We spoke with Stacey Burgess, creator of Live on Chocolate. She makes raw, organic, and fair-trade desserts in Toronto that taste incredible and are totally guilt-free. We found out why these desserts are not considered junk food, how to enjoy sweets without sugar spikes, and how to make a living playing with your food.
Did you learn how to make delicious raw desserts in school?
I learned how to make delicious raw desserts while attending school. Does that count? I went to OCAD (The Ontario College of Art and Design University) – so my food was artistic, and my friends at school thought what I was making was very creative. I became vegan while in school as well, and then found my way into a raw vegan lifestyle for a couple of months. I have a huge sweet tooth, so it was a big deal to figure out how to make my own sweets that are actually healthy. (So do we, and we’re thankful you did!)
Many people feel guilty eating chocolate. Do you?
No way! I would never feel guilty eating chocolate, as long as it’s organic and fair trade. That is a MUST. I feel lots of love and respect for chocolate, and how it came to be in my hands.
When did you taste “real” chocolate for the first time?
I had a raw cacao bean almost 10 years ago now. Inside a small cafe where they had just brought in all these new ‘superfoods’. That was the beginning of the Raw Foods movement in Toronto. (Show your sweetie some real love with real chocolate this Valentine’s Day).
Do you make desserts all day?
Mostly. I typically work a 12-18 hour day, depending on the orders and the season. My business is always busy – Pudding season is Spring through Fall, and Chocolate season is Fall through Spring. I still sell both all year round, but the warmer months spike the pudding production, and the cooler months tend to have all the chocolate related holidays. Which works for me because chocolate is very difficult to work with during the summer months.
And even most of my time outside of the kitchen is still related to work. It’s very difficult to shut that down. I’m either creating or editing labels, updating my website, instagram, twitter, and facebook, delivering desserts on my bike (as much as possible), or doing paperwork. I wear ALL the hats. I am pretty sure that from May through September last year I barely had a day off. It is exhausting on many levels. The passion is there absolutely, but I’m learning that this human body can only do so much.
Do your puddings give you the power to keep going?
That must be it! Power Puddings are full of nutritious, wholefood ingredients, each of the highest quality, and I only use organic and fair trade. The puddings are free from dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, corn, and refined sugars – so they nourish the body rather than deplete. The sugar I use is low-glycemic coconut nectar, which in conjunction with coconut oil, creates a slow burning sugar/fat source of fuel (no spikes!). And the liver metabolizes coconut oil as energy instead of storing it as fat – giving more power to the people!
Do your cakes taste “healthy”?
They taste incredible. The most common thing people say is ‘this is the best cake I’ve ever had!’ They don’t even miss the dairy or gluten. I don’t try to make my raw cakes taste like ‘the real thing’ (as some call the conventional version). That stuff is full of fake franken food. My cakes are actually the real deal, made with real food ingredients, and real big flavours – which also means they are very rich, and a small slice is incredibly satisfying.
Do people question the cost of your puddings or chocolate bars?
Sometimes. People are learning that there is a cost for real food- so that helps. It’s about education. Once people realize the quality and integrity of ingredients, how real food tastes, and how they feel eating them, they understand what their money is supporting.