We shine the spotlight on Adam’s Fresh Chocolate, the innovative, Bristol-based winner of the Seed Fund 2016
The Adam’s Fresh Chocolate journey began around 13 years ago, when Adam Farag started looking into ways to change his diet following a sports injury to his lower back. “The issue was partly caused by muscle deterioration and I was faced with some pretty unappealing and invasive treatment options,” he explains. “I began researching the benefits of a raw vegan diet and was put onto an amazing raw chocolate recipe from the other side of the world by a friend who was travelling through South America.”
The new diet played a central role in getting Adam fighting fit again – along with plenty of yoga and rolfing treatment (muscle manipulation) – but the chocolate, in particular, stuck with him. “There wasn’t a huge amount of interest from friends and family when I was knocking up nettle juice and wheatgrass concoctions, but the chocolate was a different matter,” laughs Adam. “And the business really blossomed from me wanting to share my creations with them.”
“There wasn’t a huge amount of interest from friends and family when I was knocking up nettle juice and wheatgrass concoctions, but the chocolate was a different matter…”
And blossomed it has, with Adam and business partner Mark Claydon winning this year’s Seed Fund – which helps fledgling food businesses from the South West to flourish – and now set to benefit from £100,000 worth of business support. “It’s incredibly exciting to be working with industry experts – we’re bracing ourselves for a whirlwind of a year ahead,” he says. “Mark and I are just a couple of primary school pals learning as we go, so the input of professionals in branding, business, communications and much more will be so important. People’s diets can be massively improved by eating mineral-rich raw foods – we want to help people lead healthier lives, and to have this support to help spread our message is invaluable.”
Choccy like no other
What seems to set Adam’s Fresh Chocolate apart, as well as its organic, single origin, unroasted and micronutrient-rich cacao, is the use of yacón as a sweetener. It’s a sunflower-like perennial from Peru which is full of health benefits – and a bit like a Peruvian sweet potato, apparently. “It was one of the many South American superfoods I came across while eating a raw food diet and although it is tricky to work with, it gives the chocolate a unique fudge-like texture,” says Adam.
So, it’s free from refined sugars, dairy, gluten and soy, providing a healthy way to get that chocolate fix – could the angelic creation be final, definitive proof that chocolate can actually be very good for us? “The production and use of cacao is evolving all the time and there’s not a lab in the world that can identify all of the nutrients within it,” he says. “People’s perceptions of chocolate have changed dramatically in recent years, but there’s a long way to go. One of our aims for the future is to get raw chocolate into school lunchboxes, to give kids a healthy boost at break time, without the usual sugar crash afterwards. We know it will take a while to bring it into the mainstream, but The Seed Fund will give us the tools to take our message to a much wider audience than we could have ever hoped for at this early stage in our business.”
Adam’s chocolate factory
Being Bristol’s answer to Willy Wonka sounds like heaven to us – but is the reality as much of a dream job as it sounds? “Making chocolate for a living certainly is as good as it sounds and to be honest, I don’t even think of it as a job,” answers Adam. “It’s been my passion for over a decade and I’m delighted to be able to share it with as many people as possible. Of course, it’s always nice to be compared to Willy Wonka – he’s what every chocolatier aspires to, right? My daughter even got called an Oompa Loompa when helping out at a show recently, but if I recall correctly, I think that was Mark…
“Tasting new batches is definitely a perk of the job, but watching others try it for the first time is even better,” he adds. “I’ve been tinkering away in the kitchen for a long time and am always refining, adapting and inventing new recipes. My love of raw chocolate began at home and I don’t think I’ll ever stop cooking with it. The possibilities are endless – I eat different varieties every day. We mix it into raw super smoothies and grate it onto our salads – my girlfriend even uses the cacao as a skin product, absorbing its powerful nutrients from the outside as well as in. Chocolate has been the cornerstone of my diet for so long, I don’t think I could ever get tired of it. I change my recipes at home a lot, and it’s part of a much wider balanced diet that’s evolved a lot since my strict raw vegan days.”
“Making chocolate for a living certainly is as good as it sounds and to be honest, I don’t even think of it as a job…”
Innovative, forward-thinking and health-conscious: Adam’s Fresh Chocolate sounds like a brand that’ll fit well with a city such as ours. “Bristol is the perfect location to grow our business from, with there being so many likeminded, passionate people in the city,” Adam agrees. “There seems to be a greater awareness of the power of our diets here and so much positive energy, so we couldn’t think of a better place to be. There are so many great things being created in the region – although what I would really love to see is more nutrient-packed super foods made available at accessible price points. We think everyone should be able to benefit from the best that nature has to offer, so we hope to see as many companies as possible working hard to make their products affordable, and a truly realistic alternative for people’s weekly shopping lists.”
We couldn’t agree more – now, where’s that bar of banana and coconut we had stashed away under the desk…?