Our Trip to Belize: Harvesting with Maya Mountain Cacao

By Orissa Agnihotri & Brielle Milano

 

Fostering close relationships with our cacao farmers is a key value at Raaka.  Earlier this May, Raaka’s Director of Sales, Brielle Milano and I had the opportunity to travel to Belize to visit one of the wonderful cacao cooperatives that Raaka sources from - Maya Mountain Cacao.  We spent a week working alongside the MMC team buying wet cacao, giving out samples of Raaka to local cacao farmers, and learning about cacao farming, processing and exporting.

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Cacao Origin: Madagascar

The citrus-marmalade flavor of Madagascar’s cacao beans can be a surprising taste to the uninitiated. These beans have a complex acidity, resulting in a bright tang that lingers long on the tongue. Like wine, cacao has terroir: the embodiment of its origin delivered through flavor. To preserve terroir, we don’t roast our cacao, crafting virgin chocolate with simple grinding, milling, tempering and pouring. Madagascar’s distinct, robust cacao is perfect for introducing this concept.  

 

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Dark with Sea Salt's New Digs

Raaka was founded on two simple pillars: make great chocolate that actually tastes like cacao beans, and source all our ingredients ethically and sustainably. 

In craft chocolate, every ingredient counts. Great beans are the foundation of great chocolate, but the tiny flourishes matter too, like the salt we use for our 71% Sea Salt bar.

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Our new factory in Red Hook is open!

The day has finally come; our new factory, at 64 Seabring St, Red Hook is open for business! While we’re still settling into the 3600 square foot space, in the past few weeks we’ve been able to launch two new bars and throw an incredible opening party with the help of neighborhood friends. 

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Chocolate Disparity

A staggering clip from a documentary produced by VPRO Metropolis TV has been circling the Internet this week. The clip shows a cacao farmer from the Ivory Coast tasting chocolate for the first time after many years of farming, highlighting the massive disparity between chocolate consumers and cacao farmers. “Cacao is a multibillion dollar industry, that divides the world between beggars and gluttons”, the narrator explains. He’s sadly on the mark in regards to the majority of mass-produced chocolate; the industry has historically been implicated in human rights violations, including unfair wages and the employment of child labor.  The doc specifically focused on cacao farmers along the Ivory Coast, from where many of the larger chocolate makers source their beans.

 

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