When Christina (“Weena”) Hedrick set out to start a raw-chocolate company, she nearly named it “Weena’s Good for You Goodies,” but soon nixed the idea. “Some people don’t think chocolate is healthy, so I didn’t want to get into that debate,” she says. She opted instead for a friend’s suggestion of “Crubom” (a combo of the Portuguese words for “raw” and “good”), though that moniker didn’t stave off the inevitable chocolate nitpickers. At Barton Creek Farmers Market, where she’s run a weekly booth since 2015, she sometimes has to deal with the question of how any so-called “raw chocolate” can be truly raw, given that it’s gone through minimal processing. She sometimes jests that it’s either this, or pure cacao beans knocking around in a bag.
Her customers with food allergies certainly aren’t complaining, though. Hedrick began making raw chocolate for her daughter and husband to avoid their assorted allergies and other health problems. She soon found an eager clientele of people in the same boat; they (and even regular old chocoholics) appreciate an allergen-free chocolate that still tastes good. “There’s a stigma about raw chocolate that it has to be grainy and yucky because it’s a health food,” Hedrick says.
Working out of her home and an industrial kitchen, Hedrick mixes her boms—chocolate golf balls of goodness—with pink Himalayan sea salt, ginger, lemon zest, hemp seed, bee pollen, coconut, basil and any other ingredients she dreams up (bacon and coffee, anyone?). She sells chocolate bars at the farmers market and the boms and spreadable chocolate in jars at Austin shops such as Tiny Taiga, Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, River City Market, Thom’s Market and The Sated Sheep in Dripping Springs.
With a second child on the way and a nutritional science degree at University of Texas halfway finished, Hedrick and her husband/business partner, Tim, aren’t in a hurry to expand Crubom too much. “We like keeping it small,” she says. Still, she’s always open to special orders of chocolate boxes for birthdays, holidays and weddings.
Although Hedrick crafts more complex creations for loyal customers from a “secret menu,” she’s an open-source chocolatier who’s done two raw-chocolate workshops with Austin Learnshop. She plans to do more workshops to demystify the art of raw chocolate. “We would love to see more people making raw chocolate,” she says. “There’s plenty of room for it to spread.” —Steve Wilson
For more information, visit crubom.com or call 915-253-7494.
By Steve Wilson