Raw-Vegan Koukla Delights: An Interview with Evelyn Jerassy

Koukla Delights was easily one my favourite discoveries at the CHFA East Trade Show in Toronto this past November. I had the pleasure of meeting the company’s President, Evelyn Jerassy, who is a Montreal based lawyer-turned-entrepreneur. It turned out that we both had a few things in common - we are both lawyers by training, have an affinity towards raw-vegan desserts and we both have a love for reading cookbooks. Evelyn shared with me that one of her favourite ways to relax has always been to blast the music in her kitchen and create delicious desserts. Evelyn followed her passion in the kitchen, which led to the creation of Koukla Delights, a line of deliciously guilt-free raw-vegan macaroons, cookies and granola. 

Evelyn Jerassy, President of Koukla Delights and her dog Rocky, a fawn Bouvier de Flandres. Photo courtesy of Koukla Delights. 

Evelyn Jerassy, President of Koukla Delights and her dog Rocky, a fawn Bouvier de Flandres. Photo courtesy of Koukla Delights. 

I was immediately hooked on the Matcha Tea Macaroons, which are filled with organic coconut and almonds and sweetened with organic maple syrup. Koukla Delights are made with simple, high quality and are never heated above 46 °C / 115 °F. This means that all essential vitamins and enzymes in each ingredient are preserved, making them a fantastic nutritious snack.  

As Evelyn was developing the recipes for Koukla Delights, she says she felt like her late father was watching over her. He was born in Greece and taught her the basics of great cooking: use simple ingredients and always use the best and freshest available!  

Koukla Matcha Tea Macaroons are made with Matcha powder, organic coconut and organic maple syrup. Photo courtesy of Koukla Delights.

Koukla Matcha Tea Macaroons are made with Matcha powder, organic coconut and organic maple syrup. Photo courtesy of Koukla Delights.

Koukla, Greek for “doll”, was what my father called me when I was a little girl. I loved my father’s cooking and whenever I asked him what his secret was, he would smile and reply: “I made it with love Koukla!” Inspired by my father, Koukla delights are made with love, using only the best ingredients.
— Evelyn Jerassy, President of Koukla Delights

I had the opportunity to interview Evelyn who told me all about how Koukla Delights got its start and has even divulged her newest flavour addition to the line! 

Below the interview you’ll find all of the details on my current giveaway featuring Koukla Delights! 

LoveWildLiveFree_Koukla_logo
LoveWildliveFree_Koukla

What inspired you to create Koukla Delights?

I’ve always been an avid baker in the more traditional sense – using lots of butter, milk, white sugar and white flour.  As time went on, I started having a harder time digesting dairy and gluten and also noticed that my blood sugar would skyrocket and then plummet after a slice of cake! 

I love reading cookbooks and I started to read more and more books on the importance of buying organic food and the benefits of eating raw, gluten-free and vegan.  I have a huge sweet tooth so I naturally started with the dessert section first!  One weekend, I did a complete overhaul of my kitchen, sourced organic suppliers, bought a dehydrator and started experimenting with a whole new way of (un)cooking.

I soon realized that I could satisfy my sweet cravings and nourish my body without compromising flavours and textures. Once I stopped eating dairy, gluten and refined sugar, I stopped craving them! 

This personal journey into making tasty and nutritious desserts ultimately resulted in the creation of Koukla Delights!  My goal with Koukla is to make healthy and delicious treats that are guilt-free, energizing, revitalizing and packed with powerful vitamins, minerals and enzymes. 

What has your journey of starting a business been like?

I’ve always been curious about starting a business, but have been slightly intimidated.  I’ve learned that sometimes you simply have to take a leap of faith, trust your instinct, follow your passion and work hard!  

I’ve been blessed to have some wonderful mentors and guardian angels – both friends and family as well as people that I’ve met through starting Koukla.  Their enthusiasm and positive energy has been unbelievable and contagious.  I’m extremely grateful to the women who have been so incredibly supportive during my Koukla journey. 

Why did you decide to create a line of products that are raw vegan?

Heating food reduces its nutritional value.  So we gently dehydrate our treats so as to preserve and keep intact all of the vitamins, nutrients, minerals and amino acids.  Not only are raw foods nutritionally dense, but they also contain live enzymes, which aid in digestion.  Our enzyme pool diminishes with age. Raw foods are easier to digest, don’t sap your energy and help build our body’s enzyme reserves.  

What factors do you consider when developing your products?

When creating a recipe, I want every ingredient to, in some way, nourish the body while ensuring the flavour profile satisfies my sweet tooth!  I avoid taking any shortcuts.  For instance, we don’t use agave as a sweetener.  Rather, we sweeten exclusively with organic maple syrup, which is filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Koukla Delights are certified organic, certified kosher and are gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan and paleo.  It’s important that all of our suppliers follow strict quality control and have the appropriate certifications. 

We also try to source all of our ingredients from Canadian suppliers.  For example, all of our organic maple syrup is from Quebec.

Koukla Delights are made in Montreal using high quality, raw, organic ingredients. Photo by Love Wild Live Free.

Koukla Delights are made in Montreal using high quality, raw, organic ingredients. Photo by Love Wild Live Free.

What can we expect to see in the future as your brand evolves?

We have a new flavour – matcha macaroons with cacao nibs.  The combination of matcha and cacao nibs is an amazing source of energy – a perfect alternative to a chocolate bar!  I also like the texture of the nibs!  

In the coming months, we’ll also be coming out with Koukla Delights in a mini form – good for a grab and go or to keep it in your purse or car!

How have you been able to give back to your local community through Koukla Delights?

This March we will be donating Koukla Delights to over 30 women who are graduating from 6 months of training with the YWCA in Montreal whose mission is to build a better future for women and girls where they have the power and opportunity to realize their full potential.  

The graduates are women immigrants and single mothers who are struggling to find employment.  We are privileged to help them celebrate this special day where they are being honoured for their courage and determination to integrate into the Quebec workforce.


Instagram Giveaway

Thanks to Koukla Delights one lucky winner will win a prize pack with the complete line of products including the brand new flavour, Matcha Macaroons with Cacao Nibs!

To enter: 

1 - Follow both @lovewildlivefree & @koukladelights on Instagram.

2 -  Under today’s post of the blueberry smoothie bowl topped with Koukla Delights Cranberry Maple Granola, tag 2 friends, or more to increase your chances of winning!

Contest closes February 18, 2016 at 11pm EST & is open to residents of Canada and the United States. Good luck!

  Blueberry smoothie bowl topped with Koukla Delights Cranberry Maple Granola. Photo by Love Wild Live Free.

 

Blueberry smoothie bowl topped with Koukla Delights Cranberry Maple Granola. Photo by Love Wild Live Free.

Special thanks to Evelyn for her time! Don't forget to check out Koukla Delights on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on koukladelights.com.

Much love,

#LoveWildLiveFree

Note: Some of the Koukla Delights products are sweetened with pure maple syrup which is not technically a raw food, however, there are members of the raw foods community who consider it to be raw. 

This post was in collaboration with Koukla Delights and the products used in this recipe were kindly gifted for review. This is an unpaid endorsement. I only share products that I personally use and that are made with the highest integrity.

To work with Avra and Love Wild Live Free on collaborations, reviews and sponsored posts please get in touch on the Contact page!