I met Ashley Walsh and Cami Walsh-Zappaterra last year at The Chocolate Invitational in Malibu, California. Their company, Intentional Chocolate, is far from ordinary. The method they use to produce their chocolate goes beyond the cacao bean, itself, and into the realm of the ethereal as they seek to infuse each creation with “good intentions,” by working with advanced meditators. The idea of “chocolate meditation” was unfamiliar to me, and I was curious about the story behind this family-owned, business—plus, it gave me a reason to sample more of their delicious dark chocolate.
Tell us a little about yourselves. Where did you grow up?
Ashley: Much of our lives growing up was spent on the beaches of Hawaii and on our cacao plantation, as my family moved from Chicago to Hawaii when I was three, to start the first ever cacao plantation grown in the United States. My father had partnered with Hershey’s in 1984 to start the company. It was a rollercoaster working with such a large company and eventually they parted ways, leaving the venture in my father’s hands. During this period, my dad was constantly traveling to the Philippines, Japan, Trinidad, and other parts of the world, to come up with the first new cocoa genetic in over 100 years, that he planted in Hawaii. This eventually blossomed into Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate—The New York Times called it “the world’s best chocolate.”
How does Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate tie into your current product Intentional Chocolate?
Ashley: We use Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate as the base for Intentional Chocolate. It’s the chocolate we embed with good intentions.
Tell us the story of how Intentional Chocolate was born.
Cami: Intentional Chocolate came from research that our father conducted several years ago in which he concluded that everything we know about nutrition is wrong, and there is more to food than its calories. What he realized we were missing was energetic patterning. Think about the extra love you feel when you eat your mother’s chicken soup; in the same way, couldn’t there be some kind of embedded energy or intention that could actually make food better for you?
After coming upon this realization, he started researching ways to understand this idea better. After consulting with scientists at Stanford and the University of Wisconsin about the science behind intentional embedding, they further directed him to a monastery in Wisconsin, as Buddhists have been embedding positive, loving-kindness intention into food for hundreds of years. This was a key to creating Intentional Chocolate (IC), as it allowed IC to test and see if this type of food “internationalizing” really did change the food we eat.
So IC partnered with the monastery and the Noetic Science Institute to do a formal, double-blind test with three groups—one with no chocolate, one with just the Hawaiian vintage chocolate and one with the Hawaiian vintage chocolate embedded with the experience meditator’s intention: Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being.
The double-blind academic study was conducted by Dean Radin of the IONS Institute (a dominant scientist in the quantum mechanics field) and the study showed a 67% percent increase in wellbeing for those that consumed the Intentional Chocolate. A huge increase, as people’s wellness did improve slightly when they ate regular chocolate, but not as much as when they ate Intentional Chocolate. It really proved to us that the intention in your food matters—more than the calories, more than where it comes from, or the “ingredients” in it— so we decided to run with it and create Intentional Chocolate once the study was published in Explore magazine. You can view a one-minute video about the study here.
Tell me more about the embedding of Intention, how is this done?
Ashley: We always like to joke that we keep a bevy of monks in the basement praying all day over the chocolate. But, actually, what we created during our studies is what is called a HEED¹ device. Basically, it’s a tape recorder for intention. We have the experience meditator embedded the intention as Cami stated above into the device. The device then holds this intention and we embed the chocolate with the intentional energy waves from the device in a copper room (as this a great conductor) right before the chocolate gets shipped to customers.
What are each of your roles in the company?
Cami: I feel like we’re both jacks-of-all-trades. I mostly handle the online market, along with direct sales and marketing.
Ashley: Our roles are constantly changing depending on the company’s needs. My background is in marketing/PR and operations; before Intentional, I was COO of SoBe Chocolate. One of our current operational opportunities is creating and distributing a retail, bar line for Intentional Chocolate. We’d like to do a trial run at Whole Foods and then extend out the Intentional lifestyle brand, which focuses on helping consumers lead intentional lives through the brands they use and the choices they make in their day-to-day lives.
What does the future hold for Intentional Chocolate?
Ashley: Our next big step for this year is launching our retail bars, alongside the education process for our customers—promoting self-healing and expanding the concept of intentional living.
To learn more about Intentional Chocolate or to purchase their chocolate, visit their website at intentionalchocolate.com.
¹HEED (Human Energy Embedding Device). The meditators use guided silent meditation (no vocal tones) while focusing the well being intention on the electronic HEED circuit, which is designed to capture physical correlates of intention in special memory chips. Once programmed with intention, the device is placed inside a shielded, refrigerated room for five days along with several hundred pounds of chocolate. It is then set to broadcast the informational patterns associated with the recorded intentions. The combination of a well shielded environment and long-term exposure to the stored intentional patterns embeds the chocolate. The underlying principles that govern this process are currently being modeled in the realm of basic science, primarily based on the concept of a participatory universe suggested by Princeton physicist John Wheeler, in which matter and energy are emergent properties of quantum information. The application technique itself is based upon a half century of laboratory tests, conducted at Princeton and Stanford Universities, and elsewhere, and two relevant patents have been issued. These lab studies indicate that focused mind influences matter in subtle but measurable ways. In the clinical trial the chocolate exposed to the HEED system produced slightly better enhancement in mood than the chocolate exposed to the monks meditating in real-time.