Written by Nora Mounce
What if King Midas’s magical power could have transformed everything he touched into a healing herb? Or chocolate? A Greek mythological figure, King Midas’s omnipotent fingers are metaphorical of man’s singular desire for wealth. Do such fantasies still dominate our reality? In 2018, evidence of a cultural revolution is everywhere. Cannabis is rapidly being legalized across the nation, and reports show that millennials place a higher value on wellness than on income. While legalization has pushed the herb into regulated systems of government oversight, the recreational market offers consumers the freedom to create their own gilded fantasy.
From deep within the Emerald Triangle, Outer Galactic Chocolates is a small company riding the tide of the evolving cannabis industry. Offering handcrafted cannabis-infused chocolate truffles, their products are deliciously old-school amongst a sea of infused water, tea and bath bombs. Like an Ella Fitzgerald song playing at a rooftop party, Outer Galactic Chocolates are timeless, elegant and fitting for nearly every occasion.
Outer Galactic Chocolates is the natural progression of a friendship between a chef and a farmer. A resident of Mendocino County and a cannabis farmer since 1982, Jeff Stewart is the former owner of The Chief Smokehouse (now known as The Big Chief) on Highway 101 in Laytonville. After hiring Jim Halpin as his chef at the barbeque outpost, the pair often stayed up late, talking about their passions and ideas. Before landing on the West Coast, Halpin trained at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy in Chicago and taught at culinary schools all over the country. Leveraging Halpin’s expertise as a chocolatier and access to premium, sustainably grown Mendocino cannabis, the pair launched Outer Galactic Chocolates, promising their customers “space travel from your couch.”
Each colorful box of Outer Galactic Chocolates contains eight gleaming truffles. Following new state regulations, a chocolate truffle packs 10 mg of THC. While Stewart admits that the dose may fall short for serious medical patients, the potency is approachable for new cannabis consumers. Using a recipe and design refined by Halpin, each chocolate mold is hand-painted with green, red and gold swirls of colored cocoa butter. The finished product is a gleaming piece of edible art that reiterates the brand’s celestial vibes. When creating Outer Galactic, a book of Hubble Space Telescope photos helped to inspire the company’s vision. “If we could make chocolates like that, it felt like a connection between art and farming,” explains Stewart, whose wife is a dedicated Trekkie.
Outer Galactic Chocolates are available in three flavors – dark, milk and sugar-free chocolate – but Stewart and Halpin have plans to create CBD-infused chocolates and possibly caramels. “Whatever we do, we want to make the best,” explains Halpin, whose culinary mantra is “Quality, consistency, and cleanliness.” His work hasn’t gone unnoticed. The chocolatier was awarded with “Best Dark Chocolate Hybrid” and “Best Chocolate Truffle” by Edible Magazine and took home the prize for “Best Chocolate” at the Emerald Cup in 2017.
While Outer Galactic Chocolates rival the depth of flavor and quality of any premium chocolate, Stewart and Halpin are excited about the health benefits of edibles over smoking. Stewart, a longtime smoker, has personally cut way back since he started enjoying the small luxury of eating an infused dark chocolate after dinner. “We’ll see that increase as health awareness rises,” explains Stewart.
Looking to add a little sweetness to your life? Ask your local dispensary about Outer Galactic Chocolates. The chocolate truffles are carrying on the legacy of Mendocino County’s farming heritage and artisanal lifestyle with every bite.