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Get Local with PentictonNow: Featuring Gratify

If you go gaga for rich, gooey desserts with flavour that goes on for days but don't have the time or the culinary knowhow to create your own, there's a whole industry ready to serve you.

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Problem is that most pre-made desserts are filled with refined sugars, preservatives, colourings, and a whole load of other stuff most humans can't even pronounce.

But what if there was a rich, gooey dessert with flavour that goes on for days that wasn't unhealthy? Something made only of natural, whole food ingredients? What if it was gluten-free and vegan too? And what if it was handmade right here in Penticton?

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Over at a little startup called Gratify, they have precisely that.

"I'm a Registered Holistic Nutritionist," says Connie Oickle, who, along with husband Ryan, founded Gratify in 2017.

"I consulted for some time, learning how food and the body work together, with the mind and the spirit. How everything we put in our bodies affects it, and how we can put everything back into balance by adjusting what we're eating.

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"Gratify came about through our lifestyle. I would always make healthy desserts for us and for our family and friends, and people were constantly saying 'You should sell this stuff.'

"And I realized there's nothing on the market locally that is truly healthy. There's gluten-free and vegan, but that doesn't necessarily make it healthful."

So Connie went to work. She perfected existing recipes and experimented with alternate flavours. And Gratify was born.

Today, Gratify offers something for everyone, from brownies to granola bars, energy balls to something called "Rawnola." But their specialty is "Cheezecake." They currently have no less than 15 yummy varieties, and are always adding more.

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More importantly, says Ryan, they've been able to expand their roster so mightily without selling out. "We have a strict rule where we don't put anything out that compromises flavour or texture. We're also not compromising on refined sugar and fillers and ingredients that cause the diseases we're now seeing all over the place."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

Check out the ingredients in Gratify's Pumpkin Cheezecake: Raw cashews, raw almonds, dates, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, coconut milk, pure maple syrup, pumpkin spice, pure vanilla extract, and sea salt. Nothing mysterious, and nothing you can't pronounce.

Currently, Gratify concocts its delicacies at Pulse Kitchen, a commercial Penticton kitchen that specializes primarily in vegan cheeses. But recent business has been so brisk that Connie and Ryan are looking to eventually expand to their own storefront operation.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

Says Ryan, "The Thanksgiving week was the busiest week we've ever had. We sold a ton of Pumpkin Cheezecakes. And we were selling at the Penticton Farmers Market at the same time. So we were really working overtime."

Connie, who's also a customer service agent with WestJet Penticton, attributes their first year success to "the whole food aspect. The Okanagan is becoming more nutritionally conscious. Also, people just love supporting local here. They'd rather buy from a local shop."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

That, and taste. We had a chance to sample a generous helping of Gratify's Peanut Buster Parfait Cheezecake and can say without reservation that it's crazy good. Indeed, it's hard to believe that something this decadent isn't overflowing with naughty stuff.

To connect with Gratify, hit up their website and browse the menu. Orders placed online or by phone are generally filled and ready for pickup within 36 hours, though some items are in stock and ready sooner.

The Gratify slogan is "Delicious nutritious treats for health conscious people." It seems to be the real deal.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

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