Making the Case for Raw Chocolate chocolatiers from Coracao ConfectionsJoining the mix at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmers Market is Coracao Confections - one ofMessage 1 of 1 , May 19, 2010View Source
Making the Case for Raw Chocolate
Joining the mix at the Tuesday Berkeley Farmers' Market is Coracao Confections - one of a growing number of raw chocolatiers that are making the case for the health benefits of raw, unprocessed chocolate. "Cacao is one of the most antioxidant rich foods in the world. And one ounce contains 314% of the iron you need per day," says Daniel Korson, who founded Coracao Confections with Matthew Rogers after the two left their positions at Café Gratitude, a local eatery specializing in raw foods. "Roasting the cacao destroys nutrients and creates caffeine," Korson emphasizes.
In the world of raw chocolate, Coracao Confections is unique. Nearly all of the other raw chocolate companies simply make chocolate bars. Coracao Confections is making artful chocolate confections in the form of truffles, cups, and heart shapes, but what makes them truly special is a diverse range of additions that includes an amazing gooey kaffir lime filling, goji berries, or a new take on the classic "Almond-Joy." While the additions are delicious, they are chosen not just for taste, but also to blend the chocolate with complimentary "superfoods" according to Korson and Rogers.
A look over their website reveals ingredients like lúcuma, yacon syrup, and maca, all described as "superfoods" and annotated with information about their exceptional nutritional content. The term "superfood" is generally used to describe food with high phytonutrient content, though there is currently no legal definition for a "superfood" in the United States .
Rogers, the chocolate wizard behind all of the amazing flavors, is a pioneer of raw confections, having started the chocolate line at Café Gratitude and co-authored Sweet Gratitude, the Café Gratitude dessert cookbook. All of Coracao Confections' offerings were developed in-house. "There really are no resources out there for raw chocolate," Rogers says. "I've pretty much had to create it all on my own, through trial and error. Sometimes I'll go on the internet for general chocolate questions, but a lot of it doesn't apply to what we do."
It isn't just that Coracao Confections is using raw chocolate that leads to the challenge. Their products are entirely raw, vegan, wheat free, and are made without any refined sugars or hydrogenated oils. They also use fair trade and organic ingredients wherever possible. All of the cacao they use is fair-trade and organic, mostly from Ecuador and some from Peru . Coracao Confections avoids purchasing cacao-derived products from Africa , both because of the large carbon footprint and because most of it is produced using slave labor.
As for many of the other ingredients, they are hard to find in any form, let alone organic. Coracao Confections uses sweeteners with a low Glycemic Index (GI). The chocolate uses exclusively coconut sugar, which is made by collecting and evaporating the sap of coconut flowers. In addition to having a low GI and being more nutritious than most sweeteners, the production of coconut sugar is reviving a traditional technique and supporting small farmers in Asia .
Despite starting the business in the midst of a recession, Coracao Confections has grown impressively since its foundation two years ago. While the chocolates are primarily sold through farmers' markets, they are also available at Whole Foods and a few specialty shops in the Bay Area. Korson points out one advantage of buying chocolate from Coracao Confections at the farmers' market, and that is freshness. "We don't add any stabilizers or preservatives, although through good production practices our products are designed to be shelf stable for up to a month, but like anything, they are best when fresh," he says.
Rogers adds, "What we sell at the farmers' market is all made within the prior week, and in some cases the day before."
While Coracao Confections acknowledges that many of their ingredients come from a long way away, they point out that people eat chocolate and are going to keep doing it. "We want to help make sure that we are offering people the most antioxidant rich, nutrient packed, and highest quality confections in the world."
Please visit Coracao Confections at the Berkeley Farmers' Market every Tuesday from 2pm - 7pm.
see you at:
May 23, June 20, July 11, Aug 22, Sept 19, Oct 24
I'll be doing all 9 of them in the city