Girl Made Chocolate is a delicious, handmade, organic chocolate that is made right on the Central Coast. This week we asked Girl Made Chocolate a few questions about their brand and were delighted with their thoughtful answers.
Who is Girl Made Chocolate?
Girl Made Chocolate is a two person organic, raw, unique hand made chocolate team consisting of Adam Paton and Sanela Hasanovic the people, and the “Girl”; Mother nature. Adam Paton is a former visual artist/ Artist facilitator, Handy man, and top bloke (Still). Sanela is a former trapeze artist, acrobat and still a yoga teacher that is currently tied up in more chocolaty things. We make plant based chocolate that considers the health of the environment and people on purpose!
How did Girl Made Chocolate Begin?
Girl made chocolate came into existence about two and a bit years ago. It came at a time when Sanela became very ill. She suffered a severe neck injury which caused her to retire from the circus, this triggered an unexpected onset of PTSD, which moved into many bodily breakdowns including Adrenal fatigue, thyroid issues, pneumonia, just to name a few. “It felt like my body and life as I knew it, just broke down.” Prior to this, she was a fit young woman.
At one point she was unable to work at all due to her health. She saw several practitioners and tried various types of therapies to reclaim her health. At one stage of this recovery, it was recommended that there be a big lifestyle change in diet. Both Adam and Sanela did this together, Adam in support.
One day Sanela roughly learned to make chocolate that fit within their diet restrictions at the time, and involved some of the super foods, which were optimizing her chances to reclaim her health.
"It was the lime chocolate that I intuitively made roughly that night, following some stuff I read on raw chocolate" She said… "Roughly, because I never follow recipes, and like to throw this and that into things, for excitement and experiment. I simply walked into the room one night to surprise my man during this hideous diet period and said to Adam - Do you want some girl made chocolate? It feels like that was the beginning really, something clicked. Some weird night in the midst of health troubles, the chocolate was born. Adam liked it so much that I became inspired and started creating all these interesting flavour combinations and names for the chocolates. Within a week I had come up with 5 flavours and 5 names. I did a chocolate drive amongst friends and family in order to make some money, and their encouragement has got us this far. I guess it got us through some tough times and … it helped us heal, I wish to impart this lovely depth into the chocolate and for those that eat it."
What is your earliest memory of chocolate?
Sanela Oh my… my earliest chocolate memory would probably involve nutella, as I do recall going through a period of putting nutella in my jaffles before gymnastics training and just having no inhibitions about how much of the stuff you could fit between two pieces of bread& turn into a jaffle.
Adam My earliest memory of chocolate that sticks, is when I opened my door one Easter morning to find bits of shredded foil and sticky caramel all over the place in front of me. Upon further investigation, it was revealed that “Honey” our miniature Pomeranian, had eaten all of the expensive and delicious eggs that the ‘Easter bunny’ had left me on the floor outside my door. Lesson learned ‘never leave caramel cream eggs at the same height of a dog that likes chocolate.”
What is your favourite flavour in the Girl Made Chocolate range (and why)?
Sanela Crunchy chilli! I’m a fiend for it. It’s like a gift to myself this one. Please don’t buy these ones so I can eat them! Just kidding. I don’t necessarily make chocolate for me, I make it for others. When I was inventing it, I wanted to use something crunchy that wasn’t a nut. It was an unusual idea to try buckwheat so I thought it was either going to be too radical and not work (Which is not unusual for me), or… it was going to be a hit. I was terribly excited when it worked out. Some people didn’t take to it at the start, but because I liked it personally I persisted with it and it feels like “the one I stuck up for,” and has managed to develop and shine over time. It’s the one I eat to get my energy when I need it too.
Adam I, for the most part, score the job of sampling and testing each batch, so I’m getting stuck into all of the flavours a lot of the time. Needless to say, my tastes change from day to day and week to week, but I’d have to admit that the Salty Walnut is my go to when I’m in the mood to eat a block for the sheer pleasure of it. I also have a secret crush on the crunchy chilli, but sshhh don’t tell Sanela.
When did you start to incorporate Australian native flavours in the range, and why? I love this question and thank you for asking it.
During my illness, I started to look to nature for justice. I looked at nature as my teacher for… I wasn’t very satisfied in societal answers and the lack of medical clarity.
I’m a big believer that the environment is our true feeder. By eating things from the environment, we connect with it, with ourselves and each other. It’s an access point to connecting. The food goes inside us and we become more aware and equipped to exist with the environment.
So I became very interested in the Australian environment given that that’s where we are now, and the food it produces. I began to research and read about the indigenous culture.
When the settlers first came, a lot of them starved underneath trees full of medicinal foods, and died of thirst, moments away from water holes, because they were unaware of what the environment offered.
In further reading, of American Indian history the more ancient ideas, this idea prevailed that if a culture arrived on another culture's land it was the people of the land that offered them food and taught them the food of that land. So that while they were there they could integrate with their current environment. Problems started to occur when the white explorers started to bring their foods to the indigenous cultures. Disease and illness began. It’s possible to observe the same has happened in Australia.
The unfortunate thing is that we are still so unaware of the abundance of nourishment our own environment holds, but it’s exciting because we have a lot to discover and we’re just starting to.
I’ve been getting inspired by the indigenous culture here, and would LOVE to go and spend time with a local mob and learn more about their intelligent ways.
A few interesting things to note on our products:
- We activate our walnuts. An indigenous practice and method where the nuts are soaked in a salt solution and dehydrated. (This removes the tanins from the nut -the enzyme inhibitors-which make it easier to digest).
- Our Australian dessert produces some very nutritionally dense food. The hot sun hardens the skin on a lot of foods, which acts to contain the nutrients inside. Once ingested the contained nutrients open with potency. Furthermore the sun energizes the food.
- Wattleseed, one of the native flavours we use, is also being used to regenerate the land damaged in mining sites in some parts of Australia. This is such inspiring news for many reasons.
Where to next for Girl Made Chocolate?
Girl Made Chocolate are based in West Gosford, we are at that point where we are looking into increasing the team, and get more people on board. We will look to do a crowd funding soon as a way to achieve the next stage. We wish to create an example of the change we wish to see occur in the food industry, one where real food should once again be the only food people choose to eat. We encourage anyone interested in our cause to contact us, or say hello. Follow us and watch us grow, or grow with us. Come and try our chocolate and if you like it, then buy it, the consumers dollar is the vote. The more we start to support businesses with a genuine cause, then the more chance we have of change. We hope to inspire others to start making their own food too and or searching to know what’s in it.
Where can we find Girl Made Chocolate products?
Visit our Facebook page and follow us to find out which markets we’ll be attending in the near future. You can also purchase our chocolate online on our website.