Hi there, honey bunny. Do you like raspberries? Mmhmm. Do you like chocolate? Mmhmm, I thought so. Let me blow your mind with this chocolate bar from Pure7, a dark confection sweetened with only honey and studded with freeze-dried—almost crunchy—raspberries. Even if raspberry flavored chocolate never quite earned a place on your favorites list, reconsider, for this bar is done by the best. Sweet/tart is always in style and this bar is your fudgey fashionable choice.
Fruit and chocolate were never the awesomest thing ever for me (okay, except for mass-produced chocolate-covered cherries, but those are in their own category, right?). Perhaps it's a long list of experiences with out-of-season strawberries dipped in mediocre chocolate, or raspberry goo inside a filled chocolate. It just doesn't seem to work well. Until . . . you start using care and genuinely great ingredients, that is. Now the combination of raspberry with chocolate has reached an apex with this Pure7 bar.
To keep the super-tart qualities, the raspberries are freeze-dried, adding almost a bit of crunch to the bar. Adding to the equation is the company itself and how they make chocolate: two New Englanders with a passion for locally sourced honey to sweeten their bars. That's right: honey! Folks said it couldn't be done, but Pure7 proved everyone wrong and this Raspberry 72% bar is proof positive that sweet and tart can work in combination when your technique is solid and your ingredients are awesome.
Tasting this bar, like all Pure7 bars, will redefine your chocolate eating experience. The texture is so different from the typical mass-produced bar, all glossy and ready to break off into neat pieces. Pure7's gentle processing results in a nutrient-rich bar that is like ambrosia on the tongue. Snapping off a piece from the bar doesn't really happen - the bar gently bends, then yields into a perfect bite-sized piece. You might never go back to snappy bars again!
Just for reference: there are different ways to make chocolate, each having a different effect on the end result. Tempered chocolate, especially when starting from roasted cacao, is what results in a snappy and shiny finish on a bar, but it typically involves heating the chocolate to at least 120 degrees as part of the process.
Raw chocolate is often made by combining cacao liquor (the solids of the cacao bean, no booze involved!), cacao butter (the fat), and varying amounts of sweetener and flavor add-ons at very low temperatures. The gentle combination never heats the chocolate above about 115 degrees, keeping all of the qualifications for a raw product intact, from enzymes to nutrients. However....Pure7 bars ARE still tempered, using their own special and gentle process. This means the bar doesn't have the grit of some raw chocolates, but still tastes wonderfully raw. Pure7's chocolate ends up being a little bit on the tender side, with a soft finish that resembles fudge or ganache rather than the shine and snap associated with fancy-pants chocolate.
Fair Trade ingredients are the start, but ultimately those delicate floral honey notes are what will get noticed on the tongue. I can't think of any other ethically-sourced honey-sweetened bar but Pure7, and that's reason to have a bite or four.
When they first started testing recipes for their chocolate, there was only one goal: to create the healthiest, most pure and delicious chocolate ever. Using local raw honey to sweeten the bars was the first step - no need to use any kind of refined sugar or sweeteners. Then, after much experimentation, Pure7 developed a groundbreaking low heat technique of making the chocolate, keeping all of the ingredients in their most pure and potent form.
Chocolate is one of the highest antioxidant food sources known. Pure7's low temperature techniques do not effect the chemistry of the chocolate, to ensure that its vital enzymes and nutrients remain intact. This means nutrition and health benefits are kept at their full potency.
Here's the other thing about all of the Pure7 lineup that bears mentioning, and repeating, and shouting from the rooftops: Fair Trade. The designation of Fair Trade involves working towards fair living wages and ethical treatment of the PEOPLE who grow the cacao. Organic is a great thing, by protecting plants and the consumers of those plants from harsh pesticides and modifications. But you can still have organic products that are harvested by human beings in some pretty terrible conditions. Adding a Fair Trade effort to things most affected by these conditions—chocolate, coffee, and bananas—is a huge help for working conditions. Pure7 is doing their part by using Fair Trade cocoa, honey, and vanilla.
Raw cacao is one of the most phytochemically complex foods on earth. Many of its constituents have yet to even be discovered!
Here are just a few compounds found in raw cacao beans: neurotransmitter anandamide (the "bliss" chemical), neurotransmitter phenethylamine (also known as PEA, the "love molecule"), neurotransmitter serotonin (a brain chemical that acts to shield against stress, increasing one's sense of well-being) neurotransmitter dopamine (increases one's sense of pleasure and elevates the mood), phytochemical coumarin (suppresses appetite, and also has anti-tumor properties and helps with blood circulation) enzyme asparaginase (a special enzyme with anti-cancer properties) ergosterol (a necessary chemical for vitamin D assimilation) and sitosterol (helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels). Amazing!
Storing your Pure7 bar is not to be taken lightly. Because the raw chocolate has been tempered oh-so-gently, it will melt easily. Store between 50 and 80 degrees (but I wouldn't throw it in the fridge or freezer, either) for long shelf life and little risk of squish.
Julie, through her passion for food, went in search of finding a chocolate that was both gourmet and healthy. When she couldn't find one, adventure and creativity guided Julie through her dreams of creating an organic raw chocolate, loaded with health benefits, without the junk. She brought raw chocolate to life in her Carlisle, MA farm house and Pure7 chocolate was born.
Carrie has been cooking delicious meals for friends and family for over 20 years. Both having similar passions, she and Julie became fast friends and worked together in the farm kitchen to create a raw chocolate without refined sugars, gluten, dairy and soy. Having many years of home culinary experience under her belt, Carrie easily took the role of Head Chocolatier. Since launching Pure7 Chocolate in October 2013, Carrie and Julie have been trained and mentored by a top chocolatier out of New York City and continue to bring to the world the healthiest, tastiest and highest quality chocolate worthy of not only the health conscious but also true chocolate connoisseurs.
Pure7 is not just a couple of chocolate fanatics who are selling fancy sweets. They give a whole bunch of love to the cacao world, from supporting Fair Trade producers to purchasing local honey near their headquarters on the East Coast. Hear about their latest feats and adventures on their feed, or their Facebook page.
Here's their mission, in their own words, "Pure7 is devoted to providing artisan chocolate using the highest quality, organic, and all-natural ingredients to nourish the body. With honesty and integrity, we are intentional and accountable in all that we do, as we feed the world and our own families with chocolate. Through Pure7 chocolate, we hope to open your mind and change the way you think about food, with ingredients that you can pronounce on our labels. We hope to inspire you to live a healthier life by showing that eating can be both delicious and decadent. Pure7's mission is to help make our world a better place, one chocolate bar at a time."
Actually, you can, if you go really really slowly. Keeping the temperature at or below 115 degrees is what is needed to form the correct crystals while still keeping the rawness intact. Genius.
About 1200. (!)