Raaka always blows my mind with what they come up with next. Chocolate makers nowadays are so creative with what inclusions they throw into their bars that craft chocolate consumers barely blink when something that would otherwise be unique shows up in their next bar. I feel like Raaka is a special exception in that whoever plans and designs these First Nibs Selections is always thinking outside of the outside box, if that makes any sense. For November, Raaka played with the warm, comforting flavors of sweet potato and carrot. These aren’t off the wall ingredients, but we normally wouldn’t expect to see them combined with chocolate.
Though the Maple & Nibs bar was included with the November First Nibs Selection, I’m not going to include it in today’s post since I’ve tried it before.
We’re past Thanksgiving at the time that I’m writing this, but sweet potatoes are an ingredient I’ve started seeing on the table ever since I’ve lived in Virginia. Growing up in New Jersey I was not exposed to sweet potatoes and I don’t recall my mother ever cooking with it. It wasn’t until I attended a southern-style church potluck and a Thanksgiving with my sister’s in-laws that I was introduced to mashed up sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows. To some people this kind of dish brings up fond childhood memories. Personally I was very confused (and I didn’t touch the dish). But since Raaka uses candied sweet potatoes with their 70% Dominican Republic chocolate, they may be thinking on the same page as those sweet potatoes with marshmallows.
Raaka’s description for the candied sweet potato bar says, “We create a cinnamon-infused cocoa butter and mix it with house-caramelized cane sugar, maple sugar from Bascom Maple Farms in New Hampshire, sweet potato powder, and fruity Dominican cacao to create a bar reminiscent of the classic Thanksgiving side dish. To top it off? Jackson’s Honest sweet potato chips for crisp and crunch.” At the time I’m trying these bars I admit I’m fighting a cold and my sense of smell and taste isn’t that great, but I did detect the scent of nuttiness and sweet potato. The chips added great crunch, nutty flavors exploded in my mouth followed by a hint of salt and sweetness of maple and then fruitiness from the Dominican cacao. It was like bam, bam, bam of all those flavors hitting one after another.
The carrot cake bar was created to replicate the “natural sugars found in fall’s abundant root vegetables”. Raaka combined carrot powder, ground vanilla bean, ginger, nutmeg, allspice infused cocoa butter, organic cane and coconut sugar with earthy Congolese cacao to create this delicious sounding chocolate. Now the included description says ESCO Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo cacao was used, but the chocolate wrapper itself it says “earthy and nutty Dominican cacao”. I’m just going to go right ahead and enjoy tasting it! Since my sense of smell is terrible from being sick, the chocolate smelled chocolaty (I’m sure it’s more interesting if I weren’t congested). I tasted a lovely medley of warm spices that made me think of the last time I took a bite of carrot cake, which was a long time ago. The carrot flavor grew in intensity as my bite melted and it was delicious! It was just like eating carrot cake but with chocolate on top of it instead of that white-ish icing.
I have to say, out of the two bars, I am so blown away by the carrot cake bar! It literally tastes like carrot cake and despite my being sick, chances are high I’m going to consume the entire bar after writing this post. I’m still a little wary of those sweet potato and marshmallow dishes I see around Thanksgiving, but I give props to Raaka for creating a fun and interesting textural and flavorful experience with their candied sweet potato bar.
These are my personal thoughts and experiences. I did not receive pay or any compensation for reviewing any products. Website links to articles, companies and other sources of information directly related to the topic written within the posts were included during the time of writing and the writer will not be held responsible for future changes on such website links. All images are original and the property of Time To Eat Chocolate unless specifically stated otherwise.