Written by David Castellon
What may seem an unlikely partnership between a Madera olive oil maker and a Fresno chocolatier has resulted in an award-winning chocolate bar.
Raphio’s Clementine Chocolate Bar has won the gold medal in the new product award category at the Fall Holiday Chocolate Salon 2017 Awards held last month in San Francisco, with the winners announced earlier this week.
The new product award is the highest award given by the International Chocolate Salon, which puts on the annual, international awards and ranking competition of chocolates and confections.
Judges this year included representatives from the San Francisco Professional Food Society, Very Napa Valley Magazine, Wine Country Lifestyle Magazine and the Dying for Chocolate blog.
Raphio’s Clementine Chocolate Bar is manufactured by Fresno’s Raphio Chocolate, but it was created through a collaboration with Madera’s ENZO Olive Oil Company.
Officials with ENZO describe the product as an “artisanal, locally-inspired chocolate bar” made with ethically-sourced cacao beans from Ecuador and ENZO Organic Clementine Crush extra virgin olive oil, made from olives grown north of Herndon mixed with the juice from clementine oranges grown in the Valley.
Vincent Ricchiuti, director of ENZO Olive Oil Company, said making chocolate with olive oil likely seems unusual to some peoples. “It’s definitely a new trend, and very few people are doing it.”
For her part, Elisia Otavi, who owns Raphio Chocolate and runs it with her husband, Yohanes Makmur, said she had discussed a long time ago with Ricchiuti making chocolate with olive oil, but she hadn’t found anyone else who was putting out such a chocolate bar.
As for how the Raphio’s Clementine was created, he said, “I sat down with Yohanes of Raphio Chocolate and his wife, and we tasted different chocolate recipes,” each with different ratios of olive oil and cacao, until they hit on the best one.
He added that the olive oil makes for a softer chocolate, though Raphio’s process of tempering the chocolate preserves the “snap” that people like in chocolate bars.
The olive oil brings a smooth, buttery note to the flavor of the chocolate bar, while a hint of the clementine oranges infused with the oil also adds to the chocolate’s flavor, making it “the best chocolate bar I’ve had,” Ricchiuti said.
In fact, the chocolate bar came out so well that Raphio and ENZO and are working on a new one made with extra virgin olive oil.
If all this makes you crave a Raphio’s Clementine Chocolate Bar, don’t expect to find any on the candy shelf of a Walgreen’s or at your neighborhood convenience store.
The bars are in limited supply and available only at the following locations:
– ENZO’S TABLE, 1959 N. Willow Ave., Clovis
– Kristina’s Natural Ranch Market, 761 E. Barstow Ave., Fresno
– Kuppa Joy, 518 Clovis Ave, Clovis
– Kuppa Joy, 1900 N. Echo Ave., Fresno
– Kuppa Joy, 6731 N. Cedar Ave., Fresno