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  • Writer's pictureLindsey Walsh

Consider Earth-Loving Chocolate as Guest Favors

Vendor | River-Sea Chocolates

Lindsey's Pick | Rum Caramel Milk Chocolate

Use | Wedding Guest Favors or Bridal Party Favors

Price | About $2.33 per




Looking for sustainable gift ideas for your upcoming wedding?


Are you planning an upcoming event and looking for a fun way to thank your guests? Chocolate is absolutely a proven winner when it comes to wedding takeaways.


Are you and your friends total foodies who want chocolate that can stand up to your exceptional pallet?


Or, are you looking for artisan chocolates that match your wedding colors and aesthetic?



Maybe you're realizing weddings are expensive and you'd like to see those dollars go to local socially conscious and environmentally friendly small businesses.


Luckily River-Sea Chocolates has you covered. This Chantilly, VA-based chocolatier offers beautifully handcrafted truffles and small batch chocolate that are made on-site. Having been there myself, I promise their taste and look are worthy of any Growing Wild wedding!


The Rum Caramel chocolates were particularly mouth-watering, I might add.


For guest gifts, I could see two options working well:


  • Mini Sampler Box - This box comes with an assortment of 12 individually and beautifully hand-wrapped chocolates. Vegan chocolate is available as an option. Priced at $29.99, this option comes in at around $2.33 a bar.



  • Truffle Box - This box comes with 15 hand-crafted truffles that are individual works of art. They are beautiful to look at by themselves and make a stunning array of colors when together. Check out their gallery of truffles to see for yourself. Priced at $34.99, this option is also about $2.33 a truffle, but they are not individually wrapped.

What about bridal party favors?


Looking for a fun way to thank your bridal party? Would you like to create a new experience you can do together that feels inclusive for junior bridesmaids or mothers-to-be? Try their self-guided chocolate-tasting kits. Priced at $39.99 for one, or $300 for 10, these kits are a sweet way to say thank you to the people you love most.


Here's what they say about their kits:



Makes a great introduction to the amazing world of craft chocolate, or a wonderful gift. This tasting kit comes with everything you need to sit down and enjoy a selection of some of the best chocolate in the world. Get 5 full bars (60g), palate-cleansing crackers, and tasting instructions that detail the story of each bar.


Wine Pairings

Generally, our experience shows that Merlot Is a very versatile wine for any Dark Chocolate, it has slightly higher tannins but otherwise subtle, rounded flavor. This is one that we love for matching with the chocolates: Fableist Merlot.


For white wine pairing, we recommend a Riesling, Prosecco, or other demi-sweet sparkling wine. Those go well with milk and lighter chocolates. We particularly like Baci Dolci Blonde Moscato.


How did I find River-Seas Chocolates?


I first learned about River-Seas when my daughter's Girl Scouts troop visited their factory for a hands-on tour. During the tour, the girls got to learn all about cocoa pods and how chocolate is made.


While there I met Krissee the owner/founder and we got to talking.


As she told me their story first-hand, I instantly thought "I love this place! I wonder if people know about it."



That conversation was part of the genesis for this blog. I thought there are probably lots of couples out there who would love to offer these chocolates at their wedding but have no idea this tiny sustainable artisan chocolate factory is so close by.


The Origin Story


As the girls were peeling husks from cocoa pods, one of them asked why there were so many sloths around the shop. Krissee explained that when she and her family were traveling in Brazil (her husband is Brazilian), they saw a sloth trying to cross the road very slowly. They chose to save the sloth and help it get to the other side. That trip was when they decided to open a chocolate company and the sloth became their mascot.


Well. As I am also a small-business owner, who is also married to a Brazilian and have also saved a sloth from a too-slow road crossing, this launched Krissee and me into a full conversation.


Krissee shared that years ago when the economy tanked, she and her husband were both laid off around the same time. In what must have been a very scary decision, they decided to use this time to spend three months traveling through northern Brazil with their three kids.


During the trip, their 13-year-old son climbed a cocoa tree and picked a pod. Then, they went back to the home of the family they were staying with and attempted to make chocolate from scratch. Krissee and her husband Mariano fell in love with it and decided their passion was chocolate.


Once they returned to the United States, they continued working towards this goal and in 2019 opened River-Seas Chocolate. Today, both Krissee and Mariano are 100% focused on making sustainable artisan chocolates. I didn't get to meet Mariano that day as he was out at a chocolate festival.

Their Practices


Single Origin, Direct Trade

River-Seas Chocolates has direct relationships with individual growing communities. Unlike most chocolate makers, they believe chocolate has a terroir much like wine and they want to preserve that uniqueness in the chocolate. This is why they offer single-origin chocolate bars.

They source cocoa from small farmers in:

  • Saraca Island - Brazil

  • La Colonia - Nicaragua

  • Kilombero Valley - Tanzania

  • Dak Nog - Vietnam

  • Vanua Levu - Fiji

  • Anamalai - India

  • Chumphon Collective - Thailand

  • Santa Marta - Colombia


Verified Toxin Free

In addition to working very closely with their supply chain, Krissee and Mariano have their chocolate tested in labs for toxicities. As Krissee said, "We literally eat chocolate every day. We want it to be safe." As someone who also cares about toxins in food, I appreciate that they do this and publish the results on their website.


Wind-Powered Shipping

Beyond direct-trade with sustainable growers, River-Seas Chocolates uses sustainable shipping via wind-powered sailboats when possible. When we were chatting, she pointed to a stack of cocoa bags on the ground and explained they had come to the US from the Dominican Republic on the Avontuur on December 15th, 2022.


There are only 4 sail cargo ships in use today and River-Seas is committed to helping increase that.


When I cocked my eyebrow upon hearing about the sail cargo, Krissee assured me "They're good for the dolphins." Clearly, this was sufficient justification.



*Video is in German


Small-Batch Artisan Chocolates

We were visiting on a Sunday when the factory was closed and the team had the day off. Krissee showed us the machines and walked us through the husking, roasting, hand tempering and molding process.


When they first opened up, they found a used rotisserie oven and had a welder repurpose it into a roaster for chocolate.


Then she introduced us to all of the machines. Clearly, at River-Seas they always look for the joy in things and named each machine after a Marvel character. So, we met Captain America, Gamora, and Storm amongst others.


Lastly, she showed us the end product and everyone got to wrap a mini-bar by hand.




River-Seas offers a delicious and beautiful way to make any wedding a bit more eco-friendly.


Kirssee and Mariano have dedicated themselves to reducing the carbon footprint of chocolate and having an environmental impact. I wish this lovely couple all the best!


Until next time, I'll be digging in the dirt!


All the best,


Lindsey



 

Farm 2 Altar


This blog is a passion project where we explore all the earth-loving potential of weddings. Think of this as a fun and light-hearted place to find inspiration and ideas.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

- Lindsey & Barbara


Growing Wild Floral Co |Sustainably-minded Wedding Florist | growingwild@msn.com
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