Last week, I wrote a post to tell you a little about our tour in Red Hook, Brooklyn – if you didn’t see it, just click here to check. Red Hook is a somewhat secluded neighborhood, because of the lack of nearby subway stations. With a countryside atmosphere, the region is rich in gastronomy, with restaurants and factories, perfect to enjoy many delights. When we were there, we took the opportunity to visit two chocolate factories: Raaka Chocolate and Cacao Prieto.
Raaka Chocolate – Raaka chocolate makes craft chocolate by hand in Red Hook. Ryan Cheney was introduced to chocolate making at a yoga school on a beautiful island in Thailand, where he was excited by the flavors of unroasted cocoa beans. He founded Raaka to explore low-temperature chocolate making and create a more equitable global society in which communities have opportunity to improve their quality of life. After spending a year learning bean-to-bar chocolate making, Ryan teamed up with Nate Hodge, a musician and gastronomist with a lust for exotic flavors and groundbreaking processes. Together, they developed a new way of making chocolate. Today, Raaka produces chocolate with cocoa coming from four regions of the planet: Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Belize and Madagascar.
Raaka offers what the brand calls virgin chocolate, which gets its name because of its manufacturing process. The cacoa beans are unroasted to preserve flavors that are often lost in the traditional manufacturing process. The cacao beans have highest quality and Rakka makes chocolate that showcases their inherently delicious flavors.. Cacao beans have unique flavor profiles shaped by climate, soil, elevation, genetics, and harvesting practices. Belize beans have dried fruit notes, while Bolivia beans have earthy and floral notes. When preparing chocolate, these different flavors are preserved.
Today, the brand offers eight types of bar, all of them with a cacao percentage over 56% and with ingredients like coconut milk, mint and sea salt. Each bar is $6 and you can try a bite of each one at the factory. They are delicious! Pink Sea Salt bar is a best seller – and the one that I most enjoyed. You can also make a tour at the factory, to know the manufacturing process and tasting chocolates. It’s $10 and it lasts 45 minutes. Tours happen Fridays at 6pm, Saturdays at 12pm, Sundays at 12pm. Rakka also offers Chocolate making classes. You can book a tour or a class here.
Address: 64 Seabring St (Weekdays 10-6, Weekends 12-6).
UPDATE: the chocolate factory is no longer in production, only the distillery.
Cacao Prieto – Cacao Prieto was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, an inventor and aerospace engineer, whose family has been farming organic cacao in the Dominican Republic for more than 100 years. The Prieto family owns Coralina Farms which provides all of the cacao for Cacao Prieto’s chocolates and spirits. Cacao Prieto products are sourced from organic cacao beans from Coralina farms and organic sugars from the Dominican Republic – in this way Cacao Prieto is now one of the very few chocolate companies in the world that is completely vertically integrated from the farm to the finished product. The bars are 100% organic, vegan and high in antioxidants and have exotics mix like passion fruit, vanilla and absinthe, in a total of 8 flavors. Prices start at $8.
Annexed to Cacao Prieto chocolate factory there is also a distillery, where they are produced whiskeys – are also sold at the place. Cacao Prieto also offers tours through its facilities and they take place on Saturdays and Sundays, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4 pm and 6 pm, $ 20. You can book here.
Address: 218 Conover St (Monday – Friday 9 AM-5 PM, Saturday and Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM).
How to get there? the most convenient and fast way to get to Red Hook is using Water Taxi. The boat leaves from Pier 11 and the ticket costs $5. The best news is that on Saturdays and Sundays the boat is free. It is 16 minutes ride – first, Water Taxi stops at Ikea. You can check the schedule here. You can also use NYC Ferry, $2,75 each way.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.