Have you treated yourself lately? If not, you should check out the Fine & Raw display in our chocolate section at the co-op. One of our members talked to Ryann Mead of Fine & Raw Chocolates about the beautifully packaged, delicious, and locally sourced treats.
So, who’s behind Fine & Raw brand?
“Fine & raw is a collaboration of chocolatiers, artists, photographers, painters, chefs, ice cream makers, candy makers, friends, music, tea drinkers, farmers, dance, philosophers, travelers, angels and aliens. We handcraft our confections in Brooklyn. Fine & Raw is a carefully chaotic celebration of life… dream. Eat chocolate. Dream.”
Fine & Raw was started in 2008 by Daniel Sklaar in his notorious Williamsburg loft. Daniel was born in South Africa and moved to New York in the early 2000s. He worked in finance for a brief period before pursuing his nonsensical obsession with chocolate.
Daniel spent 2009 “pedaling” small batches of chocolate to local stores in Brooklyn (he literally delivered orders on bicycle). In the chocolate company’s early days, Daniel could also be spotted every weekend at the Brooklyn Flea selling his confections. Fine & Raw gained popularity quickly.
In 2012, Fine & Raw chocolate opened its flagship factory in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
Two years later, The Brooklyn Bonnie collection was born out of a desire to play with the possibilities of deviating from exclusively raw recipes. “We wanted to see what it would taste like to do a line of chocolate bars which were half-raw & half-roasted.” said Mead.
In 2015, Fine & Raw introduced their new spreads in Chocolate Hazelnut Butter and Coconut Dulce de Leche. Right now, Mead’s favorite Fine & Raw product is the Chocolate Hazelnut Butter. Find it at the co-op today ($7.75 mem./$10.94 non-mem.).
If you’ve ever indulged in Fine & Raw’s exquisite products, you know they taste amazing. But Fine & Raw is just as committed to making great-tasting chocolate as they are to practicing environmentally sustainable production methods.
“We are sustainable in as many ways as we can be. We donate our ‘chaff,’ or excess cacao husks, to area farms to be used for compost. We recycle, and source only the cleanest, best ingredients from sustainable businesses and farms that we trust. We make every effort to manufacture as many ingredients as we can on our own, including the nut butters we use for our almond chunky, hazelnut chocolate and coconut chunky. Last, we create a sustainable working environment, providing reasonable work schedules, lots of chocolate, great tunes and fair pay.”
The final product is made right here in Bushwick, but Fine & Raw sources their raw ingredients from all over the world.
“We source our beans from over the world, but specifically: Madagascar, Peru, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Bolivia. We are making more direct farmer connections all the time.”