26 June, 2015
Eco Chocolate
HK has its first earth-loving, organic, raw chocolate maker!

For a city that imports around 95 per cent of its food, finding any tasty morsels produced in Hong Kong is a rare treat - even more so when it’s the queen of all sweets!
Now Hong Kong's chocolate connoisseurs can rejoice, as our city has its first organic raw chocolate maker that creates every single item from bean to bar, right here! By monitoring and being part of every step of the process, Raiz the Bar founders Priscilla Soligo and Rachel Whitfield are able to ensure that the product is ethically and environmentally responsible - everything from how the cacao trees are farmed to how the chocolate is packaged.
Before raw food chef Priscilla and her sister Rachel started their chocolate company, bean-to-bar chocolate making didn’t exist in Hong Kong. Most chocolates here are imported in large blocks, melted, moulded and filled accordingly, or simply brought in fully packaged and ready for retail.
At Raiz the Bar the process is different. Priscilla brings the cacao beans to Hong Kong whole, and undertakes the labour-intensive process of extracting cacao nibs, then grinding, conching and more in their very own factory, with a little help from some impressive machinery, such as the giant conching machines, which develop the delicious flavours. For a small, local chocolate maker to go to such lengths is an enormous investment in time and money, and a true leap of faith.
“I’m interested in the way things grow. For me, there’s no quick route… It had to be the whole process or nothing at all,” says Priscilla, adding that it’s vital she knows exactly where her ingredients come from and how they are processed. This took her to a family-run organic farm in Bali where cacao fruits and grown, th beans fermented and dried to strict raw food specifications, never going above 47.7 degrees Celcius. According to raw food chefs, if the cacao beans are heated beyond this temperature, they’ll lose their all-important health properties – naturally occurring substances like phenylethylamine and anandamide, which give chocolate its bliss-inducing reputation.
Six flavours have been released, with another six already planned, all using wholesome ingredients, such as coconut nectar as the primary sweetener, as well as more esoteric choices like chaga mushroom in the “Love Me” bar, all of which are sustainably sourced and certified organic.
The company’s eco roots go beyond the chocolate itself, however. The packaging – a plastic-like film around the chocolate bar, slipped into a cardboard box – is just as carefully considered. All of the packaging is fully compostable. The film is made from NatureFlex, a purely plant-based material, and the box is made entirely of post-consumer waste and printed with beautiful illustrations by local artist Alison Tan with vegetable-based inks.
A sweet treat made locally from scratch, from fully traceable ingredients that’s good for the environment as well as your body? It seems the bar has indeed been raised for Hong Kong’s chocolatiers.
Available online and retailers listed on their website, including Spice Box Organics, Mana!, Genie Juice, Green Common and Berrytime.  

By: Janice Leung Hayes


Be the first to comment on this Article

Popular content