Mumbo Gumbo: Chocolate In The Raw

UliMana uses only raw, organic ingredients.

UliMana uses only raw, organic ingredients.

It all started in Theresa Green’s cozy Asheville kitchen about three-and-a-half years ago.

Inspired by raw food pioneer David Wolfe and his visionary volume, Naked Chocolate: The Astonishing Truth about the World’s Greatest Food, she felt compelled to concoct a healthy confection. Combining science, serendipity, passion and a discriminating palate, she created Nirvana Manna, her first viable product. She took a batch to the Natural Foods Expo East, where David Wolfe himself snapped up 200 jars. Suddenly, stores starting calling for more– and UliMana (which loosely translates to Goddess of Serenity) became a successful and sustainable local business. The two-person operation grew to a collective of eight employees renting professional cooking space at the nonprofit Blue Ridge Food Ventures on the AB Tech campus.

UliMana uses only raw, organic ingredients such as agave, vanilla beans, Celtic sea salt and goji berries. Cacao nibs, the purest form of chocolate, are a hot commodity. And here’s the best part- the truffles, chocolate hemp brownies and chai rolls are brimming with antioxidants, mood elevators and health benefits.

Theresa doesn’t sugarcoat her success. “The people who work with me bring a lot of awareness and care into what we’re doing,” she says. “There’s always a problem that will come up. Sure enough it passes and leaves us with a valuable lesson.” It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.

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