Sure, she had eaten the sweet combination of milk solids and sugar before, but the chocolate that Georgie Castle consumed in Brooklyn while on a study stint was a moment of culinary indulgence like no other. Put simply, this raw cacao bar had her captured.
After working as a researcher for a royal biographer and completing two degrees in Fashion and Food Science, the New Zealand native begun working for an artisanal chocolate company; one of ten small batch companies established out of the recession. The fledgling company started out at the Brooklyn Flea, a part vintage clothing, part artisan food market, “We were like cowboys, none of us knew what we were doing. Nobody really knew what raw food was, and nobody really cared,” recalls Castle.
After five years of honing the chocolate making craft, curating a unique ingredients list and consuming copious amounts of cacao, Castle headed to our shores. She found herself taking up a gig as a chef at a friend’s restaurant, Huxtable, while continuing to make her raw, vegan, Ecuadorian chocolate truffle treats on the side.
When a friend casually introduced her to head chef of Silo by Joost, Douglas McMaster, he was eager to try her creations. After he sampled one of her truffle bars he insisted on stocking them, and she took her first order. Pope Joan and Spring St Grocer soon followed suit, along with Proud Mary, a cafe that previously hadn’t stocked any goods baked outside their own premises.
Castle currently creates her chocolate in a rustic bungalow at the back of Tomboy, formerly a tailor’s workshop. Now it’s chocolate being tailored - she creates a cold drip coffee mousse truffle bar for Proud Mary, strawberry coconut chia for The Staple Store, and an exclusive series for Spring St Grocer that includes a thin layer of salted Stilton with honeycomb. It just works.
Then there’s the original sea salt truffle bar, a peppery chipotle, citrus orange and pistachio praline, salted caramel coconut blossom sugar, and all-time favourite, peanut butter. With a steady shift towards healthy and organic food slowly consuming the Melbourne cafe culture, Castle wanted to provide an option for indulgence without the guilt.
Although her range is mostly all vegan she doesn’t pigeon hole herself entirely into the organic and vegan category, “Food is not meant to be restrictive, it’s meant to be enjoyed, so what if you go out for cheese and wine and consume things you may not usually eat and have a great night out and a wonderful memory? The next day you can just have a green juice and you’re back in the game.”
Having just launched Brunswick Blox, a new range of naturally-flavoured icypoles with friend Rochelle Seator, while also making plans for a line of herbal-infused truffle bars, Castle has a big year ahead of her.
Citizen Cacao is currently stocked at Tomboy, Silo by Joost, Proud Mary, The Staple Store, Spring St Grocer, Pope Joan and Hams & Bacon.