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About Me

Wow, it’s hard to write an About Me. Is it just me or does this feel awkward?

*crickets chirping*

I’ll just jump right in then. Welcome to Chocswirl, my name’s Robyn.

Yep, that’s me.

I live in Cape Town, South Africa where I work as an assistant pastry chef in a patisserie. I spend my free time baking, reading, photographing and spending time with my family and boyfriend, taste-tester, encourager and constructive critic, Gareth.

After years of strange, niggling symptoms I found out, much to my horror at the time, that I was gluten intolerant. Bummer? Well no, not really. It has taught me an enormous amount about food, forced me out of my baking comfort zone and lead me to an amazing community of regular and gluten free bloggers who genuinely want to help others.

The goal of Chocswirl:

While I am passionate about food in general, it is my goal to create a place where regular and gluten-free people can come to find recipes that work and learn the ins and outs of baking in a clear and simple way. Just because something looks impossible to make doesn’t mean that it is.

My journey to a love for food:

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t have the kind of sentimental foodie childhood that some have had the privilege of having. My first word wasn’t butter, I wasn’t sent out to fetch herbs from the garden for my dad as he worked his magic in the kitchen and I didn’t spend my young years perched on a stool beside the kitchen counter watching my mother transform butter, sugar and flour into baked goods with a sparkle in my eye.

Memories of food in my childhood instead go along the lines of my many phases of food dislikes (bananas, fish, egg yolks, then egg whites and don’t forget the pumpkin), my cousin, K, eating snails straight from the garden, midnight feasts with my childhood friend C, my dad nicknaming me the bottomless pit, and giggling until my stomach hurt while watching my younger sister, N, fall asleep at the kitchen counter, straight onto her half-eaten hotdog.

Don’t get me wrong, we love food in our family, we were just never that serious about it. It was a wonderful, often hilarious part of our daily lives that was there when it was there, but over when it was over. I didn’t dwell on it. It just was.

Things changed over the years. I watched my Dad fall in love with food. He began to cook more and more, often taking the reins from my Mom as soon as he got home from a long and stressful day at work, pausing only to change his shirt. Although my mom has always cooked great food, she has never been overly passionate about it and so was only too happy to hand the kitchen over to my dad on occasions such as these.

Food went from being a normal everyday occurrence to being absolutely essential. It was no longer just there for nourishment and a few laughs, but for the coming together of family. I didn’t know it at the time but it silently took root in my heart. I had just finished a BSc at Stellenbosch University when the question of finding a job came up. What was I going to do with the rest of my life? Work behind a desk or in a laboratory all day? The idea made me crazy. I had no passion for it.

I realised then that my only real passion, even if unexplored, was food. I asked God if it was the right thing, and everything just fell into place.

The past 2 years have been an amazing journey. I have studied something I am passionate about, learnt (and still am learning) the ropes from an amazing pastry chef who I can now call a friend as well as my boss, discovered my passion for photography and writing, and loved every second of it.

There have been struggles, like discovering my gluten intolerance, but even the struggles have shaped my life into something better. Going through these struggles and in turn being able to help others is a huge privilege. Whether or not you are gluten intolerant, you want to enjoy food.

I hope you enjoy this space as much as I love having you here.

Xx Robyn xX

P.S Who are you? I’d love to know more about you so leave a comment if you feel like sharing!

23 Comments leave one →
  1. Robyn permalink
    April 28, 2010 12:55 pm

    Hey Robyn – my name is also Robyn! I am really enjoying exploring your blog…

    • chocswirl permalink*
      April 28, 2010 5:22 pm

      Hey Robyn! That’s wierd:) I’m so glad you’re enjoying it! feel free to leave comments or ask anything any time

  2. Kerry permalink
    May 6, 2010 6:30 pm

    Hi Robyn.
    its kerry your lecture from College.
    this is an awsome blog, I def, keep on reading.
    just to say was very proud of your prac exams and wish you all the best.

    • chocswirl permalink*
      May 6, 2010 7:24 pm

      Hey Kerry, glad you got a chance to take a look! Pracs were actually fun, coz u made it comfortable.
      Thanks for your message, glad you like it!

  3. Linden permalink
    June 6, 2010 4:53 pm

    all your food is so amazing!!! well done :)

    • chocswirl permalink*
      June 8, 2010 8:17 am

      :) thanks!!! You should start blogging all the yummy things you make to!

  4. March 2, 2011 5:45 pm

    I just came across your blog, Robyn – WOW! I want to eat (& make) everything here!

    Your photography is phenomenal too – what camera & photo editing software do you use?

    • March 2, 2011 6:10 pm

      Hey Jaclyn, Nice to meet u! I use a sony alpha 330 and I use photoshop elements 9 to edit, I’m still a beginner at both, but loving the learning!

  5. April 7, 2011 5:59 am

    Congrats on getting featured. “Beginner”, huh? Those photos don’t look like a beginner’s photos – I’ll have to join everyone else in saying they’re terrific. My tiny plastic co-writers and I dig your writing style and are looking forward to future posts.

    • April 7, 2011 12:16 pm

      Thanks Jake, it’s great to meet you, I had a good giggle when I visited your blog :)

  6. April 12, 2011 4:07 am

    I enjoy your nice post but wanted to let you know that RSS subscribe buttons is not working .
    Cann u check it please

    • April 12, 2011 2:37 pm

      Hi Oumou, I’m so glad you’re enjoying Chocswirl, I have checked the RSS buttons and they are working now. Thank you for letting me know! :)

  7. April 15, 2011 9:37 pm

    Call it the voyeur in me, but I love reading about pages. Love the revamp!

  8. April 15, 2011 9:49 pm

    Hey Robz

    Glad you’re finally YOU on your blog :)

    Keep up the work! I’m thinking of trying gluten-free… but its a tad pricy…


    • April 16, 2011 8:42 am

      Hey Liz, yeah it is! But you can make it work when you have to. There are many dishes that are naturally gluten free, so it’s a good idea to start with those!

  9. Nikki permalink
    May 11, 2011 1:32 pm

    Hey, sis, ur blog IS awsome. and im lucky i get to see first hand how great ur creations are :)
    love reading about u and ur food, esspecially coz i dont see u everyday any more.. Stellenbosch is so engulfing… but look forward to eating some comfort food with u during my exams

    • May 11, 2011 11:18 pm

      :) jumping up and down with excitement! Missing u lots, it’s too quiet here now. Love you sis!

  10. Heather Scott permalink
    January 31, 2012 2:43 pm

    Hello Robyn…I’ve just stumbled upon your blog because I was looking for a nougat recipe. I am addicted to soft nougat…Sally Williams, Woolworths, etc, etc…and, because I live in the UK, don’t get access to it that often (although Sally Williams used to be available in Sainsburys, but not any more)..Anway, I shall give your recipe a go, however I think I am going to try fig, cashew and pecan nuts? I’ll let you know if it works! Do you have a fail-safe recipe for Cape Seed Bread…another thing I long for stuck here in the UK…regards

    • January 31, 2012 10:01 pm

      Hi Heather! So nice to meet you :) Unfortunately I don’t have a fail safe recipe for cape seed bread, at least not at this point :) I’ve never baked it, but if and when I do I’ll definitely share it! I’m so glad you found the nougat recipe helpful, I’d love to know how it goes, fig, cashew and pecan sounds awesome! If you have any other questions feel free to ask, Regards, Robyn

  11. Heather Scott permalink
    January 31, 2012 11:33 pm

    thanks for that…well, I’ve bought the ingredients….and, thank goodness, I have a KitchenAid mixer, so no need for another pair of hands…..I’ll keep you posted. Btw, the fig, pecan and cashew idea was not mine. A lovely friend brought me some Woolies nougat back from her recent trip to SA and that was one of them…new to me and gorgeous. hx

  12. recipesaresimple permalink
    October 30, 2013 3:19 pm

    I just dropped by, looking for a chocolate panna cotta, I love your blog. I realized at some point that my only true passion was food and creating with food too. I stopped working in an IT setup to pursue my dream and have started blogging, lets see what develops. I

  13. recipesaresimple permalink
    October 30, 2013 3:20 pm

    will try your panna cotta soon.

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