Q&A with Barocco Choco founder Louise Pyne

8 October 2015 by
First published: 2 April 2015

We grabbed 5 minutes for a Q&A with Barocco Choco founder, WHL contributor and nutritionist Louise Pyne, louisepynenutrition.com, to find out about her new range of vegan chocolate bars – and her secrets to staying healthy.

Q. How did you get into nutrition?
A. Getting into nutrition was a natural journey for me. Working as a health journalist for Women’s Fitness magazine, I became inspired to discover more about the connection between how we eat and how we look and feel, so I took the plunge and trained as a nutritionist. I completed a three-year course at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London, which focused on using foods as medicine to help treat an array of ailments and to safeguard the body against long-term health issues. I studied part-time and on weekends while continuing with my full-time job. It was often a struggle finding the right balance, but definitely worth it!

Q. What do you love most about your job?
A. Variety is the spice of life and the best part about what I do is that every day is completely different. I’m currently working with London-based salad bar Vital Ingredient, a role that involves devising new menus and launching product ranges as well as blogging about healthy eating. I also offer consultations with clients who are looking to improve their general wellbeing, and I still work as a health journalist. Oh, and I have also just launched my own vegan, organic and Fairtrade chocolate brand, Barocco Choco. To sum up, I’m always busy!

Q. What’s the toughest part of your job?
A. Probably managing to get across the message that following a balanced diet is both super-tasty and exciting. So many people have negative pre-conceived ideas about healthy food, but it’s really not all carrot sticks and lettuce leaves – eating well is easy and delicious, too. It’s also difficult convincing people that we need fat in our diet in order to stay healthy and keep the scales moving in the right direction.

Q. What’s your favourite healthy meal?
A. That’s a tough one! I’m a massive fan of coconut so something quick, easy and delicious like a homemade Thai green chicken curry served with brown rice and lots of veggies would be top of my list.

Q. What’s your favourite cheat treat?
A. When I’m in the mood for something sweet, a gooey chocolate brownie is my go-to recipe. Mix together dark chocolate (Barocco Choco of course!), coconut oil, eggs, xylitol and walnuts, and bake in the oven. The result is more virtuous than regular brownies yet just as delish!

Q. What’s your favourite current foodie trend?
A. I’m into green juices as they’re such an easy way of dosing up on liver-cleansing nutritional goodies. Even if you don’t have a juicer, there are so many good buys on the supermarket shelves that are organic and cold-pressed. My favourite brand is Plenish as its juices taste amazing.

Q. What’s your favourite ingredient to cook with?
A. I really like quinoa as it’s simple to make, has a lovely nutty flavour and is an excellent plant-based protein source. I add it to salads and stews and use it in place of heavy carbs such as pasta or potatoes.

I also love coconut oil as it’s super versatile for both baked sweet treats and savoury dishes. It has a high smoke point, which means it can be heated to high temperatures and still remain stable, plus its unique composition makes it a brilliant metabolism-boosting ingredient.

Q. From where do you get your recipe inspo?
A. I love looking at recipe books as well as food blogs such as Deliciously Ella and Hemsley & Hemsley. I have a one-year-old son so I’m constantly on the lookout for exciting, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Q. How do you stay in shape?
A. Combining my full-time job with being a mum doesn’t leave as much time as I’d like for exercise, but I try to fit in a few fitness sessions a week. I like results-driven, short, sharp workouts such as Tabata and spinning, as well as toning workouts like reformer Pilates, yoga or ballet-inspired classes.

Q. So, what’s next for you?
A. At the moment I’m concentrating on my new Sicilian chocolate brand Barocco Choco which I’ve just launched together with my fiancé. It’s a really exciting project and we have high hopes for the future. Our chocolate is certified organic and Fairtrade, and it’s also vegan, gluten-free and soya-free. The range, which comprises six different flavoured bars, has been inspired by an ancient Aztec recipe that was brought to Sicily during the 16th century, and tastes completely different from mainstream chocolate because of a non-standard production process. We’re currently stocked in a few independent boutique chocolate shops and we’re looking to expand both our range and our retailers in the coming months. So there’s a lot of hard work ahead! Check out our website baroccochoco.com for more info.

Louise Pyne is a nutritionist and co-founder of organic vegan and Fairtrade Sicilian chocolate brand Barocco Choco, louisepynenutrition.com