate America, she too wanted to find a way to do some good in this world. They became roommates, and quickly became friends and much to their surprise, business partners.
While Bennett was experimenting with recipes for raw chocolate, Ky was trying them and is falling in love and feeling fantastic from eating the raw chocolate. Bennett as the chocolatier, Ky as the business guru, salesperson, taste-tester and more, they realized that there was an opportunity for them to do some good with this homemade, good-for-you chocolate.
So, Bennett and Ky decided it was time to make their chocolate available to more than just friends and family. Last March, they opened Not Your Sugar Mamas. By June, they were selling their chocolate in 13 Island locations including Alley’s, Fiddlehead Farm, and the Tisbury Farmer’s Market.
Not even a year later, their chocolate can be found in 46 locations, which include on and off-island businesses. With this type of growth and demand (and there is a demand), they decided it’s time to get a commercial space with the capacity to make the chocolate on the premises, and they’re doing just that with the store/chocolate “factory” they’re in the process of opening in the Tisbury Market Place.
Now, let’s get to the most important part – the chocolate. Their chocolate is raw, meaning it is gluten free, sugar free, and every ingredient used is pronounceable. They use organic ingredients like herbs, blue green algae and agave (instead of sugar). Also, they use some of the most amazing, high quality cacao which they get directly from farmers in Peru – no middle man and done through “Direct Trade.”
Why would this chocolate be good for you and help you feel better? Well, cacao has ananamide which we produce in our brains as well – it is considered “the bliss chemical”. Meaning, you’ll feel good when you eat it, and it really is guilt free. You’ll also find antioxidants and immune boosting ingredients in their products. It really is a superfood!
Not Your Sugar Mamas have different chocolate bar flavors, like Fresh which is their Spring inspired flavor which has lemon verbena and vanilla, and Be Cool which has lavender and peppermint. They’ll also be featuring a Summer flavor, and perhaps chocolate covered fruit too.
As I had said, I was skeptical, but I tried the Fresh chocolate bar and it is outstanding! You can taste each ingredient, the lemon, the coconut, the rich cacao. It melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting more. It’s the chocolate for the chocolate lover and the lover of life. The chocolate is so fresh, it has to be refrigerated. Each bar is about $8.50, and though this may seem like a lot, it’s not. The ingredients, because of the high quality, are expensive and that’s what we’re paying for. Once you try it, you will see that it’s worth it.
Not Your Sugar Mamas will be opening their store in the Tisbury Market Place, next to Rocco’s, Memorial Day weekend. When you stop by, you’ll actually find Bennett there making their delicious, beneficial raw chocolate. Even though they sell NYSM in a number of places, each piece of chocolate is made and will be made here on Martha’s Vineyard.
Leave it to two Vineyard gals to bring something this fabulous to the masses. Their store will definitely become a popular place to visit. Who doesn’t want to enjoy the smell of chocolate being made and have a reason to buy some, as if you need one. Also, there will be so much more than just chocolate. You’ll also find their collection of dry goods which include hot chocolate mixes and good-for-you smoothie mixes, and they will be featuring Chilmark Coffee Company.
Yeah! We will now be able to grab a cup of joe there and bring some home to brew. Tisbury Market Place has needed a place to get a good cup of coffee for awhile! There will also be other Island made items available. Both Bennett and Ky are all about partnering with other people on the Island to help sell their goods at their shop. One of the greatest things about the Vineyard, so much support among small business owners. Also, be on the lookout for chocolate tastings and chocolate parties – yum!
It was so nice to meet Bennett and Ky – two amazing women are doing some good in our world through chocolate. Pretty cool I’d say, and I think they are going to do quite well with Not Your Sugar Mamas. If you are dying to try some raw chocolate and can’t wait for their store to open, you can head on up to Alley’s, or visit their website to purchase some.