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Chocolate and Wellness

July 29, 2019

Chocolate and Wellness

In our midst at IO is a chocolatier. And not just any chocolate. This is some of the most beautiful, hand-crafted chocolate we’ve ever enjoyed: the highest quality, fair-trade cacao blended exquisitely with hand-crafted Ghee. Our blog this month is the result of our discussions with Ryan, the creator and co-founder of Night of the Sun. We discuss his journey from spreadsheets to chocolate, his inspirations, working with friends, and what might be next. And it wouldn’t be the IO blog without singing its wellness praises!

Ryan has been with International Orange for 6 years. While his livelihood is finance and spreadsheets, we recently uncovered his dark (chocolate, that is) passion: creating gorgeous, silky, hand-crafted dark chocolate. When we talked to him about his journey, he was initially a bit quiet. But as we dug a little deeper, Ryan’s passion emerged for his creation and company.

Night of the Sun Chocolate at International OrangeQ. Ryan, how did this idea begin? What were your inspirations? 
A. Night of the Sun is a company that I started with my good friends Susan and Reymundo. We wanted to bring together Ghee and Cacao in a proper way. My inspiration comes in part from my spending many months in India where I learned how to make Ghee from a wise woman in Pune, where I developed a deep appreciation for its historical mythology and its many uses. Some years later, as I was exploring Cacao (as an alternative to my Chai habit!), I realized that I always dropped a spoonful of Ghee in my Cacao drink, and the two were perfect pairing. I then wondered “could this combination work in a chocolate bar?” After a couple of years of trials, organic certifications, and all the details needed to dance a small business into life, I can finally say that yes it does!

Q. Why Ghee and Cacao together?
A. They come from two very different places, two different continents, and yet I just knew they belonged together. The earthy heat and richness of Cacao along with the slow, smooth, and cooling viscosity of Ghee was a union that was waiting to happen, and I was very surprised that at the time no one else had brought them together. They are both so good for the body, they stoke the digestive fires, and with honesty, I can say they are two of the best tasting foods on the planet, so it all seemed destined to me. And the chocolate bars speak for themselves.

Q. Where does the name Night of the Sun come from?
I’m an active believer in the usefulness of poetry, and with two things as special and esoteric as Ghee and Cacao, our identity had to portray these companion opposites… but with something subtle and poetic. Night of the Sun actually means the ‘full moon’. Anecdotally, in Indian ritual, Ghee was only made on the full moon to increase its nourishment and bliss, and I love that connection.

Q. What’s next for you?
We’re continuing to grow slowly and carefully. Our interests are much more in quality than quantity so we are only on the store shelves that we believe are the right fit. IO just makes sense, the simple grace and beauty, along with the attention to detail in wellness is exactly right. We are in a dozen other Bay Area stores and moving into LA as well. We’ve also got some other Ghee products in the works, more to come on that soon!

And the wellness? We’ve all heard and read about the health benefits of enjoying dark chocolate, but we love to repeat the good news. Inside your body, it functions as an antibiotic, anti-platelet (think: aspirin), decreases your “bad” cholesterol, and increases your “good” cholesterol. It contains flavonoids and flavonols that prevent cell damage and inflammation. And how about your blood and circulation? Chocolate promotes capillary growth in your muscles, including your heart and extremities. More capillaries and more oxygen being carried throughout your body means wellness all over.

And don’t forget that Ghee, too, is a anti-inflammatory, nutritional powerhouse! Ghee contains vitamins A, D, E and K, antioxidants, and even helps the body absorb vitamins and minerals from other foods.

Here at IO, we love chocolate, particularly Ryan’s chocolate. So much so that we asked him if we could keep it at our front desks available for purchase as clients are checking out. Because if you can take that little bit of delicious wellness out the door with you after you have visited us, then we know you’ll keep that IO glow even longer.

Happy August, IO VIPs!

“There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with chocolate.” -- Linda Grayson