Hello, I’m Nellie. I’m a lawyer and until recently worked in a busy legal practice in the City of London. My door to the chocolate world opened for me pretty much by chance. I had a knee operation last year and afterwards recuperated at my mother’s place in Moscow. Once, bored, I started to explore in the attic and came across a dusty old box containing what people would call a ‘family archive’. It included a faded roll with recipes from my great grandfather’s confectionery business.
More than a century ago my great grandfather lived in the city of Nizhny Novgorod on the river Volga – at that time the third largest city in Russia, the place of major trade shows. He owned a company that manufactured and sold sweets and chocolates. According to family legend, my great grandfather had the honorary rank of ‘official supplier to the Emperor’s Court’. I don’t know for certain whether this is true, but he clearly had ambitions in this direction: among the papers I discovered was a recipe for a chocolate called ‘Tsarsky’ (‘Royal’).
The confectionery business was totally destroyed during the 1917 Revolution, and the family narrowly escaped death by fleeing to Siberia. This is where the family settled for two generations and where I was born. Some sweet recipes must have been saved and handed down by word of mouth as I remember my grandmother and mother making chocolate at home for family occasions. But great grandfather’s papers were much more detailed as to ingredients, quantities and instructions.
I could not resist the temptation to try these recipes right away. The result was astonishing: I couldn’t ever have imagined chocolate being so delicious, with such a fresh, airy taste. This is how I fell under the spell of the world of chocolate!
There was only one problem. As was traditional, my great grandfather’s chocolate was packed with fresh milk, sour cream and grated egg yolks.
I am vegan. My first task was to create a purely plant-based product. No dairy, no GMP, gluten-free, low on sugar. Totally healthy. So, once recovered, I set about the task of making vegan chocolate by hand and began creating recipes in my little kitchen at home in London.