Living Lotus Chocolate is in its 10th year of supplying clean, ethical chocolate products to its customer base. Using high-quality ingredients ensures a refined, sugar-free and gluten-free chocolate bar straight from the cacao bean. Flavours include decadent bergamot cream oat milk, to downright bizarre smoked kelp flavour for those on the more adventurous side. We spoke with Audrey Wong, the founder of Living Lotus Chocolate, to learn a bit more about her bean-to-bar method.
What is your business called and what does it do?
Living Lotus Chocolate – we create pure, kind, and beautiful bean-to-bar chocolate by sourcing clean, ethical ingredients for chocolate lovers seeking joy through the decadence of chocolate. We use high-quality organic ingredients to make our refined sugar-free and gluten-free bean-to-bar chocolate that everyone can enjoy.
What made you want to do this work?
The Living Lotus story started over a decade ago, born from the love for a journey with food. My major sweet tooth and love for all things sweet eventually led me to learn about making healthy desserts that taste good and make you feel good, as well. Not too long after that, Living Lotus was born! I always say that “the cacao bean found me, and chocolate won”.
What problem did you want to solve with the business?
Over a decade ago, I started supplementing my diet with cleaner plant-based meals, and it inspired me to learn more about raw food and nutrition. I fell in love with this art form of creating food but struggled to find treats that satisfied my sweet tooth in the same way. So – I made my own!
It started with making vegan, gluten-free, raw desserts in my kitchen at home, and has grown to include a commercial kitchen and a widespread community of fellow sweet-tooth havers who love our products just as much as I do.
Who are your clientele/demographics?
Our customers are chocolate lovers who don’t want to compromise their values or lifestyles to have delicious chocolate. Many of our customers fell in love with our products because we are plant-based and cruelty-free, and we ethically source our cacao from cacao farmers who are paid a fair wage. We also believe that everyone should get to enjoy chocolate – so we use minimal ingredients to make bean-to-bar chocolate with no fillers, and our products are vegan and gluten-free.
How does your business make money? How does it work?
We make our chocolate from start to finish in our chocolate studio – that’s why it’s called bean-to-bar chocolate. We package and ship orders ourselves, and we sell our products online, in some stockists around BC, and at farmer’s markets and artisan markets.
Where in the city can we find your profession?
Our chocolate studio is in Strathcona, Vancouver. We don’t have a storefront, but we do have an online shop at www.livinglotus.net!
What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.
How is your cacao sourced? I believe everyone should ask this of their chocolate providers. The effect of this question is multifold. It signals to the chocolate maker that the customer values supporting ethically sourced chocolate. In an industry where humans and children are often used to harvesting cacao, this is the most important question to ask.
What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?
Running a small business is never without its challenges, but my favourite part is getting to create delicious products. I’ve always loved crafting and working with my hands, and it’s probably something I’ll be doing in some capacity for the rest of my life. For now, though, developing recipes and tasting cacao varieties is what fills my cup. I also love meeting our customers and talking about all things chocolate.
I wouldn’t say there is a worst part about the job specifically. Being a small business owner means you’re the banker, dishwasher, accountant, and doer of many things!
What is your favourite joke about your own profession?
In a similar vein to the above, my team often jokes that I can make anything taste good with chocolate. With enough time and the right creative inspiration, I fully believe I could develop a delicious recipe with even the weirdest ingredients. Pickles? Barbecue sauce? Tempeh Bacon? It’s a running joke to try to find something that wouldn’t work. I say – bring it on!
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?
One of my good friends makes the MOST delicious vegan ice cream at Say Hello Sweets. I stop by their cafe in Chinatown whenever I can to pick up a scoop of Mint To Be (my favourite flavour).