Fine and Raw Chocolate Bean to Bar
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Brooklyn’s New Chocolate Makers

Issue 04

Written By: Emily Cohen

The craft chocolate movement in New York has found its new center in Brooklyn.  Factories and shops are springing up in neighbourhoods such as Williamsburg and Red Hook.  Products “Made in Brooklyn” are being featured on the tables of Cobble Hill’s Sugar Shop to Manhattan’s Foragers City Grocer, not to mention mixed into the shelves of high end grocers like Dean & Deluca and Whole Foods.

Worth A Visit in Brooklyn:

01 Mast Brothers is said to be the first shop, concentrating their “craft chocolate” approach via natural ingredients.  The ingredients they use are personally processed from carefully sourced cacao beans into the final bar.  Explore their seasonal, single estate and single origin chocolates, and creative combinations and partnerships (think Crown Maple Syrup, Chili Peppers and Stumptown Coffee).  The brothers may seem homespun hipsters, but their chocolate has brought them documentary coverage in the major outlets like the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, and scored them a judging post on Iron Chef. You can visit their factory in Williamsburg and taste their dark, rich bars for yourself.  Mastbrothers.com, 111 N 3rd St (Williamsburg)

02 Fine & Raw chocolatier, Daniel makes it his mission “to save the world through silliness and chocolate!” This shop produces raw chocolate bars that are absent of sugar, dairy and additives.  Fine & Raw is committed to sourcing fair trade ingredients and applying low heat techniques, to stay true to their raw name.  Started by a former financial analyst who left to study raw cooking in the Arizona desert, this may be some of the healthiest chocolate out there.  Flavors like cacao & coconut and mesquite will tempt your tongue – try them at their factory café. fineandraw.com, 288 Siegel St (Williamsburg)

03 Cacao Prieto holds the lofty goal of being “a crucial meeting place of traditions, dreams and technology devoted to the delicious art and science of cacao.”  Started by a former aerospace engineer, the company also produces liqueurs and rums from the cacao beans and sugarcane grown on the family farm in the Dominican Republic. Try the unique flavor combinations in their bars – Pistachio & Apricot, Pecan & Sour Cherry – or tempt yourself with their bonbons, if you can bring yourself to eat the beautiful drops of chocolate art. cacaoprieto.com, 21 Conover St (Red Hook)

Fine and Raw Chocolate Bean to Bar
Photo Source: FINE & RAW Chocolate

INTERVIEW: Daniel Sklaar, Owner of FINE & RAW in Brooklyn, New York (2008)

01  What is FINE & RAW about?
Fine flavors and raw techniques and ingredients.

02 Where do you source your beans for FINE & RAW chocolates?
Ghana, Ivory Coast

03 Why was becoming a bean to bar producer important to you?
Searching for better flavors and creating a more authentic chocolate were the driving forces.

04 What is FINE & RAW known for?
Our coconut chunky and our sea salt 70% bar

05 When did your interest in chocolate start? 
I’ve been obsessed with chocolate my entire life. I was a chef and started using chocolate in recipes and fell in love with the ingredient.

06 Do you think bean to bar is another fancy marketing term or something customers should pay attention to?
People should pay attention to it. Bean to bar chocolate is an art form. It helps the chocolate maker be more involved with where the chocolate comes from, the story behind the chocolate. All these things create better flavors.

07  Do you entertain at home? 
Yes, I love pot lucks and communal cooking.

08 What is your favourite way to eat chocolate?
I tend to be a purist here. I like chocolate on its own

09 What is your favourite type of chocolate?
I’m absolutely over the moon with these Peruvian beans I’ve been making a dark chocolate with.

10 What’s next for you?
I’m building a chocolate jungle in the backyard of the factory. Also looking at a wine and chocolate bar with chocolate flights paired to specific wines. A couple other F&R flavors are also in the mix.

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