The dirty man on the left is Ryan Cheney. He learned how to make chocolate while attending yoga school in Thailand. Not a bad way to get introduced to chocolate making I must say. He was inspired by companies that had social missions and so in turn decided to start Raaka to explore low-temperature chocolate making as well as creating a more equitable global society where communities are given the opportunity to improve their lives.
A year later he teamed up with the dirty man on the right, Nate Hodge, a musician and gastronomist with a love of exotic flavors and groundbreaking processes. Together they experimented with different micro-batches as they developed a new approach to chocolate making.
Their mission is "to make the most delicious chocolate possible while building and maintaining healthy and valuable relationships with our global community, our planet and each other." Raaka is currently working to build a new model for trade agreements that maximizes global trade's potential for community development. They trade their cocoa beans directly with La Red Guaconejo (a co-op of 160 family farms in Northern Dominican Republic), Hacienda Elvecia (an organic farm in Eastern Dominican Republic), and CIAAB (a co-op in Bolivia, featured in their award-winning Bourbon cask-aged bar). The cocoa farmers they purchase cocoa beans from receive at minimum $500 above market price per metric ton of cacao beans. At today’s cocoa prices, this is equivalent to a 20% raise. That's amazing.
Not only that, all their bars are wrapped in eco-friendly recyclable paper (and a fantastic design I must say) by Elissa Barbieri at Loop. It's printed with soy inks on FSC-certified, 100% post consumer recycled, chlorine-free paper that was processed with sustainable wind-generated energy. Plus, all their cocoa husk is donated to Edible Schoolyard NYC, an after-school gardening program at P.S. 216 in Brooklyn. They use our husk as mulch and fertilizer. Can these guys get any better??? I don't think so.
Why don't we talk about the delicious chocolate now, huh??
COCONUT MILK (*60% cacao)
Some people love the flavor of milk chocolate but get bummed cuz they can't eat dairy. Well, Raaka wanted to develop an enticing alternative to satisfy your desire. Coconut milk creates a great alternative to whole milk, while providing an undeniably creamy mouthfeel reminiscent of traditional milk chocolate.
DARK CHOCOLATE W/ SEA SALT (*71% cacao)
If you crave the richness of dark chocolate than this bad boy is for you. Unroasted, stoneground cocoa beans mixed with sparkling notes of citrus and warm hints of berry topped off with Himalayan Pink Sea Salt. Now doesn't that just tempt your palette!!!
VANILLA ROOIBOS (*67% cacao)
Let's paint a picture here. Premium unfermented rooibos tea featuring warm, fruity tones that's been mixed with hints of toasted marshmallow. Are you thinking what I'm thinking??? Ummmmm quite possibly the best SMORES chocolate ever.
BOURBON CASK AGED (*82% cacao)
Now if you want to go allllllllll the way, then this might be the bar for you. This is the first chocolate bar to incorporate cask-aged cocoa beans. The chocolate is matured in Berkshire Mountain Distilling bourbon barrels which enhances the flavor with strong caramel, vanilla and oaky deliciousness. Mmmmmmm yes please.
Come pick a bar (or two if you're having a hard time figuring out which ones you'd want more), now at the cafe counter!!