Raaka Chocolate (USA)
The word "raaka "is Finnish and it means "raw". Despite the name, the company doesn't have any Finnish origins or connections, but the cadence of the word and its meaning capture the essence of chocolate and the process of its making. When Raaka's people make chocolate they're after something that feels the way Raaka sounds: strong, wild, playful, and most of all, different. The team is a bunch of unserious people who take our chocolate seriously. The brand was built around one simple idea: to make delicious, creative chocolate that showcases the wilder side of cacao and do so in a way that is as environmentally and socially responsible as possible. Raaka Chocolate is from Brooklyn - the cradle of the craft-everything movement - and it makes the trendiest raw chocolate in the world.
Raaka has been making chocolate bars in Brooklyn since 2010. And even though they’ve amassed a bit of a cult following, there’s been an explosion of interest in the brand over the last couple of years. In August 2018, Raaka’s head chocolate maker, Nathan Hodge, published a book on The Art and Craft of Chocolate. That same year, Raaka underwent a serious and colourful rebranding, with new, decidedly millennial packaging that garnered even more attention. Now, each bar has a different coloured background, inspired by the landscape of each origin, with an overlaid, simple white box featuring bold, black text.
The newly sleek packaging isn’t thing only thing to set Raaka apart and make it our other front-runner, though. Raaka stands out through its use of unroasted cocoa beans. In other words, the chocolate is raw, so it tastes a little more fruity than chocolate made from traditionally roasted cacao beans, which is the vast majority of what the industry makes. Plus, Raaka emphasizes “‘single-origin’ chocolate, meaning the ‘terroir’ of the chocolate” is distinctive. The combination of these two perspectives results in unusual flavour profiles and a mindful, sustainable approach to chocolate making.
They’re doing something really different from the rest of the bean-to-bar chocolate world because they’re using unroasted beans and then focusing on inclusions. And those flavours are why the chocolate is still approachable.