Founder Julie Nygard refers to The Chocolate Therapist as the intersection of her two loves of life: chocolate and nutrition.
Although she spent more than 18 years in the sporting goods industry, Julie studied nutrition her entire life. An athlete in her youth, she learned how to eat for performance and became intrigued by the way foods affected the body. She later studied nutrition in college, and eventually went on to receive a Nutrition Educator’s Certificate from Bauman Holistic Nutrition College in Boulder.
Once the book was in print, her personal mission evolved into changing the chocolate-loving as we know it. She began giving talks at local health food stores about the health benefits of chocolate. As her popularity grew, she was frequently requested for television and radio interviews, and was often featured in newspapers and magazines. Demand for her presentations increased, helping expand her message for chocolate and health to a much larger audience.
In addition to the health benefits of chocolate, Julie incorporated information into her presentations on how to taste chocolate properly, how it’s made from bean to bar, and how to pair chocolate with wine. She did extensive homework pairing chocolate flavors and wine, ultimately custom designing her own chocolate recipes created with natural chocolate, nuts, berries, spices and organic flavoring oils. So much work, someone had to do it!! She hired a local chocolate shop to custom manufacture the chocolates to keep up with the increasing demand at her speaking engagements, later purchasing the shop when the owners decided to sell.
From there, Julie created her own collection of chocolates with all-natural ingredients, embracing the clean-eating concepts she lives by, as well as supporting the research in the book. The shop officially launched as “The Chocolate Therapist.” She later added an espresso bar with gourmet coffee, creating a successful and enjoyable business. Most recently, The Chocolate Therapist is currently working on creating a franchise opportunity.