Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Raaka - Chocolate Bars

It isn't very often that I feel like I actually want to order chocolate bars that I can't find locally. With Raaka, this is definitely the case. Raaka is a new Brooklyn-based company making super high-quality, unroasted chocolate. Their unique low temperature process preserves each region's natural, wild flavors, bringing you closer to the bean...or so they say.

Ryan Cheney was introduced to chocolate-making at a yoga school in Thailand. Inspired by companies with social missions, he founded Raaka to explore low-temperature chocolate making and create a more equitable global society in which communities have the opportunity to improve their quality of life. After spending a year learning bean-to-bar chocolate making, Ryan teamed up with Nate Hodge, a musician and gastronomist with a lust for exotic flavors and groundbreaking processes. For several months, Nate and Ryan enjoyed the sound of micro-batch chocolate grinders churning around the clock as they developed a new approach to chocolate making.

They sent me two bars and other tiny samples to try. My favorite of the two was the Vanilla Rooibos. Rooibos is a nettle tea from South Africa and brings warm notes to this bar. But what really arouses your tastebuds is the vanilla. Upon first bite, you get a melt-in-your-mouth vanilla flavor enveloped in pure, natural cacao. It's one of the best bars I've ever tasted.

The Maple & Nibs is also great. Maple sugar adds sweetness and cacao nibs coat the back of the bar for crunchiness and flavor.

Other tiny disc-sized samples were of their 75% Madagascar, Coconut Milk, Lapsang Chai, Dark with Sea Salt, Bourbon Cask Aged, and Yacon. All were excellent. I especially liked the milky Coconut Milk flavor, the Sea Salt, and the Bourbon Cask Aged.

Farmers at OKO Caribe and CIAAB co-ops are paid a 20% premium for the beans used in Raaka's bars. That's social responsibility at its best. All of their bars are certified Organic, soy-, nut-, and gluten-free as well as vegan. You will find them on Amazon here for $7.95 each. Well worth it in my opinion. They even make vegan truffles too!

Full Disclosure: Although the products were provided to me for free to review, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.

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