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 with nutritious cacao, delicious flavor pairings and low sugar. Not just chocolate, but a true antidote that is as well an antidote to sugar laden 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 art director. 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 the Antidote.
While I had decided early on that I wanted to use Ecuador's world renowned Arriba Nacional beans, for their wonderful floral and fruity aroma it took some time over the years to refine flavor profiles for each %, to find the best beans in Ecuador and to closely work with those providers.
As the product developed it became an imperative to produce this in a sustainable fashion from "bean to bar" in Ecuador – and not in New York. So, I packed my bags and spent 3 weeks in Ecuador to produce the first batch.
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 and sweat, Antidote and my mantra of "chocolate that loves you back" had become a reality. Just three months later Antidote was carried in 40 gourmet and health food stores in New York City. Now it is sold in hundreds of grocery, specialty and natural food stores nationwide, and other parts in the world. Oversees distribution in Belgium and Japan.
It is a journey to create an Antidote for humanities' fear and timidity, heart and soul strikes, weak moments and the cold vagaries of the outside world. The journey is a roller coaster, and when I need a pick me up, now I've got it and so do you!
Thank you for your appreciation!
Red Thalhammer, Antidote Founder, Creative Director and CEO