Natasha's Living Food

Natasha's Living FoodA lot of things about Natasha Czopor’s ‘Natasha's Living Food’ are out of the ordinary, beginning with Natasha herself, who is representative of Ireland’s energetic and enterprising young cosmopolitan population - and she makes her products by hand in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7, which is near the Phoenix Park and not generally known as a manufacturing area of the city.

Specialising in health-conscious vegetarian speciality foods, her passion for ‘raw and living food’ is leading to the production of some very unusual cakes, confectionery, savouries and salads. ‘Free from’ goes far beyond the usual here.

Natasha’s products are free from animal products, and chemically processed or pasteurised ingredients - she never uses flour, dairy, wheat, eggs, meat or fish, which gives her products appeal to people with a range of allergies, although she does use nuts.

Ingredients (Fair-trade and organic for preference), arrive in their natural state, she loves using ‘superfoods’ – and she doesn’t heat ingredients beyond 118’F in order to protect the enzymes, vitamins and nutrients.

Homemade crackers may be flavoured with carrot and thyme, or more exotic flavours of Thai or Indian spices. Houmous dips are made with raw sprouted houmous, flavoured with cumin and coriander or parsley and black olive. Cakes include a cashew cream ‘cheese’ cake and raw chocolate & fruit torte, while the confectionery range includes raw chocolate bars.

At a time when the word ‘snack’ is almost synonymous with ‘junk food’, nibbles like her sprouted flax ginger snaps or living sunflower/Goji Sprinkles make a refreshing change - and one that really stands out from the crowd is Kale Crunchies, a healthy crisp alternative made from dried locally grown kale that recently earned Natasha’s Living Food the 2011 Innovation Award at the biennial Bord Bia Food and Drink Industry Awards.

‘Covered in sunflower seed paté, then dried at 40 degrees thus preserving the flavour, minerals and vitamins’ it really is a healthy snack. What a brilliant move to take an ordinary, everyday vegetable that is easily grown and inexpensive (even though this dark green leafy vegetable is a ‘superfood’) and use it to create an appealing alternative to the usually salt- and calorie-loaded crisp.

Natasha’s Living Foods are available through farmers’ markets, SuperValu, also selected speciality stores and restaurants.

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