Fine & Raw 76% and 78%

I must confess, I am a bit of a granola head. So, raw chocolate speaks to the old hippie in me who loves natural, unadulterated foods.

My first venture into the raw chocolate world was experimenting with cocoa nib brownie recipes (pulverizing the cocoa nibs makes a big difference).  Later, on a trip to Sedona, Arizona I tasted some raw cocoa products.  I liked them,  but they were more like energy bars than confections.

Taza  chocolate was a bit of an excursion into the raw world, as were Askinosie’s wares from Zingerman’s (see reviews on this site). Neither company makes a chocolate truffle, but I found one at Fine & Raw.  Daniel Sklaar, the mastermind behind these, uses rainforest cocoa powder, virgin coconut oil, raw blue agave nectar, cacao butter, Himalayan sea salt, antioxidants and living enzymes.  Obviously, they are vegan.  The texture is silky smooth, with a thin dark chocolate shell.  The flavor layered with tobacco, earth, coconut, and a hint of salt.  If this floats your boat, they are about $4.00 per truffle, I would suggest you try some.  I enjoyed them, but you have to be open to something different, or love raw chocolate.

Daniel also makes a selection of dark chocolate bars.  I sampled three, all of them well-tempered: The 78% Ecuador, an almost black chocolate had that unmistakable raw taste and atypical, intriguing mouth feel: neither grainy, nor silky.  An acquired taste that either captivates you, or doesn’t.  It has a sister rendition with nibs that was even more intense.  My favorite of these was the 76% Ecuadorian bar infused with dried raspberry.

All I can say is that if you haven’t tried raw chocolate I would recommend starting with the truffles.  All of Fine & Raw’s products are very high quality.  If you’re vegan and want something sweetened with agave this is heaven-sent. For the rest of us it’s a wonderful interlude between more conventional products.

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