throughout processing and a video camera to document the process. From this
she created the “Raw Integrity Report” to explain to the market and to consumers what raw chocolate is, and what Gnosis does to ensure quality.
Even in the food industry itself, Barg found that the definition of raw food
was not clear. “For example, in nut industry terminology, ‘raw’ simply
means ‘not roasted.’ In this con-
text, it’s easy to understand why,
even with the best of intentions, a
company may mislead customers.”
Barg says she chooses which
countries/companies to source from
based on their level of transparency,
but she found it very difficult to get
answers to many of her questions
about raw verification. Big Tree
Farms, co-owned by Dagoba Choco-
late’s founder Frederick Schilling, was
one company that opened its doors
and allowed her to follow the raw
chocolate process firsthand.
One thing Barg learned from her
Raw Integrity Project is that raw
chocolate is no easy process. “
Maintaining low temperatures during processing is not part of the normal
production routine; it’s more labor-in-tensive, time-consuming and costly,”
she points out.
Ensuring that cacao remains raw
starts with controlling the fermentation process, which alone can go past
118ºF. In most cases, this fermentation
is done at the farm level, but some raw
cacao suppliers like Big Tree bring all
the cacao to one place to better monitor the process. Next, while most
cacao is roasted, raw cacao is instead
dehydrated at very low temperatures.
Most raw cacao suppliers stop here
and just offer the raw cacao nibs.
Making the cacao butter is the most
challenging step. In traditional chocolate processing the pressure used to press
the butter out is enough to bring it far over 118ºF. To date, Barg says that verifying the proprietary Big Tree process with her temperature gun made it the only
source she can attest is making truly raw butter. “After seeing these internal
control systems, I feel more confident in using these ingredients. I hope more
manufacturers seek out opportunities to verify and personally connect with
their supply chain,” she says.
15 percent of the
purchase price from
its REACH Grenada
OrigiNib bar to fund
agriculture to help
provide a stable
economy that leads
Socially/Environmentally Responsible Decadence
Holistic health is about more than what you eat. What about the communi-
ties that grow the chocolate, or the im-
pact the product’s packaging has on the
health of the planet? Barg addresses
these as well with several projects.