Published on 9 November 2020
Jala Jala – “very good” in the Wajarri language of its owner, Sharon Brindley – is all about the use of native Australian plants in bars of white chocolate. The current line-up includes a lemon myrtle and a Davidson plum, with more flavours on the way.
Rosebud, on the Mornington Peninsula, 75km south of the Melbourne CBD.
Sharon Brindley is a Yamatji/Noongar woman born on Wathaurong Country who, with her daughter Shayla, runs the Cooee Café at Capel Sound, the only Indigenous-owned café on the Mornington Peninsula. She has a passion for teaching about First Nations cuisine and for cooking with Indigenous ingredients and incorporating them into her cuisine at home and at the café and its catering gigs. Jala Jala is the latest extension of that passion. “I love people enjoying all the beautiful foods from our country,” she says. “I want to inspire others to make Indigenous foods part of their everyday life.”
Why it’s different
For Brindley it’s all about finding the balance between the chocolate and the flavour of the ingredient she wants to showcase, putting the plum or the myrtle front-and-centre without losing the chocolate entirely. (Insider tip: Brindley’s pick of the range is the Davidson plum.)
There are also lot of food products on the market using native ingredients but relatively few of them come from Indigenous-run businesses. Jala Jala, Brindley says, is the only chocolate brand in Australia that’s 100 per cent Aboriginal owned. “From the raw ingredients to the packaging, it’s real,” she says. “We have my totem, the turtle, representing my mob to showcase who we are, and my language as part of the brand name.”
Sourcing native ingredients from businesses that are also 100 per cent Indigenous-owned is a challenge, Brindley says, when there are so few businesses that meet that description, but it’s a challenge that Jala Jala is committed to meeting in time. “It would be amazing to see more to support their mobs and their communities but also to get the recognition they deserve for their hard work in farming and supply.”
Who’s a fan?
Hugh Allen, chef at Vue de Monde, is a passionate supporter of Jala Jala, and stocks the chocolates through the Vue online store, Vue to You. “I’d love everyone in Melbourne to get behind Sharon on her new small business Jala Jala,” says Allen. “She’s producing great products and never compromises on the flavour and quality of her treats.”
By Pat Nourse
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