Zoommers Chocolates Blend Energy and Activism

Everyone is looking for a little extra energy while trying to avoid the dreaded caffeine crash. Zoommers, a chocolate-coated herbal truffle, are made locally and promise six hours of natural, sustainable energy. Each gold foil package warns the consumer of possible side effects like house cleaning and dancing. This reporter wrote her article while under the influence of one such energy treat.

A note about Zoommers: the recipe mixes traditional ingredients like peanut butter and chocolate with herbal elements, including ginseng, kola nut, and flower essences. The result is a spicy, sweet and peanut-buttery concoction that promises to leave you with a clean, jitter-free pep, creates positivity, and fades rather than crashes.

The truffles are made by Debo Sylla, a local chef, herbalist, healer, and entrepreneur. She started her venture by cooking up early versions of the energy treats about 10 years ago. In 2009 she partnered with Patrick Magee of Burst’s Chocolate to transform it from a coconut-covered triangle for friends and family to a chocolate-coated truffle available for about $2.50 in various spots around town.

One of Sylla’s inspirations for her truffles comes from the kola nut, a caffeinated fruit harvested from the kola tree. The kola nut is native to Africa and has a number of traditional, spiritual, and ceremonial uses. Sylla benefited from the kola nut while seeking respite from the humid climate of Guinea, West Africa.

“It’s so hot and you feel drained,” she said of Guinea. “I would eat it there to make me feel more awake.”

Sylla began visiting Guinea several years ago to study drumming and dance. She said the country captured her heart, and a few years ago she met her husband, Ibrahima, a native of Guinea and one of her teachers. A portion of Zoommers’ proceeds goes toward the Sambanyi West African Project, a non-profit Sylla created to support education and business growth for artists and women in Guinea. She plans to buy land and build an eco-village and Montessori schools.

You can find Zoommers at Nearly Normal’s, Burst’s Chocolate, Market of Choice, and Zoommers.org.

by Kerry Brown