Cityscape Foodie File
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Meet The Artisans – She Universe's Oonagh Brown

Cityscape suffers some serious job envy catching up with She Chocolate’s master chocolatier Oonagh Brown.

 Oonagh-web
How did you become a chocolate alchemist?

Chocolate found me – I never believed I was creative until I started playing with chocolate.

Where do you get your chocolate?

We predominantly use Belgium couverture chocolate, and we also buy beans from the Pacific Islands. We use organic, non-organic, single origin, fair trade – the whole spectrum where flavour, quality and the story are paramount.

What’s the best thing about being a chocolatier?

I have, on-hand, the best chocolate in the world! At She we are constantly given chocolate from all around the world, and it usually lies with a bite or two taken out of it in the chocolate kitchen until it expires.

Do you ever get sick of eating chocolate?

Chocolate is the most sacred and ancient ingredient on the planet – it’s been here for thousands of years – and I can definitely take a few more years!

The secret to making great chocolates?

Living a life of creativity, constantly stepping into the new and having the courage to follow my inner knowing (some call it instinct).

Best chocolate you ever tasted?

It would have to be the first chocolate I ever made, because the memory of its magic is still so great. A beautiful lady in Melbourne made this chocolate for a fundraiser and when I tasted it I simply thought I was in chocolate bliss. I started making it for friends, the recipe continued to evolve, and soon I was selling it in cafes and organic shops. You never forget your first Decadent Date moment, which is what we called this chocolate.

Most unusual creation?

We create a lot of unusual flavours! My favourite thing to do is create chocolates for wedding couples. I meet them over hot chocolates at our cafe in Governors Bay and learn about their love and capture their story in unique flavours which have included beetroot and balsamic, curry and mango, and brie and hazelnut.

Is white chocolate really chocolate?

If it contains cocoa butter from the cacao bean, then yes. A lot of white chocolate out there has nothing of the bean in it though – so read the ingredients carefully!

Brag files?

Lonely Planet Top 10 Culinary Schools in the World in 2011 and acclaimed as the top chocolatiers outside of Europe in Southern Hospitality Magazine.

Do you have a signature chocolate?

It’s definitely the Decadent Date: a fresh organic medjool date stuffed with a hazelnut gianduja and orange filling enrobed in dark chocolate.

One thing people probably don’t know about chocolate? 

That the cacao bean is made up of two ingredients: cocoa butter and cocoa powder. The cocoa powder has the health properties (antioxidants, minerals and iron), and the cocoa butter has the flavour and decadence! The two together create a perfect marriage. Bean to bar chocolate is where the bean has not been separated and when eating bean to bar chocolate, you experience the full power and potency of the cacao bean.

How can we enjoy chocolate more?

Let it melt on the palate, without chewing. This allows the full experience of chocolate to be known – the mouth feel and the release of flavours.

Chocolate is ...

... a gift on every level – a gift to give, to experience, to taste, to share, to create, to express and to feel the extraordinariness of life with.


 

Cityscape

Cityscape is the essential Christchurch directory of where to eat and drink, what to do and where to shop. From the best events to add to your calendar to tips to ensure you squeeze out the very essence of the city, Cityscape has the city of Christchurch covered inside and out.

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Guest 14 December 2017