Esa in Costa Rica visiting Don Castro’s Cacao Farm

Esa’s love for good quality chocolate developed at an early age as a child growing up in Europe.  Her French chef father created amazing food and desserts instilling fond memories of watching him work and being rewarded for her quiet observation with samples of his creations.  Meals at home were cooked by her Sicilian mother, also a great cook, in a more rustic and of course less structured manner than the formal creations of her father.  Esa grew up eating a broad spectrum of fantastic European and Mediterranean foods; what she didn’t realize at the time was that creating delicious food was part of her DNA.

Esa moved to the USA when she was an adolescent, and was quickly introduced to the harsh reality of the American industrialization of food.  Chocolate was no longer the rich, dark, earthily stimulating treat she’d become accustomed to in Europe as a child.  Chocolate in the US was a very sweet, waxy candy with no chocolate flavor.

“I was never able to develop any sort of appreciation for “candy bars” and as I became an adult I would actually return from my travels to Italy and France with a suitcase full of high-quality European chocolate to be given as gifts and ration until the next trip abroad”.

Due to her inquisitive mind and love of food Esa wanted to understand the reasons for the superiority of the European chocolate not only from a quality of food basis, but a also as a historical and cultural basis.  She learned about the discovery of cacao as a sacrament among the indigenous peoples of South America during the era of European Colonialism.  She learned about the profound chemical affects that the bioactive elements of cacao has on the human brain.  She learned about the fantastic antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that cacao provides.  A very important discovery was in its most basic form cacao is a fermented Superfood and that the candy product which the industrialized food machine in the US presents as “Chocolate” is a mockery of the potential of the natural product.

So after several years of focused research and experimentation, The Underground Truffle was born in her kitchen.  Her goal is to create delicious chocolates and truffles that are made from the most wholesome ingredients available, produced in the most nutritionally optimal manner possible.  This typically means that she uses organic ingredients, no refined sugars, no chemical additives or preservatives, no dairy and incorporating low or no-heat production methods.