1. tell us about how you got in to making your own chocolate.
A long time ago when my son was young I got interested in nutrition. I started playing around with some recipes, mincing up seeds and dried fruit to make fruit balls for school lunches. Then I started coating them in chocolate and pretty soon the whole school was eating them!
I was then introduced to some raw chocolate. I didn’t like it, it was floury, cakey and not like chocolate at all but I felt really great! I wanted to make raw chocolate taste and feel as good as the chocolate we all grew up with, but be full of love and supercharged with nutrients and goodness.
So I bought my own ingredients and played with them for about six months till I had some great recipes ready for consumption. I destroyed a lot of blenders and mincers, and pretty much lived off chocolate for a year!
2. what in your opinion is the key to making great tasting chocolate?
Love. It’s quite simple. We’d like to list it as one of our ingredients. If you are in a bad mood or a bad space, what you make will taste bad. Pour a smile and love into your food and you will pass this on. It also helps to have great taste buds and no limitations, restrictions and no rules. We like to play with chocolate and have fun. This has led to us producing our new bar Vanoffe Dark which should be ready next week. It is velvety creamy and smooth, like Vanoffe, but like Pitch Dark, its Vanoffe Dark!
3. how important are the ingredients and the cacao used in particular?
Very important as they all add their own unique flavour to the chocolate. We try to limit the number of ingredients in a bar – you know you are trouble if something has to have twenty or more ingredients to taste nice! Raw organic cacao has so many flavours we like to let them shine as much as possible. As you’d expect, we’ve honed our chocolate taste buds quite finely and can really tell the difference from batch to batch.
4. nibs or powder for making the better bar?
Nibs definitely – for guarantied rawness flavour and texture. However, in a domestic setting you will have trouble making chocolate products from nibs as they will really test out your equipment! Unfortunately, sometimes cacao powder has gone through a process that is likely to have had exposure to high temperatures.
5. what’s your sweetener of choice?
Coconut sugar, it is rich and fruity, not raw though but minimally processed. We have tried many, many different sweeteners over the years, which has led to some disasters and also some major treasures. Our coated mulberries for example were the result of an experiment using mulberries as a sweetener for bars. It was a complete disaster in terms of a bar – it nearly destroyed all our equipment, but tasted phenomenal. So we sat around trying to work out a way of combining cacao with mulberries. Pretty soon we hit on our now world famous raw chocolate coated mulberries.
We also use Xylitol in our Mint and Orange bars for those that want to avoid sugar of any kind. Xylitol is very misunderstood, mainly because it sounds like some nasty chemical. It is actually made from Birch Sap – xylos is greek for tree – so its quite friendly and nice actually.
6. how important is the tempering process?
Imperative. Without the tempering process the chocolate wouldn’t be hard, shiny and the shelf life would be shorter. It also gives the chocolate the all important ‘snap’ when you break off a chunk. Tempering is chocolate alchemy and quite tricky to get right. Luckily, we are now tempering jedi masters!
7. any tips you want to share?
Love your food, love others and love the world around you. Keep an open mind and remember to play. Also remember that we are all human and we are all in this together. Life is about balance and most people don’t eat nearly enough raw chocolate to keep them smiling 😉
8. what are your thoughts on the raw chocolate market here in the uk?
One of the reasons we exist and want to make beautiful, delicious raw chocolate is that we want people to have a choice – to be able to be vegan, raw, organic and not compromise on taste, quality and treats! It is great that there is a growing market for raw chocolate in the UK, and we also want to give chocolate lovers a choice too. Our bars don’t have to be just a treat for vegans and rawists, but for everyone.
I love these guys. So obviously passionate about chocolate and love and smiles! Check them out on their website The Raw Chocolate Company
This blog was written by Raw Food Scotland's previous owner, Emma Calvert. You can reach her at her new website, https://missmanifestation.com/