WHO GAVE US THIS STUFF? Melissa Berry from Missionary Chocolates

[Note: This is a recurring feature that will highlight the generosity and goodwill of our treasured sponsors. We appreciate all that they do.]

BY JEFFREY MARTIN | jeff@portlandplayhouse.org

Melissa Berry is the owner of and chocolatier at Missionary Chocolates, which produces handcrafted vegan truffles.

Berry is also a certified naturopathic doctor.

Chocolate isn’t her passion - helping others is.

Listen to her explain why she does what she does:

“To do outreach, to do public service - that’s what we’re here for. We’re not here to amass things, but to care for people… Having a mother who has nearly died of Lyme disease several times, she’s really ill, no working joints, it’s destroyed most of her body - I wanted to do something nice, something that was a luxury. Life gets so boring, and to have little luxuries - you might not need a grand piano, but if you can sit down with a really nice piece of chocolate or something that really touches your soul… 

“I find that chocolate does that - not for me, but for other people.”

It’s true - she doesn’t even like chocolate. In fact, she has a slight sensitivity to it. She laughs when suggesting this development stops her from feasting upon her company’s product, literally eating up profit.

“It’s a means to an end,” she says. 

Indeed - the goal is to build an in-patient, integrated hospital, the first of its kind in Portland. But Berry admits that’s a long-term goal. 

Until then, though, the creativity involved in concocting new flavors - lemongrass curry, anyone? - keeps Berry invested on a daily basis. Then again, the popularity of her products helps in that regard as well.

“Apparently we’re filling a niche,” she says. “I would say most of our customers are not vegan. They’re lactose-intolerant, they avoid dairy for the many reasons people do, or they just really like our flavors and appreciate that it’s a high-quality product with no preservatives and no junk in it. 

“People in Portland care. I find that people that go to Portland Playhouse and the other places we support, those are people that care about the community. They have the resources to go to these things and support them.”

Missionary Chocolates (www.missionarychocolates.com) is located at 2712 NE Glisan.