Chocolate masters Delphin Gomes and Michael Nichols of Amesbury’s m cacao and herbalist Julie King of Samarra Sacred Spaces recently joined forces to make a unique gift to present to cancer survivors at the Anna Jacques Hospital Cancer Survivors Day on June 6. Together, the acclaimed local businesses created an herb-infused chocolate book, dubbed the “Book of Healing,” to remind recipients that they are writing the next chapter of their lives.
The project came together when Michelle Miakos, owner of 8 Waves Creative, was talking to a friend about the planning for the hospital’s annual event honoring cancer survivors. It occurred to her that some of her clients could work together to create something truly special for the day, she says. She reached out to Gomes, Nichols, and King – and all three agreed enthusiastically.
“Many years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a very difficult time for her, and for our whole family,” Nichols says. “I remember those times were so stressful and anxiety-ridden for her, and we appreciated any reminder that life could still be good again.”
King blended a custom herbal tea including holy basil (or tulsi), which is known to lower stress; hawthorn leaf, which helps with circulation; rose (known to help eliminate toxins); and rose hips, which are believed to help calm the stomach. Gomes then infused the tea into chocolate from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic.
Gomes designed the book to be completely edible, and he handcrafted each of the 50 books that were to be given out at the survivors’ event. Each books contains an inner page surrounded by a front a back cover. The front is decorated with edible dried flowers and a gold scrollwork pattern on the spine.
The gifts were received with gratitude by both the event organizers and the patients.
“We just wanted to make something beautiful and special for them,” Miakos says.