Story & photos Matthew Michaelis
Portia Tresselt was originally from California, grew up in Asia and Europe, graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a BA in Business and Linguistics and now lives in Lennox Head with her family.
Like most peeps with diverse backgrounds, the notion of doing what it is that you really want to do is accentuated in the northern rivers. I first came to the area far away from newspaper deadlines, cool cafes and the latest eats, and started a manufacturing idea, then ran a school canteen, then another, then back to newspapers. ‘I never used my degrees’ is an adage you’ll sometimes hear ‘oldies’ expounding to their younger counterparts and although the smart ones have integrated their life experiences and learning, it’s usually very personal. Whatever the case, it may be a while before you find that career that makes you feel complete.
Portia is now best known for her wholefood recipes, products, and her Byron Bay Truffle business, sold at a farmers market near you.
She too represents the diversity in the Bay. After working in the corporate world for several years, she found herself fatigued and slowly gaining weight. ‘As I made positive changes in my lifestyle, I started to share what I was learning with friends and colleagues,’ she said.
‘Over the last twenty years I’ve been involved in preventive healthcare working at the Diet Centre of America as a counsellor and giving family nutrition lectures at playgroups, churches, schools and corporations. I created a corporate wellness program, numerous seminars and workshops and have completed a BS in Holistic Nutrition. My hope is to encourage people to take an active role in their own health. My focus has been working with families using a wholefoods approach to help them grow and stay well together,’ she added.
The Byron Bay Organic Truffles business was inspired out of a desire to create a decadent dessert that also appealed to many on a gluten- and dairy-free diet, using only raw, organic ingredients – nothing added or taken away from its natural form. Ingredients include cashews, pecans, hazelnuts, desiccated coconut, zest of lime, lemon and orange, cranberries, cacao, carob, raw honey, dates, vanilla beans and organic herbs and spices.
Portia tells me each truffle is handmade with love (of course) and bagged in a bio-degradable casing, then boxed in a re-usable, compostable box.
The nine flavours are: Zesty Lime, Mandarin, Honey Coconut, Vanilla Bean, Dark Chocolate, Tangy Lemon, Cranberry, Date Pecan and Chocolate Hazelnut. All truffles are raw, gluten, dairy and refined-sugar free using 100 per cet organic ingredients.
Portia Tresselt is out of the corporate argy-bargy now and I think we’re all healthier for it too.
Find her at a market near you including: Tuesdays at New Brighton and Fridays at Mullumbimby farmers markets.
Recipe: Hazelnut Beetroot Brownies
By Portia Tresselt
1 Cup total grated beetroot and/or apple
– I use 1 medium beetroot or 1 red apple (skin and all).
1½ Cup almond meal (or hazelnut)
1 Cup walnuts
1 Cup Medjool dates
¼ Cup carob + ¼ Cup cacao
1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender, adding more beetroot or apple to keep the mixture moist. Press this batter into a large cake tin or silicon mould.
Chill for several hours and slice. I sift pure cacao powder over the top just before serving.
You may replace the medjool dates with any other date. If the dates are not soft and gooey soak them in filtered water for at least 15 minutes and strain off any remaining water.
Using the basic crust recipe below, you may spread a layer of crust in a cake tin first then the brownie dough to make a brownie torte.
Basic Crust Recipe
2 Cups of almond or any nut meal
10 Medjool dates
pinch of Himalayan, Celtic or Ayurvedic Saindhava Salt
Combine all in a food processor until well blended together.
Add 1/2 Cup of desiccated coconut for a flakier crust and press into your favorite pie tin.
This crust is so good it can be eaten on its own and makes a great cookie base.