FINE & RAW BUSHWICK LOVE PARTY
This sub-zero Valentine’s weekend, we kept warm at the third annual Bushwick Love Party, an event co-hosted by Fine & Raw Chocolate and Little Skips. Held at F&R’s factory on Seigel just around the corner from Roberta’s, the vibe was Willy Wonka throws a rave — crushed velvet and silver pleather were everywhere and tons of partygoers were sporting ties in their hair that lit up like an LA Lights sneaker.
In one corner a Wednesday Addams look-alike sipped Sorachi Ace (Brooklyn Brewery provided beer for the event — the Brooklyn Brown Ale made a perfect chocolate pairing) while an old man in an Adidas hoodless was on the other side of the room, losing his shit on the dance floor. Color-changing string lights hung down straight from the ceiling over the dance floor like icicles, and a petite girl in 5-inch disco ball platforms was strutting her glitter-loving self across the lofted balcony.
Tying all this festivity together was the musk of raw cacao, wafting out of spinning conchas on the factory floor, churning away future batches of chocolate all night long (they were roped off, thankfully, to avoid nosey folks like myself scooping cupped hands in for a taste).
Though you wouldn’t guess it mingling around the warehouse dance party, this rager is actually a fundraiser at its core. It was started three years ago as a collaboration between the founder of Fine & Raw Daniel Sklaar and Hector Marcel of the 108 Lives project. 108 Lives is an organization that began as an effort to improve the lives of 108 beggars in Kathmandu, Nepal and has grown into a foundation that builds soup kitchens and schools in Nepal, and regularly sends volunteers to orphanages and medical clinics there.
The factory bathroom is wallpapered with photos taken on Daniel’s many trips to Nepal with Fine & Raw staffers, mostly featuring the kids they spend time with there. The evening’s agenda included auctioning off a trip to Nepal, a performance by exotic belly dancer Valerie Levine, several DJ sets, and burlesque dancer Hazel shaking her nipple tassles to the tune of Peggy Lee’s “Why Don’t You Do Right.” In past years, the party has included photo booths, kissing booths, art auctions, and live weddings.
F&R traffics in chocolate bars usually, but in honor of the holiday they were serving truffles from their Valentines confection boxes. We sampled the Raspberry Rose, Hazelnut, and Black and White truffles, the last of which combines their classic dark chocolate with their bizarro White Candy — a dark beige confection that tastes like caramel, brown butter, and the tropics. It’s made with coconut and lucuma, a sweet avocado-looking fruit native to South America.
This year like the ones before, and hopefully the many more to come, Fine & Raw sent everyone home with flecks of black light body paint on their skin, glitter in their hair, and a chocolate smell that won’t quit ‘til laundry day, thick in their party clothes.