Who doesn’t love chocolate? Whether it’s paired with wine, fruit, coffee, or simply enjoyed on its own, there’s a certain satisfaction it provides unequaled by any other food. It was likely this quality that prompted a 16th century scientist to give in the title Theobroma cacao: Food of the gods. The ancient Mayans and Aztecs viewed it as a gift from the gods, intuitively understanding the health-giving properties of the raw cacao bean. Two of our producers this year also understand the power of raw, and have beautifully crafted chocolate treats that are healthy and tasty to boot!
The name says it all – Honest Chocolate is 100% pure, unadulterated chocolate. Capetonian Anthony began his chocolate journey in 2008 when he started eating raw cacao to reap the health benefits of this wonderful anti-oxidising food. These properties that are ruined through the common method of roasting the cacao bean before using it. Anthony started making bon-bon’s as a hobby, and soon his friend Michael joined in. The two slowly perfected the traditional craft of ‘table-top tempering’ using a granite slab.
Tempering is a method of massaging a blend of raw cacao and agave nectar with a palette using long sweeping movements until the mixture thickens. This motion lowers the carefully measured temperature of the chocolate from 42 degrees (well below the accepted ‘raw’ temperature of 46 degrees) to a workable 32 degrees. When the viscosity is just right, Anthony can tell that the correct type of crystals have been formed, giving Honest Chocolate just the right gloss and snap.
In the Honest chocolate lab, every day is different. With such sensitive ingredients, the slightest climatic changes affect the product and the guys need to make tiny adjustments to recipes to find the right balance. Both a science and an art, Honest Chocolate is crafted to perfection.
Fine & Raw
Fine & Raw has its birthplace in New York and its roots in Johannesburg. Jozi born and raised Daniel Sklaar started the raw chocolate business in New York five years ago, after becoming a raw foodist. His sister Lara has now taken on the South African arm of the business which is thriving at various markets and in stores across the city.
Fine & Raw is about more than chocolate. Daniel and Lara believe chocolate adds fun to life, but they are also confident that they are promoting a product which protects the rainforests of South America. Cacao is a shade grown plant requiring a forest canopy to thrive, so the farmers maintain the rainforests that helps their product to grow. This is how Fine & Raw are succeeding in their mission to “save the world through silliness and chocolate!”
Not only are they known for their creamy chocolate delights. Lara also runs chocolate parties in Johannesburg, adding the element of silliness to their repertoire. And if you happen to be passing through New York, a trip to Daniel’s new Fine & Raw café in Brooklyn is a must.