An intense, earthy unroasted chocolate with some complex floral notes and the distinctive bourbon flavour. But this chocolate does not actually contain alcohol. Instead, the flavour is developed by ageing the cocoa nibs in used bourbon casks, prior to them being made into chocolate.
This is the kind of chocolate you’ll either love or hate. But we love it!
ABOUT THE MAKER
Raaka is a Brooklyn-based craft chocolate maker that focuses on social responsibility as much as great taste. Founder Ryan Cheney discovered chocolate while on holiday in Thailand, and quickly grew excited about the possible flavours of unroasted cocoa beans. Raaka is now dedicated to making “uncommonly delicious chocolate” crafted from unroasted cacao beans, capturing the brighter, bolder, and fruitier notes of cacao. Raaka is also committed to transparent trade, publishing farmgate prices for all the cocoa that goes into each bar.
Ryan and co-founder Nate started experimenting with chocolate in Nate’s poorly ventilated apartment – the same place he was experimenting with long vinegar reduction for making sauces. A big bag of cocoa beans absorbed the odour of the vinegar, which ruined the beans but got the friends thinking: what other odours could they use? With Nate’s experience of barrel-ageing in the beer industry, his mind immediately went to bourbon – and the Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged bar was born.
The beans for this bar were sourced from Kokoa Kamili in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania. Kokoa Kamili has been paying premium prices for wet cocoa since 2015, saving farmers the tasks of fermentation and drying and adding enormous value to their cocoa beans. In the height of harvest season, Kokoa Kamili employs 50 people from their village, and has set up a scholarship fund for local girls to go to the nearby secondary school.