‘I’m obsessed with food’
2008-12-04 15:02:19 -

In the latest instalment of Metro Éireann’s Meet The Boss, Sandy Hazel speaks to Natasha Czopor, owner of the heathly foods business Natasha’s Living Food

To create, make and sell something is a great achievement. Natasha Czopor was born to do just this, bringing sugar-free and fat-free chocolate – among other delicious treats – to cheer us up here on the edge of a cold, depressed Europe. 
A daughter of cooks and migrants, Czopor says that food is in her blood. Her methods and recipes are unique; operating from a dedicated industrial kitchen at the Spade Enterprise Centre in Dublin’s Stoneybatter, she uses a special dehydrating system for her products. 
None of her foods are actually cooked in the traditional manner; rather, the goodness is activated and waiting to deliver the energy straight into your body. It sounds mad, but there is some sense in this system. It is a combination of chemistry and pure ingredients, and the results – including chocolate that might actually be good for you – are astonishing. 
Regarding her chocolate-making process, Czopor explains: “My suppliers in South America take the [cocoa] pod, it gets split and then a fermenting process begins in big warehouses. The amino acids give the chocolate bean its flavour. I get pure, raw cacao, and it’s a Mayan recipe which uses other superfoods. 
“It has maca in it, which gives a lovely smoky aroma to the chocolate and is great for balancing hormones. We also use lacuma, which is a Peruvian fruit, another low glycemic index (GI) sweetener which won’t affect your insulin levels or nervous system. 
“And it has agava, which is a cactus extract from South America – they make tequila from this stuff too. But again it’s another low GI sweetener and the magnesium and sulphur make it an amazing anti-depressant.” 
Perfect for coeliacs, type-two diabetics, vegans and others on restricted diets, Czopor’s chocolates also look good and taste heavenly. Her business, Natasha’s Living Food (www.natashaslivingfood.ie), is building up a loyal fan base who even vow never eat any other type of chocolate. “It’s all about flavour, it has to taste good,” she says.
Czopor admits that she is “not a chocolatiere, but I do not use sugar or fat, which react in their own ways. I use the agava and the pure cacao so my chocolates make an explosion of taste in your mouth, a lovely sweetness which will last for 15 minutes. 
“There have been gods dedicated to chocolate because of its effects on the body, it is considered to have special influence on your endorphins and serotonin. It’s powerful stuff.” 
Above all, Natasha’s Living Food is about nutrition and harnessing the vitality of food – her range includes seed breads, juices, cakes and hummus. For example, Czopor will only make her hummus from chickpeas at a very exact stage of sprouting. “You soak them to give them a signal that they are just about to turn into a plant, and then their properties change,” she explains, “the minerals and starch content alter and then they are ready. I play them some Led Zeppelin too.” 
Czopor is amazed at the vast quantities of food we consume. “It is an emotional need if someone stuffs himself like that,” she says. “It’s also because the food has no nutritional value, so our bodies crave volume. 
“I’m obsessed with food, I love food, but it has to be truly good food. You have to listen to your body and not eat just with your eyes.” 

As a small business owner, with only one chef working for her, Czopor relishes getting stuck in with the making, the hustling and deliveries. 
“I have a bit of a problem at the moment,” she says. “I have a potentially large order in the UK but can only supply if I can also offer point-of-sale stands. I’m looking around for investment to get these made, but I’m sure I can make this happen.”
Natasha’s Living Food products are available at health food stores all over Dublin, and Czopor is also proud to be a new addition to the Temple Bar Food Market on Saturday afternoons, along with her stall in Dun Laoghaire on Sundays.

Would you like to have your business profiled? E-mail news@metroeireann.com

Other Archives News
Most Read
Most Commented