Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Raw Shakti Chocolate

In response to an review I wrote a few months ago, a raw chocolate company asked if I would try their chocolate. I never turn down a chance to try a raw chocolate bar!  I had never heard of Raw Shakti Chocolate before and was particularly intrigued by their flavors, all of which are vegan. Some were made with black lava salt while others were made with medicinal herbs.  They all sounded so different. I asked them to send me their Mayan Afrodesia and Himalayan High bars.

While perusing their website, I noticed that they are based in Asheville, North Carolina -- an unusual place for a chocolate manufacturer to be located. The company was started by Don Rowe who first became interested in raw chocolate when he was living in Spain. After moving back to the U.S. seven years later, he began crafting his own raw chocolate made from the finest, minimally-processed ingredients. In 2008, he began selling his chocolate locally and in 2011, he changed the name of his company to Raw Shakti Chocolate and began focusing on small-scale, handcrafted raw chocolate.

The name "Shakti" is derived from the Sanskrit word "Shak" meaning sacred force or empowerment. Shakti reflects their commitment of being empowered and empowering others to use their creative energy to live in harmony with others and the environment. The character they use in their logo “” means raw or unprocessed in Japanese and to give birth or to grow in Chinese. That character symbolizes their passion for creating raw chocolate bars that support the vitality of their customers, their community and the environment.

Well, by the time the chocolate arrived, after reading all of this, I was hoping I'd like it as it sounded like a great company.  I first tried the Himalyan High, which is made with ashwagandha root and ginger. The bar was slightly bitter, but not in a bad way, when I first bit into it, but it finished with a smooth creaminess that I just couldn't pinpoint. I took a look at the brochure they sent and apparently, the creaminess comes from coconut. There are also whole raw goji berries in the chocolate, which are delicious. Love this bar!

Secondly, I tried the Mayan Afrodesia made with raw maca root and fo-ti root. Again this bar had a slight bitterness to it, followed by creaminess, but this bar also had some spiciness to it! It is cinnamon and cayenne that gives it its spiciness.  I thought this one needed a better balance of spices. I liked the chocolate itself, but felt the proportions of spices were a bit off.

Each of these chocolate bars uses raw cacao beans, coconut palm sugar, and raw coconut. Coconut contains lauric acid, which helps stabilize metabolism making it one of the healthiest sources of saturated fats.

I found out a little more about their process as well because I was interested in it. They use Arriba Nacional cacao beans from Pacari Farms in Ecuador. They are fermented and dried at low temperatures, which preserves their rich flavor and nutritional properties. Pacari Farms provides educational and technical assistance to their farmers and pays them a living wage for their product.

Raw Shakti Chocolate seems like a great company that makes delicious raw chocolate. To try them yourself, go to Raw Shakti online. Now, I'd like to try their other bars as well -- Single Origin Ecuador, Loco for Coco, Citrus Sensation, and Energy Elixir. I only hope to see their product distribution expand as well. This seems like a great product for Whole Foods to carry. Hint, hint.

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