For the love of chocolate: Tracy Oniya’s raw chocolate

It’s just about the healthiest gourmet chocolate on the market – and it’s made right here on Orcas.

Tracy Oniya created her own raw chocolate after looking for it online and finding it was not very affordable. After several test runs, she created a chocolate that has seven times more antioxidants than other varieties.

“I like to create stuff,” Oniya said. “I like to find a problem and fix it. I was eating raw food, but I couldn’t find a strictly raw chocolate that wasn’t expensive. So I made some myself.”

She sold her “Rustic and Raw” chocolate at the holiday fair last fall, and was met with positive response. Local restaurant erb’s expressed interest in carrying the product, and Oniya has been selling her $3 chocolate bars there ever since.

She uses erb’s commercial kitchen to make batches of the 80 percent cacao chocolate, which has raw cocoa butter and cocoa powder, Celtic sea salt, and turbinado sugar, among other ingredients. Everything in the chocolate is organic.

“Why go for raw if you aren’t going to do organic too?” Oniya said.

After melting the chocolate at 110 degrees (it loses raw status at 116 degrees) and finishing up a batch, she immediately refrigerates or freezes it. As it is 100 percent raw, it needs to be kept in the refrigerator, otherwise it will “bloom” and lose its flavor and texture. Because Oniya doesn’t get the chocolate hot enough to melt the sugar, her bars have a more granular texture, although she’s found other cooking methods to make it more smooth.

Making chocolate isn’t Oniya’s main focus. She is a construction worker by trade as well as an artist – she recently began rock sculpting. Oniya is thinking about having her chocolate standardized by the FDA, which would give the product a barcode, a production facility, and nutritional information, but says it’s not a priority.

“I’m a creator, not a sustainer. I wouldn’t mind selling the recipe to someone and they can develop the product,” she said.

Oniya is no longer eating raw, as the local chef who was making her meals has since moved away, but she says her body felt its best while eating an 80 percent raw diet.

“When I woke up in the morning, I was wide awake. But to eat raw you have to make food the focus of your life. It takes paying attention.”

To buy Tracy Oniya’s chocolate in bulk ($30 for 15 bars), call her at 376-5682 or email taoniya@gmail.com