Anyone who knows me knows that i'm obsessed with chocolate - usually the raw, vegan, unrefined sugar kind.... It's a whole world of - how does this taste so good and why was I eating that other crap for so long ? One of my favourites (and one I miss very much now that I live in LA, is Emica's handcrafted chocolates LOCO LOVE. So when I was speaking with Emica about some of the best chocolate makers in New York she straight away pointed me in the direction of Fine & Raw...and better still - i've now found them available at The Springs in DTLA as well ! Thanks for letting us into your Brooklyn factory Fine & Raw team! Yummo.
Tell us about your journey in starting Fine & Raw ?
Daniel started the company in his notorious Brooklyn loft, making small, special batches of chocolate and biking them to area stores. The chocolate caught on quickly and the company grew .. five years later, we opened up our first chocolate factory in Bushwick and now here we are!
Like us, you say you're learning to be more green each day. What are some of the new things you've learnt or switched to in the last 12 months?
We now donate our "chaff," or excess cacao husks, to area farms to be used for compost. We make every effort to manufacture as many ingredients as we can on our own, and now produce all the nut butters we use for our almond chunky, hazelnut chocolate and coconut chunks in-house. We switched out all of our factory light bulbs so that they are green LED lights this year, and we recycle!
How has that extended to your business ?
Well, it's a mentality that develops over time, but in a big way this extends into our business in the way we source only the cleanest, best ingredients from sustainable business, farms, etc. that we trust. It also extends into the way we approach work - we create a sustainable working environment, providing reasonable work schedules, lots of chocolate, great tunes and fair pay.
Tell us about the packaging of your chocolates ? How is it packaged ? And who / how do you come up with the beautiful artwork ?
There are a few aspects that guide our design work. We always look at the design as a full expression of what's inside the wrappers. With that in mind, we work with local artists and strive to create visually appetizing and relevant art work.
The first collection we did (Signature Collection) used a minimal aesthetic on kraft paper. The kraft paper was about the idea of being an artisan manufacturer and the minimal designs spoke to presenting chocolate in its pure form. Our next line of chocolates was the Cowgirl Collection, which was all about living in Brooklyn, independence and being bold and sassy.
What is your favourite flavour that you make ?
You tell us!
Where do you source your ingredients and how do you ensure they are fair trade & organic ?
We spend a lot of time making sure that our ingredients are of the best quality we can find. We source from all sorts of amazing places and really value the relationships we've garnered with our suppliers for these delicious ingredients that make our choco taste so great.
What's next for Fine & Raw?
Two words: Chocolate spaceship.