“I think cacao is nature’s antidepressant,” says Aradhana Silvermoon. Unleashing a radiant smile, she rolls over an exercise ball and starts bouncing her 3-month-old daughter, Perseia, swaddled closely to her chest. Although Silvermoon has cut back significantly on chocolate since beginning to breast-feed, the joy her budding Asheville business brings to both her family and her spirit is readily evident.
“I always want to make everything as much of a superfood as possible,” Silvermoon reveals. The cacao bean itself contains 1,200 chemical constituents, to which Silvermoon adds assorted raw, organic components. Some of her chocolates include more than 20 ingredients, many of them native to the Mediterranean or Central America. The various alkaloids, vitamins and minerals they contain boost energy levels while promoting healthy digestion, detoxification, allergy resistance and more.
With the sweet smell of chocolate permeating her home, Silvermoon retraces her confectionary journey, which began in Los Angeles about five years ago. Closely following a raw diet and heavily involved in both the healing arts and the music business, Silvermoon wanted to see if her passion for raw foods and nutrition could provide a supplemental income. “I never set out to start a chocolate business,” she explains, but her ideas caught fire, and word quickly spread about Silvermoon Chocolate.
About a year-and-a-half ago, Silvermoon and her husband relocated to Asheville, hoping to continue growing the business while also focusing on their “folk-hop” duo, I,Star. Upon arriving, however, they were in for a rude awakening. “We moved into chocolate central,” she says.
So far, though, business has been good. Silvermoon’s chocolates are available at several local retailers and farmers markets and will soon begin appearing on Earth Fare’s shelves. Two new employees are helping fill orders while Silvermoon takes a break to focus on caring for her baby.
Although Asheville is sprinkled with other raw chocolatiers, each company, says Silvermoon, has its own unique offerings. Hers is the Medicine Ball, a blend of 15 herbs, raw chocolate and natural sweeteners that is her best-selling and most recognized product. “People go crazy for them,” she reports. “My husband will eat two before going on long hikes; they’re full of satisfying, sustained energy.”
With a long list of medicinal properties, cacao has been considered a sacred ingredient for centuries in various cultures. Silvermoon calls it “a magical food; even the ceremonial aspect of cacao is coming back,” she notes. At a cacao ceremony in Asheville (her first), Silvermoon says she had “some of the best cacao [she] had ever tried.” She connected with the ceremony’s leader, and most of her cacao now comes straight from his family-owned farm in Guatemala.
All-organic, fair-trade, top-quality ingredients are hallmarks of Silvermoon’s wares. In addition, she’s come up with ways to make classics like caramel pecan truffles without applying any heat or adding processed components. Above a certain temperature, she explains, some fats get denatured — which is often what makes people gain weight. “One of the things with raw chocolate is that the fats stay raw. Good fat is really good for you, and chocolate can even aid in weight loss, because it’s an appetite suppressant.”
Silvermoon blends a wealth of knowledge about cacao and nutrition in general with a passion for her offerings, and she’s looking forward to creating new recipes and offering a hot cacao drink at such venues as the Holiday Bazaar at UNCA and the Woodfin YMCA’s Winter Tailgate Market.
“It’s so great to see everyone reacting so well to the chocolates,” she observes. “It really is powerful medicine.”
To learn more about Silvermoon Chocolate, visit silvermoonchocolate.com.