Botanical Name: Theobroma cacao (pronounce kah-kow)
Country of Origin: Ecuador
Production: After the ripe pod has been cut from the tree, it is opened, the rind discarded, and the pulp and seeds laid out for several days. During this time the pulp liquefies or “sweats” and fermentation starts, which softens the bitter taste and helps to unlock the full aroma of the cacao bean. This fermentation process is usually followed by gently roasting the beans to enhance the chocolate aroma. The beans are then crushed and their thin skins removed so that only pieces or “nibs” remain. Cacao nibs are then ground into a thick brown liquid called cacao paste (aka cacao mass or liquor) which is made up of cacao butter (55-60%) and suspended fine cacao particles. This cacao paste is subsequently pressed until it separates into cacao butter and a cacao “cake” which is then ground to produce cacao powder.
Qualities: Cacao powder has the lowest fat content compared to all other cacao products. Cacao is believed to contain high amounts of antioxidants such as flavonoids, and many other nutrients and minerals like stearic and oleic fatty acid, anandamide (the bliss chemical), theobromine, manganese, zinc, copper, sulfur, PEA, and tryptophan. The list of cacao’s acclaimed health benefits is lengthy and includes anti-inflammatory and heart-protective properties, calming hormones, restoration of feelings of well-being, increased energy, fighting chronic fatigue, anti-aging, and appetite-suppressing properties, improved kidney and cognitive functions, skin and tooth protection, and more. No surprise the Incas considered cacao to the “drink of the gods” which gave rise to the scientific name of the cacao tree Theobroma cacao, theo, meaning god, and broma meaning drink. Cacao has been cultivated in Ecuador since the 17th century and was the main product of export up until the 1920s.
Common Use: Cacao powder can be enjoyed in countless recipes and food preparations, raw, cooked or baked, sweet or savory…however you want to experience the uniquely wonderful taste of chocolate.
Storage: Best kept at room temperatures around 20C (68F), away from direct sunlight, protected from moisture, and tightly sealed.
Safety: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the CFIA or FDA. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This product has been packaged in the same facility as peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, and other potential allergens.
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