Thursday 9th March 2017
Galia Orme first discovered raw chocolate eight years ago and was amazed at how simple it was to make at home.
Galia Orme first discovered raw chocolate eight years ago and was amazed at how simple it was to make at home. 'After sourcing the ingredients and spending several months making my own recipes, I also realised I was losing weight, had more energy and felt happier,' says Galia. 'I couldn't believe raw chocolate-making wasn't a common home-baking activity so I set up Choc Chick. I wanted to promote the benefits and goodness of minimally processed cacao and enable anyone who loves chocolate to make chocolates that are free from dairy, gluten, refined sugar, additives and guilt.'
Her first product, the Choc Chick starter kit, contained all the organic raw cacao ingredients, a natural sweetener and a recipe booklet for raw chocolates, truffles and hot chocolate drinks. With no previous food industry experience, Galia says launching her new brand proved to be a steep learning curve, but she was thrilled when John Lewis agreed to stock her products in 2010. 'It was huge as this was our first major retailer. This led to us being stocked in Whole Foods Market, then in Holland & Barrett.'
For Galia, running an ethical business has always been hugely important, and she has enjoyed meeting the farmers and their families who grow the cacao in Ecuador. 'We source the finest Nacional Arriba Fino de Aroma bean, a single origin cocoa bean that has grown in Ecuador for centuries, and have complete traceability and know the provenance of all our cacao ingredients, which we pay for directly and fairly.'
It seems almost too good to be true to discover that chocolate could actually be good for us, but Galia says that cacao has always been a superfood and was prized by the Aztec and Mayan cultures. 'There's been a lot of research into the benefits of chocolate, particularly high cocoa content chocolate (over 70%). This has found that cacao can improve heart health, blood flow and even cognitive function. Chocolate with a high cocoa content and made with minimally processed cacao is one of the highest natural sources of antioxidant flavanols. It has three times more antioxidants than green tea, is rich in magnesium and iron and has been known to increase serotonin levels – to elevate mood – and reduce appetite. It's only when sugar, dairy and hydrogenated fats are added that the benefits of chocolate are reduced.'
Fans of Choc Chick already include the Hemsley sisters and Body Coach Joe Wicks, while Jamie Oliver recommended Choc Chick cacao powder in a raw chocolate cake recipe. And new products are on the cards too, with Blissful Blends launched last year, combining raw cacao powder with natural spices, while this year Galia will be promoting the benefits of the new cacao butter bean range for everyday cooking.
Find out more about the full range of Choc Chick products at www.chocchick.com.