Saint Andrews – Some people call themselves chocolatiers. Liz Neve of Saint Andrews, who has created Ahh Bars, chocolate bars for people who can’t eat chocolate, says she is a “carob-cocoa buttertier”.
Neve struggled with a coffee addiction for many years. In fact, her addiction was so serious that she would have four to five cups of coffee before she even began her day. Of course, she was also struggling with sleep issues. She would be perked up and energized from the coffee, and would then crash as she was coming down off the coffee high. Finally, it got to the point where she just had to give it up. In fact, she ended up so sensitive to it that she couldn’t even enjoy a cup of decaf.
Neve gave up her beloved coffee, but she was still eating chocolate, and still having sleep issues. Finally, she realized the problem was the chocolate, and sadly, decided to give up eating her favorite treat.
“It was very depressing. I had to give up choclolate 20 years ago,” said Neve.
Everyone knows when you love chocolate, you really love chocolate, and Neve is no exception. So, she started looking for substitutions. Some people claim carob is a great chocolate substitute, so she decided to give carob bars a try.
“Carob bars are nothing like chocolate,” Neve laughed.
With nothing that worked as a chocolate substitute, Neve had resigned herself to the fact she would never get to enjoy chocolate again. Then, a couple of years ago, she started to wonder if mixing cocoa butter with carob would produce the flavor she was looking for.
Although chocolate is loaded with stimulants, cocoa butter only has trace amounts, so she started looking for ways to create a faux chocolate bar using cocoa butter and carob. She added xylitol, a natural sweetener to the mix, and came up with a recipe she liked. She said it is just as creamy as good chocolate, and has the same, delicious flavor she had been missing for so long.
Neve said, “I was stunned by how close it was to chocolate. It even smells like chocolate.”
Neve started sharing her new creation with friends, who loved it, and told her she should market her bars. Initially, Neve just took it as a compliment. She didn’t need a job, and didn’t feel the need to market her creation.
“Then, it occurred to me that after 20 years of searching, I can’t be the only one. Others must want something like this too.”
So, in 2017, she started making her Ahh Bars, with the intention of selling them by 2018. Before she could take her product to market, she had to learn how to temper chocolate. She said the process is fascinating, and if the product is properly tempered, it will harden in just three minutes.
The Ahh Bars became so popular at the Saint Andrews Farmers’ Market that Neve decided it was time to market her bars and get them into stores. She said it was quite a process, particularly when it comes to the rules and regulations surrounding labeling.
She also needed to work in a class 5 kitchen. So, she approached Granite Town Farms in St. George and asked if she could rent their kitchen. They had been considering doing this, so Neve had a place to make her Ahh Bars, and now she has them in several commercial outlets, including The Spice Box in Saint Andrews, Granite Town Farms, Cochran’s Country Market in Rothesay, and several health food stores. There are five flavors to choose from: Raspberry (a summer flavor), Gingerbread (a fall and winter flavor), Chile, Peppermint, Orange, and Regular. They sell for around $5 per bar.
You can learn more about Ahh Bars by visiting Neve’s website at www.ahhbars.ca. You can also find Ahh Bars on Facebook.