Vegan chef Andrea Young combines a love of design and baking with lessons learned from her Midwestern grandmother to create sweet confections in her Harlem, NY kitchen. The results are delicious, handmade, vegan chocolates. The chocolatier and business owner behind Sweet Vegan NYC sat down to chat chocolate and more with Beyondish recently.
Tell us how Sweet Vegan NYC came to be and why you decided to become a vegan chocolatier.
Growing up in Indiana, my grandmother, Georgia May taught me everything there is to know about cooking, always with love and strong Midwest values. She inspired me to come to NYC and study architecture, but it was not until I combined my career in architecture and became a vegan chef that Sweet Vegan was born. Working as a personal chef for celebrities, I received many requests for chocolate creations – without soy or white sugar and with a unique flavor spin such as those you’ll find in our Blueberry Bliss Chocolates or Pomegranate Power. So I followed my passion and shared the chocolate love with others. Now I’m proud to watch that love of chocolate grow to become Sweet Vegan NYC: a woman-owned company that believes in inclusivity and making a difference in everything that we do.
What sets your chocolates apart from other vegan chocolates out there on the market?
Our chocolates are the rockstars of the vegan world. They’re not just vegan; they’re a full-on taste rebellion. We handpick premium, ethical ingredients to craft a chocolate experience that’s a notch above – luxurious, bold and with a conscience. Always allergen-friendly, free of dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, white sugar and preservatives.
What are the challenges of running your own business?
Running Sweet Vegan NYC is thrilling, but not without its challenges. The hardest part is balancing creativity with business acumen. Staying ahead in a competitive market while remaining true to our ethical values is a delicate dance, but one that keeps us invigorated and inspired.
Where do you see Sweet Vegan NYC in five years?
I see Sweet Vegan NYC as a household name synonymous with luxury vegan indulgence. I envision us expanding our product line, reaching international markets, and opening a flagship store where chocolate lovers can immerse themselves!
How do you create and decide on flavors? You have some delicious choices. Our flavor journey is a blend of art and a bit of magic. It starts with inspiration – maybe an herb, a spice, or a childhood memory. After countless experiments and taste tests, when a flavor brings that spark to someone’s taste buds, we know it’s a hit. Our Classic Chocolate family consists of: Energizing Espresso (roasted coffee beans from Italy), Luscious Lemon (2024 Good Foods Award Winner), Midnight Passion (our BEST seller and a dark chocolate mouth explosion/Valentine’s must-have) and everyone’s favorite, Spicy Ginger, made with organic fresh ginger imported from Peru. Sweet Vegan celebrates chocolate with over 20 award-winning flavors. And if you don’t see your favorite, we’re happy to create a unique flavor for your special wedding or momentous occasion.
Do you have a personal favorite yourself?
Picking a favorite is like choosing a favorite child – impossible! But if I must, our Midnight Passion, with its dark, rich, espresso-infused character, holds a special place in my heart. It’s bold, sophisticated, and unapologetically indulgent.
Where can our Beyondish readers find your special chocolates?
Our chocolates are available online, catering to a wide audience. We’re also in select boutique stores in NYC and are expanding our presence to luxury hotels and gourmet shops including the Hilton Hotel Midtown and JFK Airport. Our goal is to be where fine chocolates are appreciated.
Do you have any favorites places in New York City to eat and drink that you’d like to share?
Massawa in Harlem is hands down my favorite restaurant, and for good reason. First, their authentic Eritrean and Ethiopian cuisine is absolutely unparalleled – every dish is an adventure in flavor, with spices and preparations that are both traditional and tantalizing. Second, the cozy, welcoming atmosphere makes every visit feel like a special occasion, yet comfortably familiar. It’s not just a meal; it’s a vegan taste experience that engages all the senses.
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