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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Healthier Options with Raphio Chocolate

Apr 29, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

For the Love of Chocolate

May 2019
Story by Jasmyne Robles
Photos by Rhonna Torres

RAPHIO CHOCOLATE in Fresno is a great example of what happens when love, health and passion collide with the world of chocolate. First created as a chocolate factory, owners Elisia Otavi and Yohanes Makmur opened the shop in December 2017. Otavi runs the day-to-day operations, and the name is a combination of their sons’ names – Raphael and Rio.

Raphio sells a wide variety of homemade pure chocolate composed of healthier ingredients, which are minimally processed and uniquely flavored. Otavi says her inspiration for the company started when she saw a need for healthier treats for her sons. “The same chocolate that I make and feed to my own children is what I am comfortable selling,” she says.

All 15 chocolate bars are organic and made from scratch, all the way down to hand-molding and wrapping each bar individually. Products sold at Raphio Chocolate are composed of three main ingredients: organic cacao beans, organic cane sugar and a touch of organic cacao butter. And their efforts have been rewarded – they earned the Good Food Award 2019 for their 72% Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Bar, described as such: “It is an intricately complex chocolate bar in terms of layers of flavors. Very subtle to start with. As the chocolate melts, the cocoa butter and olive oil starts delivering a nice honey-like dark chocolate from the Tanzanian cacao beans and a shy introduction of the Meyer lemon zest. This flavor, however, gets stronger as the chocolate melts more. Then the peak comes in pleasantly with the lemon burst. The dark chocolate accompanies your taste buds along the way to finish with the silky-smooth olive oil. As you could expect from real craft chocolate, it lingers in your mouth for a good few minutes, long after the chocolate is gone.”

Raphio was also honored by the International Chocolate Salon in San Francisco for the Clementine Olive Oil Bar, and at the Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.

Because teamwork makes the dream work, Otavi collaborates with other local businesses by using their products to make some of their bars. Partners include local farmer Enzo Olive Oil, local coffee roaster Kuppa Joy and Ficklin Vineyards, which provides the port wine for Raphio’s chocolate bonbons. Local breweries Tioga Sequoia Tioga and Full Circle Brewery use Raphio’s cocoa nibs in their brews.

The storefront offers chocolate factory tours, where guests can also enjoy hot chocolate and mochas. Their products are sold at the factory and at other retailers, as well.

“Cocoa is one of the superfoods that contains a very high level of antioxidants and has good minerals for your heart and brain,” Otavi explains. Eliminating fillers and additives when producing chocolate and adding more beneficial ingredients can have a positive impact.

So the next time you consider satisfying your cravings with some chocolate, you might not have to feel so guilty about it. •

Raphio Chocolate •783 East Barstow Avenue G, Fresno

(559) 424-3369 •

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