Growing up, Zachary Manos, 20, satisfied his sweet tooth with chocolate from André’s Confiserie Suisse.
By JILL WENDHOLT SILVA
The Kansas City Star
While attending the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Innovation, he started Manos Chocolates, a company that makes raw, vegan and stone-ground chocolates. The chocolate bar line has six flavors: Original (70 percent cacao), Day Dreams (white chocolate with cacao nibs), Citrus Hibiscus (70 percent), Black Ice (peppermint and Hawaiian black salt), Helio Mylk (55 percent with sprouted sunflower) and Helio Light (white chocolate, coconut sugar, superfoods lucuma and maca, plus vanilla powder).
So what makes a chocolate bar raw and vegan? Manos does not heat his cocoa butter above 118 degrees. Instead of sweetening the bars with raw cane sugar, Manos uses coconut sap, which has a low glycemic index. Instead of cow’s milk byproducts, he uses ground sunflower seeds.
Eager to cover all his bases, Manos is fine-tuning a vegan candy bar line designed to mimic Milky Ways, Snickers, Butterfingers and Crunch Bars and is researching a superfoods line of chocolate with “mood elevating stuff” like mucuna, a tropical bean, and ashwagandha, an exotic Indian herb used to relieve stress.
Bars are $6 each at Nature’s Own, Nature’s Pantry, Little Freshie and the Merc in Lawrence. He also sells caramels enrobed in raw vegan chocolate (think Rolos, $3) and nut-free Helio Cups (filled with “peanut butter” made from sprouted sunflower seed butter and mesquite powder that Manos describes as “pretty deceiving” in terms of texture and flavor, 2 for $3).