A Boulder couple is on a mission to make high-quality chocolate an everyday snacking experience rather than an occasional luxury. The result is Nanga by Nature, a line of chocolate barks and nuts that balance indulgence, nutrition and unusual flavors.
"These are everyday indulgences that are part of a regular healthy lifestyle, and by keeping our ingredients simple and clean and [the] formulation balanced, we have created foods that can satisfy snack cravings without any post-snacking regrets," says Nelson Schwab, who owns the company with his wife, Dagmara. "We started Nanga to fill a void we saw in the chocolate marketplace — that is, for simple, healthy indulgences made from only the cleanest ingredients, made in a way that fully preserves the indulgent experience."
The couple started the organic chocolate company in 2015 (though it had a different name to begin with) and released the cocoa-dusted nuts and launched the new name in 2017. The idea behind their barks and sweet nuts is to keep the food pure and clean, or "naked," they say. In Hindi, "nanga" means naked, and the brand garnered inspiration from Nanga Parbat, or Naked Mountain, a natural landmass found in Pakistan that is the ninth-tallest peak in the world.
"All of our ingredients are carefully selected with a purpose," says Schwab, a North Carolina native who delved into traditional pastry and chocolate techniques at Denver's Johnson and Wales University (where he fell in love with Colorado) and learned about holistic nutrition at Bauman College in California. "Originally our dark-chocolate barks were formulated with specific functional purposes such as energy, athletic recovery and aphrodisiac properties, but our product testing led us to simplify and focus on flavor versus function."
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Flavor is apparent in all eleven options. Choose from 1.75-ounce bags of cocoa-dusted almonds enhanced with chili powder, cinnamon and maple syrup; bark made with dark chocolate, pecans, dried cherry and turmeric; dark-chocolate bark made with blueberries, lavender and rose; and cocoa and Chinese five-spice pecans, among others.
After spending time leading backcountry trips for young people and teaching them skills such as how to make meals with limited resources, Schwab turned to chocolate as a sweeter vocation. The snacks are also something his whole family enjoys.
Nanga by Nature can be ordered online or found locally at Alfalfa's Markets in Boulder and Lafayette, Nooch Vegan Market (10 East Ellsworth Avenue) in Denver, and select Natural Grocers and Sprouts markets in the metro area. Soon, says Schwab, you will also be able to find the chocolate pouches at Whole Foods.