Black Dinah Chocolatiers — the award-winning, Maine-based makers of signature chocolate truffles and sea salt caramels — has officially changed its name to Ragged Coast Chocolates.
“We believe that Ragged Coast Chocolates pays homage to our hardy island roots while also celebrating Maine’s unique beauty and traditions which we work hard to reflect in our handmade chocolates,” said company co-owner Kate Shaffer.
In June, Shaffer told Candy Industry that George Floyd’s murder, the Black Lives Matter movement and the nationwide protests for racial justice pushed her to change the company’s name. While Black Dinah reflected the fact that the company had been founded on the Maine Island, Isle au Haut, at the base of the Black Dinah Mountain — “Black Dinah” can also refer to a generic term for Black female slaves.
There is no recorded history as to why the Isle au Haut landmark bears the name Black Dinah (also spelled Black Dina on some maps). And the name had caused some confusion from customers once the company moved to the mainland.
Back in June, Shaffer had released a statement about the plans to change the company’s name, saying:
“I have always imagined that if Black Dinah Mountain was named for an actual person or persons, she was strong and powerful and wise. But I’m beginning to understand that it is not my place, nor the place of my brand — perceived or actual — to use her name…for profit or to push my own unrelated agenda.”
The company contracted with Toderico Creative, a Portland-based design company, to create the Ragged Coast Chocolates logo. The new logo features a strong, hand-embellished font and a unique puffin icon.
“Maine is the only state in the U.S. that has puffin nesting sites,” Shaffer said. “We feel that the icon is evocative of how the landscape and food sources in Maine uniquely influence both the look and the fun creative development of our chocolates.”
As part of the new brand launch, Ragged Coast Chocolates is partnering with Friends of Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refuge (FOMCI) for a fourth quarter fundraising campaign to benefit the organization’s work to conserve island nesting sites for seabirds in Maine. Ragged Coast Chocolates will offer a limited edition gift set, which will feature a custom chocolate assortment, a campaign t-shirt and a full-color map of Maine’s seabird nesting islands. A percentage of profits from the gift set will be donated directly to FOMCI.
Kate and Steve Shaffer founded Ragged Coast Chocolates (formerly Black Dinah Chocolatiers) in 2007 on Isle au Haut, Maine. In 2015, the company relocated to Southern Maine, where they continue to work with a small team to create their line of handmade chocolates.
The chocolate company is known for its innovative use of fresh, local ingredients, as well as its commitment to use direct and fair trade chocolates from Latin America.
Ragged Coast Chocolates, awarded two national Good Food Awards and lauded as one of the 10 top chocolatiers in North America by Dessert Professional magazine, has been featured in publications such as Gourmet Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Boston Globe, New York Times, Yankee Magazine and Down East Magazine, among others.