New York | Raw Chocolates

Bushwick, New York


We love FINE & RAW chocolate.  Bars are in our carry-on for each design trip.  It makes a smile happen on every person we share it with.  We share it with strangers.  We tell everyone how amazing it is.  You would think we are brand ambassadors we love it so much.  It brightens our every day.  Can you say that about a chocolatier you adore?

"Obsessed might actually be a better word to describe our relationship with F & R. " - Allison

We arrived at Fine & Raw late one February afternoon excited to know what makes them tick.  A mutual friend had introduced us.  We wanted to know a deeper story about how they make such amazing treats.  As we stepped in the door heavenly smells of chocolate in every form filled the air.   What a magical place.  Euphoric. A small studio filled with smiling souls, draped in chocolate.  Its the kind of place you would hope to find making this magnitude of culinary delight.  Like a modern day willy wonka, but better ( and minus the Oompah Loompahs) .

And then it happened.  We realized where the elation emerges from.  What makes the place so special starts with founder Daniel Sklaar. A former chef, Daniel loves trying to make the most out of the cacao beans.  He has devised a way to make epic raw chocolates like no other in the world.  Not kidding.  When your tongue hits a square of his chocolate it's pure , gland bursting bliss.  Meeting him would make anyone smile.  He's full of radness times 1000.  His mindset is open.  He appears ready to take in all that you'll dish out.  Our conversation proceeds full steam ahead as we tell him about Elsewhere.

Saying that special something starts with Daniel is valid.  Then you meet Ryan.   She helps Daniel carry out all his crazy ideas.  She's a dream come true in every way.  (Everyone wishes they know a go getting gal like Ryan) .  For that matter Daniel's entire crew exemplifies the term "epic" .  They all make people smile through their creations with chocolate.  And they give away a bit of their collective energy in every bar.

"FINE & RAW - They are lovers of love and makers of amazing chocolate." - Jasen

We spent the early evening sharing chocolate.  We tasted profiles of chocolate not yet released to the market.  Best of all we shared stories.   Our collective energy gleamed in positivity.  We were likely drunk on chocolate after a short time.  But, it was through these interactions that a collaboration started to foster.   One that shared the love of camaraderie, exploration, photography and slow food.  On the evening went as we exchanged ideas.  We ended  with hugs and left open the idea of a project together. We also left with heaps of chocolate in our backpacks.

As months went on, so did ideas.    We presented a concept using their chocolates and our photography.  To keep the concept unique we used our instant film photos.  Photos we snapped around the globe using a Fuji Camera.  Each one small enough to be on its own bar.  Daniel was all about it.  We agreed to design new packaging for 250 chocolate bars.   Easy right?  A fine idea if we had the skills to redesign their packaging.  For that, we enlisted our good pal Harry Fricker.  

Fricker took to mocking up the new bar wraps while we sorted through hundreds of photos.  We wanted a solid assortment from around the globe.  The idea was to share a present in the form of a photo with each bar.   A different photo for every bar, no two being alike - "Instantly Present".  Kinda cheesy we know.  (The more you get to know us you might find we lean this way more than we care to admit) .  

FINE & RAW are selling the bars to their best stores in the USA.  To get some for yourself you can buy here in limited quantity or find them at better retailers (ask us if you need a list).

If you care to read a much deeper story, you can head to our journal and read design notes, journal posts from the various trips to NYC to build this project and more.  Just use the filter and select Elsewhere002.

August 2015

Edition 002

$18 USD