I, Lydia Love (yep, that's my real name), started making stevia sweetened chocolate in 2010 after being diagnosed with systemic candida and was put on a zero sugar, low carb diet. It was really hard to give up sugar.. and one of the hardest things was not being able to have a nibble of chocolate, because all the commercially available chocolate was either full of sugar or sugar alcohols, which my Dr. told me to avoid completely. (Every brand of "stevia sweetened" chocolate I have seen on grocery store shelves is actually primarily sweetened with Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that is intolerable to many people, including me. I have never understood this and feel like this is so misleading to consumers) I was so disheartened & disappointed! How would I make it on this restricted diet!??
So, taking matters into my own hands, I played around with homemade chocolate recipes in my kitchen for a few months. I finally figured out a recipe for dark chocolate sweetened with only pure stevia. I didn't understand much about the process of working with chocolate, and at that time my recipe was untempered (meaning it came out grainy and streaked sometimes..) , but it still tasted good! I shared it with friends & family, and started selling it at local events, as well as on Etsy, which is a website full of all sorts of handmade crafts, art, and treats. My online Etsy shop grew & grew. (You can check it out here, it's got a lot of customer reviews: https://www.etsy.com/shop/PureLoveChocolate )
I operated my little chocolate business alone for a few years, alongside a part time massage practice, and eventually met my fiancee' and business partner Sean Bonsell, who is now the other half of Pure Love Chocolate! Sean has an extensive background in web design and computer skills, so when we got together the chocolate business got a big upgrade! Together we designed new packaging for the chocolate, Sean built a website to sell the chocolate online in addition to the Etsy shop, and we were even able to make sense of Quickbooks together..! We also invested in a commercial tempering machine so the recipe is always consistent. Sean is currently helping with the making of the chocolate, though we eventually hope to have someone else help me with that part so he can focus more on the website & marketing part of the business. He still loves doing samplings though, and loves sharing our chocolate with folks at stores and events. I have given up practicing massage for the time being as well, because our life is so full of chocolate...
We now sell our handmade chocolate treats in many local stores and co-ops in Washington & Oregon, as well as at several co-ops and wellness centers sprinkled throughout the country. Our products are sought after by the low carb/low sugar/restricted diet consumer, because they are quite rare being sugar, dairy, AND soy free, with no sugar alcohols. I know from my personal experience how nearly impossible it is to find a treat on a diet like this. When we get love notes & encouraging emails from our customers, it is so rewarding to know that we are helping people thrive on their special diet without missing out on the sweet things in life like chocolate! Knowing that we are helping make the world a healthier and happier place is what keeps us going at it, even though the demands of running a business has its challenges. We love our customers so much, and we believe there should be more healthy options for consumers!
Pure Love Chocolate Founder