Melting our hearts

One of our very exciting new additions to the gourmet food hall, all the way from Byron Bay, is the delicious Pure Melt Chocolate. Set up by Sarah Wheeler four years ago, it had its origins further back when Sarah went to see a professor of medicine in Brisbane to try and overcome her tiredness with young children in her late thirties.

He put her on the Paleo diet as a result of which she ate nothing but nuts and seeds, fruit and veg, meat and fish. However, she was told that she had to eat 50 grams a day of 85% pure cacao chocolate (wow, chocolate on doctors’ orders!) Despite this great news, Sarah found it a challenge finding good quality, sugar free chocolate so a friend taught her how to make raw chocolate from scratch. “I would melt down the cacao butter, blend in the cacao powder, a little bit of dark agave syrup and a lot of freshly scraped vanilla which counteracts the bitterness of the cacao. I started making it for family and friends and they loved it.”

Meanwhile she became healthier and healthier and went back to the doctor to be told her fertility levels had doubled. It was therefore chocolate that enabled Sarah to conceive her third child at 43!

During a visit to her mother in London, Sarah passed a Chocolatier that was holding classes and signed up. “He talked about cacao pods and cacao powder then he poured chocolate buttons into a pan and said that’s how we make chocolate. That’s when I realised most Chocolatiers make it from chocolate buttons, milk, cream and sugar. But what I was doing was really quite special as I was making it from scratch and it was healthy. Cacao is the most antioxidant rich food that exists.”


On her return to Australia, Sarah secured a spot at the Mullumbimby markets and started making a few hundred chocolates a week. She never looked back. She launched at Sample Food festival, last year winning the plate and has just won a bronze medal at The Melbourne Fine Food Awards for her brownies. The business has now extended to wholesale and Pure Melt Chocolate is now stocked in the local Byron Bay area, not forgetting a presence at the Lismore Farmers Market every Thursday.

Sarah’s dream is to set up her own chocolate lounge in Mullumbimby, where people can come and see it being made, eat indulgent treats that are cane sugar free, totally ethical and fair trade and have a mug of delicious drinking chocolate or a beautiful organic chai.

This week will be Sarah’s very first trip to Canberra, so she’s hoping for some tips about where to go and what to see – we think we have plenty lined up for her and we’re extremely confident that this won’t be her last trip. With chocolate that good, it had better not be!


Caroline Leevers is responsible for the Handmade brand, including the website, Handmade Style, the newsletter and the online magazine. When she's not hanging out with the lovely Handmade team, she runs Callie & Co Design, a Canberra graphic design studio that crafts brands for small businesses. Her favourite things about Canberra are the seasons (especially Autumn), the big sky, the coffee and the great events.


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