Rawclates’s Raw Chocolates Come to Weaver Street Market - by Emily Buehler, Contributing Writer
Hadara Slok never thought she’d be a chocolatier. In 2010, she went on a raw foods diet after surgery, after the doctor told her not to exercise. She lost weight and noticed increased energy and mental clarity, but she wanted sweets. A friend told her about raw chocolate. She started experimenting with it, and friends encouraged her to go commercial. Hadara worked to make her chocolates shelf stable. She also worked out a method of tempering the chocolate that preserved its raw nature by not going above 114 degrees. She learned by experimenting, and in December 2010, Rawclates was born.
We visited Hadara and her daughter Esar on a Thursday, their weekly production day. In their bright kitchen in West Hillsborough, pots of boiling water steamed while melted chocolate cooled in bowls on the counter. Numerous thermometers monitored temperatures. Hadara showed us her ingredients: bowls of dried wild blueberries and lavender, a jug of organic, raw agave syrup (a low glycemic index sweetener made from agave plants), and of course chocolate. Then she began pouring chocolate into the rectangles of a mold. “It’s slow and labor intense,” she said, “but we put a lot of love and nice energy into it.”
All Rawclates ingredients are from Earth Circle Organics (www.earthcircleorganics.com ) and are certified raw and organic. Their cacao comes from Bali and Peru. The company works to create “sustainable supply chains” that they see as a paradigm shift with more long-term results than the incentives of Fair Trade certification. (Read their explanation here .)
Raw chocolate is different than the usual chocolate, made with roasted cacao beans, because it retains nutrients that are lost during processing. The natural flavor of cacao is also different—some say better—than that of roasted cacao, and its mild nature brings out the flavors Hadara adds. Weaver Street Market carries four bars: Chai with Turmeric Caramel (Rawclates’s signature flavor, which has swirls of misty green in it), Hemp Pistachio, Cranberry Ginger Orange, and their newest, the Amazonian Bar, filled with South American superfoods like goji berries, acai, hemp, lucuma, mesquite, and maca.
Once she finished pouring, Hadara scattered in berries. “I don’t count,” she told us. “Whatever falls out of our hands is meant to be in that bar.” In addition to the slow process of making each bar by hand, Hadara and Esar package each bar in plastic wrap and glue on a paper label. Their production volume depends on the season, but is roughly 200 pieces a week. While they’re excited about the growth they’ve had in their first year, Hadara intends to stay local, which makes us glad she lives here.View a video about Rawclates on Youtube.