The Chocolate Yogi
It’s never all hunny bumbly when you start a business and starting in the vegan industry is even harder. The chocolate Yogi started off with a tough two years. Money was scarce, drawing on the support of family and friends. Moving from an island home in order to scale up and keep the Chocolate Yogi running. Malindi and Ed followed their passion and made their sensational chocolate accessible for all those vegan chocolate loving people out there.
We speak to Malindi about how it all got started and what’s next.
How did it all start?
My husband and I did an elimination diet a few years ago and discovered that we had an allergy to dairy. We were both vegetarians at the time but not vegan and I had an issue with gluten. We tried to cut these things out of our lives and found it quite hard as a lot of people do at the beginning.
I found it really tough to find a decent dairy-free vegan chocolate that tastes like milk chocolate. There were dark chocolates out there of course. But I wasn’t into dark chocolate at the time. I found them all unsatisfying so I started making chocolate for myself and sharing with friends as well. After we moved back from England to Australia, we were unemployed for six months and running out of savings. We ended up at a seminar where we were encouraged us to start a business.
They asked, what do you like doing? And I said. I really like making chocolate. So they responded with, Why don’t you do that? I was like. OK and we went out and got investment the same day. We asked people that we knew and we both started work the following day. I went and did chocolate training and. Then it sort of went from there.
What was the chocolate training like?
The chocolate training I did was traditional chocolate making. Using dairy, so I learned how they do it. Then I took that knowledge away. I wanted it to be Vegan, with whole foods and as natural as possible. So I applied that knowledge and I experimented and used my intuition. Eventually, we came up with the milk chocolate version and then white chocolate and we were just amazed at how close they tasted to what we knew as chocolate.
What is the inspiration behind the flavours?
We just made what we wanted to see out there that wasn’t out there already. We wanted to make something that is different. There’s no point just making something that someone’s already done before. I missed milk chocolate so that was the first thing and then white chocolate. Some of the ideas came to me during meditation. Ed and I meditate every day and Frothy Toffee came to me during a meditation. Very clearly, like I need to do this and I need to put it in there and I was like ok cool.
We love that kind of mediation.
We have a lot of chocolate inspired meditation. The hunny bumbly was because I ate, honeycomb bars. Making a vegan honeycomb was the challenge but it was fun. Discovering how to do that without using white sugar or wheat syrup or other weird ingredients.
Are there any new flavours coming soon?
We always have a few different ones we are thinking of. There will be some special editions of our fun range, but not quite decided yet. But stay tuned.
What’s the most popular flavour?
Honey bumbly is very popular. And the Oscar the orangutan is also very popular.
The Chocolate Yogi donates to the sea shepherd and orangutans project, what drew you to those projects?
We always wanted to have a business with a deeper cause. We weren’t able to do that beginning. But after a couple of years, we decided we were just going to do it anyway.
With Sea Shepherd, we saw the documentary about them and Greenpeace. How to change the world. We just thought it was amazing. Decided it would be a really good charity to align with. We weren’t sure they would be up for it as they are so large. But they were totally up for it.
We also wanted to do a children’s chocolate for years, but we were waiting for the right shape. We tried a few things in the R & D section, but they just didn’t feel right. One day we were at a vegan event and we came across the Orangutan project. They were telling us about how they just bought all this rainforest and they were protecting it as a sanctuary.
We found that so inspiring and as we spoke, we said, why don’t we make a little orangutan kids chocolate. It all happened within 15 minutes, and it just felt so right. It is such a beautiful cause and such a beautiful creature. It just kind of happened. It evolved very quickly and we support them through our Oscar the Orangutan chocolates.
What’s the story behind your nicknames the Mischief Maker and the King Parrot whisperer?
We are a bit silly in a good way. We like to muck around and I guess I’m the mischief maker because I like a good tickle fight. I’m the creative and wanting to do all the spontaneous things, while Ed just loves animals. When we lived on the island we had these two parrots who would come sit on our shoulders and feed them.
We are aiming to get all our packaging compostable, and have our chocolate more accessible, getting them into more stores.