I remember the moment it started so clearly.
My text: "Sorry, I've been poisonous today."
His text: "Don’t worry. I'll make an Antidote to that.”
"Wow," I thought, "what could that be?" I began dreaming of an Antidote for Humanity and for the blues and emotional challenges we encounter on a daily basis.
The next morning I woke up and thought, "chocolate is the antidote?"
I decided to make it so, to create the chocolate cure for life's insufferable moments. One that was not only deliciously satisfying in times of need, but also had long-lasting health benefits. Not just chocolate, but a POWER chocolate.
This idea came in the midst of a perfect storm, it was October of 2009 and the economic crisis had limited the number of jobs that were coming my way as a designer. I dedicated all my time to my new raison d'etre: creating the Antidote.
I was obsessed with the idea of reinventing chocolate. Every morning for nine months I would perform chemistry experiments in the kitchen: conching and tempering, and coming up with the perfect combinations of chocolate, herbs, and spices. My apartment quickly filled with boxes of ingredients from all over the world including India, Ecuador and Peru. I tried every available sugar option and alternative, raw cacao and roasted cacao from different regions and countries.
I worked tirelessly to perfect my creations and at one point felt like a drug dealer, surfacing at parties every so often, bringing my new batch of "stuff" wrapped in foil to parties for my friends to sample. Then I would disappear off into the shadows to continue refining my Antidote.
While I had decided early on that I wanted to use Ecuador's world renowned “arriba nacional” beans, I needed to decide between raw and roasted. I loved elements of both and decided to become the world's first creator of a 50/50 raw/roasted blend bar, bringing together the amazing health benefits and taste of pure beans with the longer lasting flavors of roasted beans. I'd like to say this is a reflection of my desire to find balance in life, but in actuality, it's more likely a reflection of my desire to have my cake and eat it too. In 2017 I changed the raw & roasted bars to slow roasted with the same mission to maintain more nutrients.
As the product developed it became obvious that in order to be sustainable and affordable, I would have to produce this from "bean to bar" in Ecuador – and not in my New York kitchen. So, I packed my bags and put what was left of my resources into spending 3 weeks in South America making chocolate.
FROM DREAM TO REALITY
On July 25th, 2010, Antidote launched and found it's way to the most trendy and adventurous palates in NYC. Thanks to over a year of persistence, blood, sweat and tears, Antidote and my dream of "Health Through Pleasure" had become a reality. Just three months later Antidote was carried in 40 gourmet and health food stores in New York City.
While on the journey to create an Antidote for peoples' fear and timidity, heart and soul strikes, weak moments and the cold vagaries of the outside world, I found that throwing myself passionately at the one thing I believed in became my own Antidote. But the journey is a roller coaster, and when I need a pick me up, now I've got it. And I'd like to share it with you.
Thank you for your appreciation!
Red Thalhammer, Antidote Founder, Creative Director and Proprietor