I’m familiar with raw foodism. I’ve mentioned on the Veg Blog numerous times over the years. I’m planning on visiting one of the several raw restaurants in New York the next time I visit. However, one thing exists I would never have ever thought of: a raw bakery.
The Raw Bakery was started recently by a team of people that wanted to bring traditionally unhealthy old favorites like candy bars and cakes to the raw realm. They currently have variations on the Snickers bar (Snakker) as well as brownies and cakes.
Before I go any further, let me say this: I’m not interested in raw foods from a health perspective. As one amusing critical review of Quintessence that I recently read said: “There are many different factors to consider when evaluating a restaurant – taste, vegan-friendliness, ambiance, service, use of healthy/organic ingredients – for me, insurance that nothing I order will be heated above 118°ree; is just not one of them.” (I realize the issue goes deeper than that, but still). However, I am interested in raw foods from a culinary perspective. I’ve always been of the mindset that self-imposed restriction can result in some of the most creative creations (see my piece about The Grey Album for a musical take on the same issue). Essentially, I’m curious to see what raw chefs can do with the restrictions of raw ingredients and cooking under a certain temperature. There’s no reason that what raw chefs do in their exclusively raw restaurants isn’t something that could be integrated into one’s regular diet or a mainstream restaurant’s menu. I’m just as curious to see what can be done in the raw baking realm. It’s all about new experiences, right?
So, with that said, I was anxious to try out one of The Raw Bakery’s Snakker bars after seeing an advertisement in Satya. The Snakker bar is “the world’s first raw bar made with a filling.” Each bar is handmade with sun-dried organic cocoa beans, organic raw peanuts from New Mexico, and is sweetened with organic honey (beware honey-dodging vegans!) and organic dates. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the Snakker bar and I was pleasantly surprised. The sweetness of the dates is readily apparent and gives the bar a nice earthiness that balances the subtle flavor of the soft chocolate covering. And hey, peanuts! Of course they’re good.
Executive Chef Ibrahim Gencay told me that since the bar I tasted, the flavor is more chocolatey because he’s added more cocoa beans to the bar. Excellent.
The criticisms that I have about the Snakker bar are not related to the flavor or ingredients (though I’d like to see another sweetener other than honey, even if it would be slightly more processed), but with the connection to the Snickers bar by name. No one’s going to mistake a raw candy bar for its heavily processed distant cousin, and I fear that that connection might scare some people if they try the raw bar on a whim. Gencay explained to me that this wasn’t the intention. Rather, the intended connection with a Snickers bar is more emotional; the idea is that the Snakker Bar will give you a similar emotional reaction that a Snickers Bar gave you in your less-healthy days (or childhood days) and will satisfy the desire you may have to return to your junk food habits. This, I can deal with.
The Snakker bar is $3.49 for a 1.6 oz. bar ($39.90 for a package of 12) and $5 for the 3 oz. Jumbo Size (the sizes offered, I am told, may change). A tad pricey considering a Jumbo Snickers will run you about $1, but with the quality of the ingredients and the care taken in the production of these special candy bars, you can’t really compare the two prices.
I found myself enjoying the Snakker bar more as time went on, really enjoying the sweetness of the dates and the texture of the finely chopped peanuts. And, yes, I am impressed that this was able to be done. The Raw Bakery has gotten some good press recently thanks to raves from the likes of Carol Alt and Sissy Spacek, so I suspect the business will be booming before you know it. Rightfully so.
I look forward to seeing what other products The Raw Bakery dreams up and wish them the best of luck in their quest to provide healthy raw sweets.