In Focus: Elements Truffles Preview

As an avid Chocolate Connoisseur reader, you’ve already met several different chocolate makers and chocolatiers with diverse backgrounds, but I doubt you’ve encountered anyone quite like the very unique chocolatier, Alak Vasa.

Like most chocolatiers, however, Alak still recalls distant memories of her favorite confection.

An Early Introduction

During her childhood, Alak’s Dad would sometimes travel to Europe for work, returning from each long trip with a suitcase full of European candy. That’s when she first discovered her love for chocolate.

“One of the sweetest chocolate memories associated with Dad’s Europe trips were the Christmas Advent Calendars. The taste of the chocolate wasn’t necessarily the best, but the excitement of opening and discovering a chocolate every day is something I still remember to this day…”

After Eight, Quality Street and those crazy chocolate oranges with chocolate slices were three of her favorites, particularly the strawberry cream and orange cream chocolates from the Quality Street collection — that chocolate and fruit combination took hold early for Alak.

Elements Chocolate Bar Display

From Quality Street to Wall Street

Although she started thinking about the world of chocolate at a young age, and even daydreamed of owning her own chocolate company one day, Alak’s chocolate journey actually took quite an about-face detour.  Before starting Elements, she worked as a trader with Goldman Sachs.

“I would often rely on a bar of chocolate to calm my nerves when things went a bit topsy-turvy…”

Alak always kept on the lookout for new brands and new flavor combinations — she loved exploring the world of chocolate even back then. During her work days at Goldman, you could always find a bar or two of chocolate in her desk drawer.

Elements Sea Salt Turmeric Bar

“I would end up going to my faithful chocolate drawer in good or bad times at work. A trader’s job is quite stressful.”

Her efforts to deal with stress helped lead her into the world of spirituality. Alak learned how balancing the five intrinsic elements of your body “can bring you back home – to the natural state of happiness, calm and peace.”

“Growing up in India, I was extremely familiar to yoga and meditation. However, I never formally learned or practiced it. My formal introduction to spirituality happened in 2005 when I learned breathing and meditation practices offered by The Art of Living Foundation. With meditation came this strength to realize and pursue my passion, and the faith that the universe is indeed there to support you.”

As a trader on Wall Street, Alak felt she seriously overworked her left brain. Once she started meditation, however, she suddenly appreciated her neglected right brain. The more she did breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, the more her creativity and intuition blossomed.

Elements Truffles

Elements Rose w/Cardamom Chocolate Bar

Introducing Ayurveda

After mastering meditation, the next step in Alak’s metaphysical evolution was Ayurveda, an ancient food science (consider it the sister science to Yoga). As she puts it, “Where yoga focuses on the body and mind, Ayurveda focuses on the nutritional aspect that supports both.”

When translated from Sanskrit, Ayurveda means “the science of life” (the Sanskrit root ayur means “longevity” or “life” and veda means “science”). Ayurveda is based on the philosophy that the universe is made up of 5 elements — fire, water, earth, space and air — and that these five elements also exist in our physical body.

This may get a bit intense if you’re not already familiar with it, but according to Ayurveda, certain elements influence one person more than others, based on each person’s natural constitution, and it categorizes the different constitutions into three different doshas:

  • Vata dosha — the air and space elements dominate
  • Pitta dosha — the fire element dominates
  • Kapha dosha — the earth and water elements dominate

The dosha affects not just the shape of one’s body, but also body tendencies (like food preferences and digestion), and the temperament of one’s mind and emotions. For example, the earth element in people with Kapha dosha is evident in their solid, sturdy body type, their tendency for slower digestion, their strong memory, and their emotional steadiness.

Most people’s prakriti (“the prime material energy of which all matter is composed”) is made up of a combination of two doshas. For example, people who are “Pitta Kapha” will have the tendencies of both Pitta dosha and Kapha dosha, with Pitta dominating.

Alak simplifies, “By understanding the qualities of our natural constitution, we are better able to do what is needed to keep ourselves in balance.”

Putting It All Together

As a budding chocolatier, she sought that balance in her chocolate, to blend the two dimensions of inner and outer comfort. After countless experiments with chocolate in its purest form and Ayurveda, Elements Truffles finally came to be.

“I really wanted to create a brand with the intention to uplift, to spread love and happiness, to reach that state of being that I experienced over time after meditation. If you look at your life, in addition to your experiences and surroundings, food has played a major role in who you are today. There is a saying in Sanskrit, “Dipo bhakshayte dwantam,” which means you are what you eat. The food we’ve had since childhood has subtly formed our palette. As I started creating recipes, combining different ingredients I realized how Ayurveda made such a strong impression on my memory palette.”

Elements Orange Pistachio Chocolate Bar

With motive and mission clearly locked in place, Alak launched her first product in October 2015 at the Artists and Fleas market in Brooklyn, despite fighting some serious, early nerves. Prepping strategically for the two-day market, she prepared exactly enough chocolates to break even over the market duration.

Her lingering doubts quickly dissipated, however, when she sold out on the first night, with no stock left to sell on day two! She suddenly went from insecurity to panic, facing a second day at the market with absolutely nothing available to sell.

“I didn’t even have the raw ingredients to make the chocolate. After the market, I went to Whole Foods, picked up the raw ingredients, and next morning woke up at 3am to make a fresh batch of chocolates!”

That entire batch sold out by 3pm (the market closed at 7pm), and Elements Truffles hit the ground running, introducing Ayurveda-inspired artisanal raw chocolates to the world.

All About the Chocolate

Alak creates her truffles from Peruvian Criollo beans, with all ingredients fair trade and ethically sourced. Each chocolate is raw, with a luxurious smooth texture, and organic, non-gmo, gluten-free and free from any dairy, refined sugar, preservatives or emulsifiers. They’re only sweetened with raw local New Jersey honey, with a lower glycemic index than sugar.

Elements Truffle Box 

Much of that may sound typical for today’s elite chocolatiers, but Elements takes it a step further – infusing each chocolate with Ayurveda super foods such as turmeric, beet, or cardamom.

Elements currently offers five classic flavors, in both bars and truffles —

  • Orange Pistachio with Turmeric Infusion
  • Rose with Cardamom Infusion
  • Peppermint with Lavender Infusion
  • Raspberry with Beetroot Infusion
  • Sea Salt with Turmeric Infusion