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Governors Bay, Canterbury, 8971
New Zealand

The Journey to Chocolate...

Oonagh's Blog

The Journey to Chocolate...

Oonagh Browne

I knew there was a way to live a whole life without feeling great on a Friday night and depressed on a Sunday night.

Having left the corporate world of London, I was soul searching and looking for real meaning in my life. I travelled the world, moving eventually to Melbourne, but was lost as I knew I could not go back into the corporate world.

I knew there was a way to live a whole life without feeling great on a Friday night and depressed on a Sunday night.

I was reading books about life, spirituality and the real meaning of this existence. And then, in a time of darkness, two amazing things happened; I discovered B Prior, an internationally renowned Spiritual Teacher and the founder of She; and at a charity event I tasted what is now the decadent date.

I went on a retreat with B Prior where I learnt The Form – a profound moving meditation, and I asked the lady who made that most amazing chocolate for the recipe. When I bit into that chocolate I simply disappeared into chocolate heaven. I knew absolutely nothing about chocolate except how much I LOVED to eat it!

Magic truly happened. Practicing The Form daily I discovered how to listen to a deep inner voice and not the programming of my mind that said I was not creative. The chocolate started to flow...

I adjusted the recipe because that was what my heart told me and I started to make it for friends. Everyone said I should sell them commercially. At this point I was living in Byron Bay with a three-year-old son and my then partner and I started to sell them to organic shops having named them The Decadent Date. Vegans just couldn’t believe how good they were as they were naturally dairy free!

I hired a commercial kitchen and I remember the first day of producing a large batch, crying and feeling the impossibility of being able to create the Decadent Date on a large commercial scale. But I kept going and burned through so much fear and doubt and just kept following that inner voice.

I continued to practice The Form and attend retreats with B Prior. One summer we visited New Zealand where B had established a retreat centre and opened a café in Governors Bay with his team.

Driving down into Governors Bay something magical happened, tears started to pour down my cheeks and all I could see through the beauty was chocolate, recipes ideas knowing of so much more than decadent date. Nine months later we were living next to the café and I started to do the baking for the café but I put chocolate into everything. I mean what’s the point if it doesn’t have chocolate in it!

One day someone told me about a hospitality shop that was closing down. I went in and all the key equipment I needed to start a small commercial kitchen was hugely reduced. I handed over my credit card and jumped fully in. We converted a small 3x3 room in the house into She’s first chocolate kitchen and the journey really began in earnest!

I kept going and burned through so much fear and doubt and just kept following that inner voice.

The Decadent Dates were sold at the Lyttelton market and I trained with a Swiss chocolatier and learnt some good habits amongst all my self-taught breaking-all-the-rules. The Florentines followed the Decadent Date, then the Nut Crunch, Brownie and Truffles...

Fresh boutique truffles became my favourite part of the creation. First came the She Truffle, then a truffle called Kali, then the Lovers Truffle Collection. They were like jewels. Two and a half bites of flavour, texture and perfection.

One day we got a phone call from Auckland saying that this person had tasted our Decadent Date at the Lyttelton market and would we wholesale them to their shop. That was the beginning of NZ-wide wholesale…

Then, at Lyttelton’s first every mid-winter street party we made the hot chocolate and there were huge queues and the response was incredible…

We quickly out-grew the small kitchen and went on a journey to Europe, bought some key equipment and moved in to the kitchen space below the café and whoosh the next level of She Universe chocolate took off!

Nothing was planned, no five year strategy, just following the heart and the magic of chocolate. That magic called amazing people to come and be part of the creating including Sarah who came from 10 years in Sydney working with an amazing chocolate company to join us. Sarah took over the crafting of the truffles and I wondered what would be next for me... and the chocolate took me back to its origins, to the Cacao Farm, to the trees, to authentic cacao and a whole new side of She Universe has been bubbling – super food cacao that is decadent and nourishing….

 The Form continues to be a part of my daily life as do retreats with B. It has been an amazing journey and not always a easy. To find one's inner magic one must also face one's darkness, fears doubts and patterning that needs to be shed with love.

It has been a big journey thus far, a great chocolate journey of love, truth, heart and a burning passion to share the amazingness of chocolate and cacao and the true spirit that is inside ever Being on the planet.

Inside everyone is a key to unlock greatness. It is in your hands to listen to that knowing, that inner voice of the heart and not the head. It will take you all the way!

Practicing The Form daily has been a huge gift in my life, to stay deeply connected to my heart no matter what is taking place on the surface... and the chocolate keeps bubbling…