Photo by Samantha Pearl
Raw Enlightenment brings raw, vegan chocolate to Richmond
When it comes to priorities, science creating healthy chocolate should be right up there with formulating the elixir of youth and discovering life beyond earth. If you’re in agreement, there’s very good news: New Richmond food business Raw Enlightenment is making major headway in that arena. Raw, vegan chocolate products made with organic ingredients are the name of its game, and the company's owner is looking to take it citywide.
Owner Samantha Pearl hails from Venice Beach, California, where raw, vegan products are considerably easier to find. “When I was 16 years old, I worked at my first restaurant — it was a raw and vegan place called Leaf Cuisine," she remembers. "I got into making raw foods at home while I was there because I really liked them; I’ve been messing around with my recipes for the past 10 years. When I moved to Richmond, I realized there wasn’t a huge raw vegan scene, so I thought it might be time to do my own thing with them.”
While touring as a musician, a stop in Richmond was all it took to fall in love with the city’s art and food scenes. Touring was, in fact, a source of inspiration for Raw Enlightenment: Pearl wanted to craft products that would support the health and well being of a high-travel lifestyle. “I love plant-based foods because they keep me going when I’m on the road," she says. "You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy them. I find that they keep my stamina up; traveling can exhaust you. Touring artists, just like athletes, need to have a certain type of diet to keep them going.”
The first product in the Raw Enlightenment retail line is Rawkin’ Goji Chocolate, which is made from coconut oil, cacao, goji berries, sea salt flakes, raw agave and vanilla bean. Other selections include star ingredients like energy-increasing herbs maca and ginseng; ingredients are sourced locally whenever possible. Vegan dessert catering is also in their repertoire, including a few non-raw specialties. Level up your event with treats like chocolate mousse, chocolate fondue, cakes, custom ice creams and assorted chocolate platters, or order a custom assortment of chocolates to have at home.
Want to get your hands on a batch of raw chocolates right away? For now, they’re available at Mott Gallery & Coffee Shop in Carytown, but Pearl is looking to expand to more local retail locations. Custom orders can be taken at the gallery weekly from Wednesday to Sunday, or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.