Having been converted into a chocolate lover late in life, I was excited to explore new and exotic chocolate flavors. I can say I have eaten the fruit of a freshly picked cacao pod, chewed a raw bean, and grated freshly roasted coco beans into milk to make hot chocolate- so I like to really explore foods right down to their raw form.
Raw foodstuffs are starting to gain more traction as we are trying to get further from preservatives and limit our processed food intake. No one understands this better than Fine and Raw. Handmade in Brooklyn, these chocolates are crafted from raw ingredients using low heat techniques to keep the chocolate’s raw vitality and flavor.
All of the ingredients are organic, and are sourced from a small fairtrade cacao farmers co-op that practices sustainable farming. All packaging is recycled and printed with non-toxic and vegetable based inks. Raw Blue Agave is used to sweeten the bars instead of sugar due to its unique sweet notes and tones, plus it is low glycemic and sweeter than sugar.
They were nice enough to send me a sample pack which included a Lucuma & Vanilla bar, a 78% bar and a 2 pack of bon bons. The first thing I noticed was the packaging. Rough and earthy, the brown craft paper packaging and fact sheet with whimsical two color line art let me know what was in store for me- handcrafted and basic, but also unique and perfected, it all came into focus.
The 78% had only two ingredients, raw cacao and raw blue agave nectar. The flavor is not for the weak, or the milk-chocolate lovers. The difference could be summed up by comparing grape juice to a fine wine, one is consumed, the other is enjoyed for its subtle flavors, textures and aroma. The Lucuma & Vanilla bar was a bit more mellow and the subtle sweetness and flavor was appreciated. My favorite were the bon bons, if not only for the coconut oil. The softer texture melted on contact with my fingers and reminded me of the cacao coconut butter I use in place of nutella, but in a bite size form.
Since it is raw chocolate and it has a high cacao content, it can have a bit of a chalky texture and has a slight bitter taste, but don’t be afraid, the experience is quite amazing- plus you are getting more of those wonderful antioxidants and bliss compounds because it is raw.