There are some people you meet who just radiate kindness. Georgie Castle is one of those people. The first time we met, it was like we’d been friends for years and not only is she a lovely person…she also makes THE most amazing raw, vegan chocolate. Her business, Citizen Cacao, has grown from a passion project to a buzzing little enterprise with her delicious products stocked in speciality food stores and cafes across Australia. We couldn’t wait to find out more about Georgie, and Citizen Cacao, and share it with you!
Tell us a bit about the journey you’ve been on with Citizen Cacao. Where did the name come from?
These past two years have been a wild ride! I arrived in Melbourne thinking that I was about to embark on an adventure as a salad truck entrepreneur and ended up running a tiny chocolate company – go figure – and yet, not a total stretch…
Cacao had been flowing through my veins for a good four years before Citizen came about. I had ignored all the signs until Dougie McMaster at Silo literally asked to place an order after I shared some of my concoctions with him, at which time I scrambled for a name and for the new ‘hat’ that I was being asked to wear!
Citizen Cacao is a nod to all of us with wanderlust. Though the lands may be new and unfamiliar – the people, the communities you find will always make you feel as though you belong and remind you that you are loved. I have received, and want to give and create for others the beauty that I have experienced in others’ selfless generosity.
How did you get into developing raw chocolate?
I worked with a raw chocolate company in Brooklyn, New York for three years – during which time I ate copious amounts of raw chocolate. Absurd, unbelievable and outrageous amounts of cacao.
So you might say when it came time to make my own, I had a SLIGHT inkling of the taste I was looking for. The beauty of this product is it’s simplicity. With three or four key ingredients it comes down to a game of ratios and finding your perfect mix.
Raw food seems to be having resurgence. When we’re talking “raw chocolate” what does that actually mean?
The cacao in raw chocolate is unroasted, as opposed to regular chocolate bars in which the cacao seed has been roasted at high temperatures to develop a certain flavour profile. In keeping the cacao and other ingredients at ‘raw’ temperatures – the food (raw chocolate) contains high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants amongst a myriad of other benefits for the body. Plus, in my humble opinion cacao tastes exquisite in its raw form, it is fragrant and floral, delicate and delicious!
Your flavour combinations are unique and unexpected. What’s your favourite flavour and why?
Ooooh, that’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! Impossible! The flavours all have their own stories and I love them for that. I remember when I created each one and how it tasted for the very first time…
Melbourne is a great city for eating out, where do you like to go?
Another tough one! Kinfolk, Brothl and Combi are my mainstays. Together with Proud Mary, Pope Joan and Tomboy, and all of the other incredible amazing cafes that literally cover the Melbourne map. I can’t get over how many outstanding options we have here. We are SO LUCKY!
Are you a home chef? Are you always asked to “bring dessert” or are you known for a signature dish/style of cooking?
I am a feeder. Cooking brings me so much peace and pleasure. Summertime is when I am most frequently kitchenside – I love making salads and using all of the juicy produce that comes with the hot seasons. I have a couple of signature dishes that I turn up with – a delicious lentil salad, and a kale, olive and avocado number, but I love experimenting and using EVERYTHING in the fridge/cupboard! I tend to wander around with chocolate in my pockets so it is rare that chocolate doesn’t arrive on the table at some juncture!
Anything else to add?
I am endlessly grateful to and for the community that Citizen has become a part of, and been a building block for. These are exciting times in a super dynamic and energetic city that I am so proud to call home. This year is looking outlandish already – I will be moving Citizen to a new home and have so many new flavours marinating in my head and new people to meet.