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Brooklyn Brackets: Raaka Chocolate Triumphs as Best Artisanal Spot

By Nikhita Venugopal | March 31, 2015 7:28am | Updated on March 31, 2015 7:15pm
 Raaka Chocolate opened its new factory in Red Hook where the chocolate makers will soon be hosting classes and tours at 64 Seabring St.
Raaka Chocolate Factory in Red Hook
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RED HOOK — In the end, nothing beats chocolate.

Raaka Chocolate was named the borough's top artisanal spot after defeating King's County Distillery with 56 percent of the votes in the final round of DNAinfo New York's artisanal Brooklyn Bracket.

More than 20,000 votes were cast in the championship bout that pitted organic chocolate against liquor. The artisanal bracket began on March 3 with 16 contenders that included Brooklyn favorites like Empire Mayonnaise, Brooklyn Brine, Sunny Bang Sauce, Ample Hills and Dough.

Raskin's Fish Market was recently crowned the borough's favorite neighborhood institution. 

Last fall, Raaka officially opened its brand new Seabring Street chocolate factory, launching tours and chocolate-making classes at the 3,600 square-foot space.

The move to the Red Hook factory — roughly quadruple the size of its previous Clinton Hill facility, which was too small to host events — marked the five-year-old company's increased efforts to be more active in the community. 

"Before we had a space that was just utility," said Raaka's community director Peter Gray, adding that the company has also expanded sales in the last year. 

"We want people in the community to feel like they can stop in and say 'Hi,'" Gray said. 

Raaka took to social media to spread the word about the bracket and even gained support from Red Hook's Community Board 6, which urged locals to vote for the chocolate makers.

Along with classes and tours, Raaka has co-hosted events with other artisanal companies, like Irving Coffee Roasters and Other Half Brewing in the last six months. It will also be a part of the Red Hook Criterium coming up this spring.

While producing the best possible chocolate is Raaka's first priority — the artisanal bean-to-bar treats are made with unroasted beans and organic ingredients — becoming "more part of the Brooklyn food community" is a close second, Gray said.  

"We're big fans of everything else that was in this bracket," he said. "We're going to treat this trophy well."

But a little healthy competition never hurt anyone. 

"We're going to watch our backs in the next playoffs."