As the name implies, there’s a mission behind Missionary Chocolates, but it’s probably not what you’d expect. Company owner and chocolatier Melissa Berry, ND, is a licensed naturopathic physician who hopes to leverage the success of her mouth-watering chocolates into an inpatient, integrative healing center in downtown Portland. So why did she start with chocolate?
My mother is lactose and gluten intolerant so for Christmas one year I decided to make homemade truffles that she could eat. I tried several recipes but the coconut base was the only one she liked. I was making them from home and when my Meyer Lemon truffle ended up winning first place at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in 2008, I had an epiphany. I decided to see what I could do with the company. But my mission has always been about healthcare, and this year our goal is for the company to start a non-profit foundation that will support the healing center downtown.
Melissa has six standard chocolate truffles — peppermint, Meyer Lemon, espresso, dark chocolate, salted vanilla caramel and spicy cinnamon chipotle — but she experiments with seasonal ingredients and will be bringing some special morsels to the market very soon.
We make a new truffle flavor each month and I’m working on three right now: ginger, Thai basil and Sriracha, and pumpkin pie spice. Our salted vanilla caramel and Meyer Lemon are our best sellers, but my favorite is the espresso. The rich coffee flavor, dark chocolate, and coconut cream are a perfect combination.
Chocolate may be the perfect conversation starter, but Melissa is thrilled to talk about health every day.
We love Woodstock market. People are so open and they really care. I’m trying to foster learning about health and, ultimately, it’s my dream that the chocolate will lead to the opening a healing center.
Written by KJ Fields.