Raw chocolate. It's turning up in more and more places. Whole dark chocolate with as much as 72% to even 100% cocoa! And it's raw, too. But what exactly is "raw chocolate"? Why is it suddenly so popular? Is it healthier than ordinary chocolate? And can such dark chocolate still taste good?
There is no definition of what raw chocolate is, but if we agree with what the raw food movement says, it means that the chocolate must be heated to a maximum of 45°C during preparation.
Making chocolate, as we know it, requires extensive processing.
1. First, the cocoa beans must be removed from the thick skin of the cocoa fruit.
2. Afterwards, they undergo a fermentation process and are dried so that acids, bitterness and tannins disappear and the beans can no longer germinate.
3. With classic chocolate, the beans are then sterilised and roasted.
4. Only then are the cocoa beans ground into cocoa powder, which chocolatiers use to make your favourite chocolate bar.
For it to be truly raw chocolate, all of the steps in the processing process must remain below 45°C. This starts with the fermentation process, which is handled by the cocoa farmers. At Rrraw in France, they are very consciously addressing this by working directly with the farmers and paying them more. It ensures that cocoa farmers pay more attention to the harvesting and fermentation process of their cocoa beans. The result is truly raw, high quality cocoa beans, and you can taste that in the final product!
When crushing the cocoa beans into cocoa powder, it takes careful attention to make sure the temperature doesn't rise above 45°C due to the friction of the equipment. Frédéric Marr, France's prince of raw chocolate, made his own equipment and materials to finally be able to make his own raw chocolate bars.
He produces the chocolate from "bean to bar", which means that the raw cocoa beans are transformed in one go into a delicious raw chocolate bar. The sterilisation and roasting steps are skipped during the raw process because the temperatures for those processes is far too high. And it's actually because the cocoa beans aren't roasted that you get a completely different, unsophisticated taste than you find with ordinary chocolate.
The advantage of raw chocolate is that it is still full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids and theobromine; all substances that make for a happy body. And raw chocolate contains 3 times more antioxidants than classic chocolate! This is because with ordinary chocolate many good nutrients are lost by roasting the cocoa beans.
But raw chocolate is also a healthier alternative to regular chocolate, because it is often made without or with less sugar. Rrraw always chooses unrefined cane sugar, coconut blossom sugar, which has a lower glycemic index, or honey.
It is also true that when you eat raw chocolate you will feel more satisfied quicker. The flavour experience is completely different than with classic chocolate. You will eat less of it, which also makes it healthier.
Raw chocolate can really be seen as a delicacy. When you taste a piece of raw chocolate, a world of flavours opens up. Some people may need to get used to the dark taste of raw chocolate at first, because of course you're used to industrial chocolate. This taste is often stronger because the cocoa beans have been roasted.
Rrraw raw chocolate from France is the "grand cru" of raw chocolate. When people taste Rrraw, their first reaction is often that they have never tasted "real" chocolate until now. And that is exactly what Frédéric Marr, the creator of Rrraw, wanted to achieve. Let a small piece of Rrraw melt on your tongue and you can expect a flavour explosion of chocolate and cocoa. A must for every chocolate lover!
Frédéric Marr, known as the prince of raw chocolate, had worked in the food industry for 10 years when he came into contact with the shamans of the Shipibo tribe in the Amazon rainforest on one of his trips. They introduced him to the culture and processing of raw cocoa.
When he was later introduced to the "bean to bar" concept in the United States, he was dying to make his own raw chocolate bars.
Rrraw is artisanal chocolate, hand crafted and lovingly produced in France, with respect for the dark cocoa bean, but also for the people who make it. Rrraw carries the Max Havelaar certification.
Did you know that Rrraw has a chocolate workshop in Paris where you can see the whole process from "bean to bar" with your own eyes?
Have you already tasted raw chocolate? What do you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.