When I walked into the breezy, dark chocolate-colored bungalow that houses the store and production space for Aimee’s Livin’ Magic raw foods in York, I knew I was about to meet a kindred spirit. How could I tell? The sign above the stone fireplace that read “Will work for chocolate” told me everything I needed to know.

Aimee Perrin, who started the business three years ago, was quick to offer samples of her raw chocolates, including the Chocolate Hearts, the Magic Walnut Clusters and the Maca Mama’s Hazelnut Cups. Each was creamy and delicious, with the characteristic complexity of dark chocolate.

“The big thing with raw chocolate is that cooking chocolate destroys a lot of the nutrients,” Perrin said.

Using raw cacao powder and cacao butter, Perrin and her three employees whip up an antioxidant-rich chocolate mix that is poured into molds before being placed in the freezer to set. After that, the candies are shelf stable in normal room temperatures, although they will start to melt if the mercury zooms above 90 degrees.

Aimee’s Livin’ offers 11 different chocolates mixed with nuts, berries and other superfoods.

One of these superfoods is maca, which Perrin said is good for regulating hormones, soothing menopausal symptoms and boosting libido.

“It’s known as the Peruvian Viagra,” Perrin said.

The chocolates, like everything in Perrin’s line of prepared foods, are vegan, sugar-free and gluten-free. Powdered stevia is used to add a hint of sweetness.

“Besides the chocolate, our most popular products are the onion products,” Perrin said.

Among the purchases I left with was a package of the Over the Top! Onion Crisps, which taste like a cross between an onion ring and a potato chip. These didn’t last long in my home. Neither did the chocolates or the SuperHero Galactic Trail Mix.

While many of the items offer a mainstream flavor profile, some of the Aimee’s Livin’ foods contain sprouted seeds and nuts, which means they come with a distinctive health-food taste that may not sit well with more traditional palates. (I quickly learned this lesson when I offered the Walnut-Hemp Sundried Tomato Crispers to coworkers in the office.)

Other items for sale from the Aimee’s Livin’ pantry include Rosemary Kimchi Crackers, Outrageous Onion Bread, Cinnamon Snappers and Sprouted Granola. In all, the company offers 32 products. All are made with organic ingredients; however, the Aimee’s Livin’ snacks aren’t labeled organic because the business hasn’t yet sprung for the cost of certification.

Perrin’s interest in raw foods stems from her Type 1 diabetes, which was diagnosed when she was 16. Ever since, she’s been interested in foods that promote health and healing.

When she first began to explore and prepare raw foods, she fielded numerous requests from friends and family members for her raw treats. This gave her the idea to start selling them commercially.

Today, the bulk of Perrin’s business is done online. She fills orders for people and a number of health food stores and raw food retailers, including Sunfood.com, Erewhon Natural Foods Market in Los Angeles, Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Arizona and Westerly Natural Market in New York City.

“Our business is still growing,” Perrin said. “Every month is bigger than the one before.”

Locals can stop in at the bungalow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to purchase items as well.

And while Perrin isn’t a raw food purist, she is keen to help people find more healthful eats.

“I know a lot of people want to get off fast food and they want to get off junk food,” Perrin said. “And it’s so hard.”

But eating well becomes much easier to swallow when you’re munching on an Aimee’s Livin’ Magic chocolate.

 

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com