Monday, 25 April 2016

Canadian Brand | Little Tucker

I mentioned in a previous post how one of the things I love about Canada is the push to support local Canadian brands. I decided to reach out to some local Calgary brands because I would love to feature them on here! The first brand I reached out to is Little Tucker, a brand I have been aware of for about a year. I first discovered their delicious treats when I went to Junction 9 and since then I have noticed them popping up more and more. I was delighted when founder, Laura, was happy to answer my questions.

How and when did you start Little Tucker?
I was born and raised in beautiful Perth, Australia where I graduated with a master's by the time I was 21. However, there was always something in the back of my mind telling me that the path that I had chosen wasn't for me. After doing some travelling I fell in love with Canada and decided to make a permanent move, taking up a "temporary" job at a cafe while I settled. After working at the same cafe for a year I started to become extremely frustrated at my lack of direction, I realised it was time to make a change.

Little Tucker began a mindless idea mid-2015 as I began brainstorming things I was passionate about. I grew up in an Italian household where my mum was constantly cooking. My dad was either always found in his veggie patch or at the markets first thing every Sunday. Special memories include my Nanna teaching me how to make home-made pasta from a very young age and my mum yelling at me when I told her I was going out to grab a pizza with friends; "don't be stupid - I'll just make you one!"

As much as I grew up around food, I was always taught to live a healthy and active lifestyle and follow a nutritious diet. This whole idea began by making little not-so-naughty treats for my boyfriend and I to snack on. With the paleo diet having a big influence on the content of our fridge, I started to learn about different food types and ways of eating, which lead to my interests in superfoods, nutrition and raw eating. After experimenting with so many new ingredients - I felt like I had missed out on a whole tonne of delicious things for so long, not to mention that my energy levels sky-rocketed. It made me feel like I held some extraordinary secret that I wanted to share with everyone who is sceptical. My purpose is not to convince people that a certain way of eating is better than another because I myself do not follow a particular lifestyle or diet. I just want people to explore what simple ingredients can offer, how amazing they can taste and how different they can make your body feel.

Where did the name "Little Tucker" come from?

"Tucker" is actually a slang word in Australia that simply means food or a meal. When I first began the idea of Little Tucker and started making the energy bites, I wanted to make them as nutritious and satisfying as a small meal would be - hence Little Tucker, or small meal.

What are your three favourite raw ingredients?
Choosing three is tough!

I would say my go-to in the kitchen would be cacao powder. I love how simple making raw chocolate is and how deep and delicious the flavour of cacao is! Whenever I'm really craving a treat, a simple raw cacao bar topped with fruit and nuts always does the trick - as does a cacao and banana smoothie!

The ingredient I love telling people about most is Lucuma. People get excited about how exotic it sounds and are often blown away by its subtle caramel maple syrup flavour. Lucuma is a favourite of mine if I want to sweeten up my smoothie or coffee. It's the perfect natural sweetener, without the sugar high and without the guilt.

Lastly, I can't walk past a box of dates without throwing one in my mouth. They're so versatile and a huge staple in making raw desserts. My favourite way to eat them is by simply stuffing them with almond butter or coconut oil. It's the yummiest snack, just like a natural candy!

What tips do you have for people who want to start incorporating more whole and superfoods to their diet?
The good thing about incorporating superfoods is that most of the time it is in powder form and can be snuck into your everyday foods without changing the flavour. A smoothie for breakfast is the perfect example of this. Depending on what I feel like, a spoonful of spirulina, activated charcoal and maca are often thrown into the mix. The colour may not be super appealing- but as soon as you mix in some berries, pineapple and banana, the superfoods are disguised so you can simply sip on a yummy smoothie while absorbing all that goodness. You can make other easy changes like simply making your morning oatmeal with buckwheat groats instead of oats, or sprinkling chia and flax seeds on your yoghurt.

In terms of incorporating whole foods, there are so many snack alternatives that I love having around the house instead of salty sugary snacks. Like, for example, the almond butter stuffed dates I mentioned. Going to the Farmer's Market in the summer are always great too because it's inevitable that you will come home with a bunch of beautiful local produce which, if you're anything like me, will excite you more than any bag of chips ever will! Don't be scared to just get in the kitchen with a new recipe book and start trying new things.

What is the most popular Little Tucker treat?
The snicker cups are definitely a favourite. It's basically a peanut butter cup made from natural nut butter, cacao, maca and a date caramel topping. People go crazy for them! They're the perfect mix of salty and sweet, and who doesn't love peanut butter!

What does 2016 have in store for Little Tucker?

There is a lot of exciting things happening for Little Tucker this year. Within the next month, Little Tucker will have a flagship store in Inglewood with Well Juicery which we are incredibly excited about. I also have some amazing new vendors lined up.

I'm really trying to concentrate on bringing Little Tucker to grocery stores, to make eating real foods an easy everyday option for people. I get so frustrated when I go down the aisle at the store that stocks all the power bars and granola bars. It's impossible to find one these days that doesn't have sneaky ingredients in them. I want to make Little Tucker a brand that people can rely on to be full of real, whole ingredients so that reading the ingredient list in search of rice syrup and palm sugar isn't even necessary.

I'm also excited to continue to bring popular raw food trends from Australia over to Calgary. I draw so much inspiration from amazing food vendors back home that I know people in this city would absolutely love, so I'm excited to have more opportunities to do that.

WebsiteLittle Tucker
Instagram: @LittleTuckerYYC 
FacebookLittle Tucker

Amaranth 4th Street Market
1407, 4th Street SW, Calgary

Blush Lane @ Calgary Farmers Market510, 77 Avenue SE, Calgary

Blush Lane Organic Market3000, 10 Aspen Stone BLVD, Calgary

Monogram4814, 16th Street SW, Calgary
420, 2nd Street SW, Calgary

Studio Revolution: 313, 17th Avenue SW, Calgary

Junction 9 Yoga: 715, 5th Avenue SW, Calgary

Juice & Java: 715, 5th Avenue SW (Level 2), Calgary

Odyssey Coffeehouse: Sait Campus - Carpenter Street NW, Calgary

Wild & Raw Superfood Bar: 1119, Kensington Road NW, Calgary

Vitality Tap: 420, 2nd Street SW, Calgary

Have you tried Little Tucker before?

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