Making chocolate bars at Raaka Chocolate (pt. 2)

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In my previous post I walked through the how Raaka processes cacao pods into liquid chocolate. After going through all those steps, it was time to fill some molds with the melted chocolate.

Each mold could make three bars. A precise amount of chocolate was distributed in each mold by the mixing machine, whose flow could be controlled with a foot-operated paddle.

See how the liquid chocolate doesn’t fill the spaces evenly? We put our molds on a vibrating table and the chocolate almost instantly leveled out.

The toppings were sweetened hibiscus flowers, puffed grain, pumpkin seeds, candied ginger, strawberry sugar, and grated coconut.

My neighbor’s bars:

For my bars, I used strawberry sugar, hibiscus petals, and candied ginger.

The bars were then moved into a cooling chamber. The bars had set and become solid after only 20 minutes in a 50 degree Fahrenheit cooler.

While the bars were cooling, our guide showed us the machines they use to wrap and label Raaka’s commercially-sold chocolate bars. It is a complicated piece of equipment that can wrap hundreds of bars an hour. It’s interesting to see the many intricate parts working in unison. This is the machine that wraps paper wrappers around bars:

This is the machine that sticks sticker labels onto the wrapped bars:

Rolls of label stickers:

Bars ready to be sold:

After seeing the packaging process, we experienced the Raaka product line with a tasting, starting from darkest chocolate (with the highest cacao content) to the lightest one (with the least cacao content).

Raaka’s chocolate bars have very short ingredient lists because of the company’s commitment to wholesome products. My favorite was the limited edition Strawberry Basil bar, but I also loved the Coconut Milk bar (Raaka’s chocolate is vegan so coconut milk is used instead of cow milk).

Now it was time to unmold the bars. We just turned over the molds and they fell cleanly out!

The bars were wrapped in clear wrappers that showed the mix-ins. We put our bars in a Raaka bag and the chocolate making class concluded.

The chocolate making class at Raaka is a great experience. For $50, you get a detailed and interactive tour of the Raaka factory’s commercial operations, the experience of making your own three bars, and lots of professional info about how to appreciate cacao, plus samples and humor. And it’s all done in two hours. Highly recommended for any chocoholics out there!

 

Raaka Chocolate

64 Seabring St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

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