“Chocolate is often seen as a guilty pleasure, both from a health standpoint, and also because of the miserable conditions of the workers at many third world cacao farms. Conversely, Ubud Raw chocolate is actually a healthy superfood, and our cacao is grown locally and organically by Balinese farmers who own their own land and set their own prices.”
– Rolf Gibbs (founder Ubud Raw Chocolate Factory)
Stepping into the Ubud Raw store on Jalan Goutama is an immediately uplifting experience.
There’s a cool, fresh, vibrancy.
Deep turquoise walls set off the rich chocolate displays. Seating is bar stools at a timber bench overlooking the street.
The staff are lovely, explaining the ingredients used and walking me through the contents of the refrigerated display cabinet.
A tester plate of 4 bite size chunks of pure chocolate delight is the place to start.
For around $1.50 you get to taste the 4 flavours:
Wild Orange & Fig
Mint & Goji Berry
Pure & Raw
I love that the chocolate is sold ‘naked’ by the chunk direct from the refrigerated cabinet. If you’re planning on regular trips to keep your chocolate supplies topped up, they offer a thermal jar that you can bring back for refills. Perfect zero waste solution and you get 10% discount each time you use the jar.
Curious to know more I headed to The Ubud Raw Chocolate Factory in Sayan.
Similar to the Ubud store with the addition of an exposed kitchen, there’s no ‘tours’ but the friendly staff will explain all about the chocolate. Depending on what’s happening in the kitchen during your visit, you’ll get to see the chocolate being made by hand, in the simplest way possible, using low-tech spoons and bowls, knives and fridges.
You can stock up on raw cacao products and coconut palm sugar in both stores. Sealed in bags of 100gms/250gms/500gms prices range from 25k to 135k (Indonesian Rupiah).
There’s a range of: Raw Cacao Powder, Raw Cacao Drinking Chocolate (with coconut palm sugar), Raw Cacao Nibs, Raw Cacao Beans and Coconut Palm Sugar.
(I’m happy to report that both stores are #refillfriendly. Grab a glass of water or top up your water bottle).
The story behind Ubud Raw is as captivating as the chocolate.
Starting with an investment of just Rp100,000 to make one kilo of chocolate, Rolf Gibbs has established a sustainable business, growing organically to now employ 18 people, producing 400 kg per month.
“I considered imported Swiss chocolate too expensive in Bali and I wasn’t impressed by any of the raw chocolate I could find in Ubud. So I started playing around in my kitchen. I hoped to make something that I could enjoy, something smooth and creamy, but also healthy and nutritious.”
The end result is a revolutionary approach to chocolate making and equally impressive, a revolutionary approach to manage waste. Ubud Raw is the first Bali based partner for Ecobricks, a company committed to plastic solutions. Ubud Raw has a goal is to take more plastic out of the the biosphere than they are putting in.
What’s an Ecobrick? It’s a bottle packed solid with used plastic to make a reusable building block. Read the full story about this exciting and inspiring collaboration between Ubud Raw and Ecobricks here.
Back to losing the guilt factor…..
A quick Q & A with Rolf resolves any doubts we may have.
Why “raw chocolate”, what does it really mean?
Traditionally, chocolate has always been made from roasting cacao beans, a way to enhance flavor, like with coffee beans. Roasted cacao is relatively rich in antioxidants, but raw cacao is four times richer. In fact, raw cacao has more antioxidants than any other natural food in the world.
Where do you get your cacao from?
We source our cacao directly from local farmers in Tabanan Regency. We trained our farmers to grow, ferment and process cacao beans according to our organic and raw standards. We pay them well above normal market price.
What are the most important factors around ‘healthy’ chocolate?
Simpler is better. Generally, the more ingredients found on the label, the lower quality the food will be. We make our chocolate using just two local plants: cacao and coconut.
Eating quality chocolate is incredibly satisfying, especially once we reframe it as a pleasure, a piece of simple luxury that we deserve to enjoy.
Feel good knowing you’ve upped your dose of anti-oxidants, triggered the brain chemicals that make us happy and bought from a company that does good.
All perfect reasons to kick the guilt and feel more in love with life.
(Jl Raya Sayan #74) open Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
(Jl Goutama #8) open 7 days a week 10am – 10pm
Check the FB page for partner outlets throughout Bali. The products are stocked in over 90 locations.