Time to talk about cacao

March 13, 2018 7:28 am Published by 2 Comments

It’s getting ever-closer to Easter: at Naturally Good Food, that means that it’s time to talk about cacao! Often confused with (or mis-spelt as) cocoa, cacao is at the base of all things chocolatey. We thought we’d have a look at just what it is – and equally, just what it isn’t.

From cacao, we get cocoa. Which is best?

It all starts with cacao beans…

It all starts with beans

Cacao beans are the seeds of the cacao tree, which grows in a narrow band up to 20 degrees of latitude both north and south of the Equator (it’s called the Chocolate Belt, or Cocoa Belt). The beans have been consumed for centuries, in various forms, becoming popular in Europe from around the mid-17th century.

From cacao beans, we get all manner of delicious things: cacao nibs, cacao butter, cacao powder and cacao paste (sometimes known as cacao mass). These are all ‘raw’ products and are much sought-after by those who want food that’s not been altered by heating.

At Naturally Good Food, we stock cacao nibs, cacao butter (in blocks, tubs and drops), cacao powder and cacao paste. Some of these products are designed to be nibbled just as they are (cacao nibs, for instance, make a great addition to trail mix or muesli). Others are ingredients, either for general cooking (like cacao butter) or for making chocolate goodies.

All our cacao products are part of our Superfoods range; they come from brands like BonPom and Aduna, which specialise in ‘super’ nutritious foodstuffs. They’re essentially health foods (at least, unless you start adding loads of sugar to them)! High in antioxidants – especially the heart-protecting oleic acid – and rich in minerals including magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese, cacao is believed to have positive effects on the immune and cardiovascular systems, to protect against strokes, and to lower insulin resistance and blood pressure.

It’s not cocoa though…

Cacao is different to cocoa. Cocoa is cacao that’s been roasted at a high temperature, changing the molecular structure of the bean and reducing its nutritional value. It does result in a sweeter product, which explains why it’s cocoa, rather than cacao, that you’ll find in sweet treats on supermarket shelves.

We recommend cacao, for the best health benefits.

Cocoa – or cacao?

We stock both cocoa and cacao at Naturally Good Food. For a real, direct, chocolatey hit, we recommend cacao. Nibble our dark nibs, use our smooth, velvety cacao butter to make your own chocolate, or mix our raw cacao powder into a drink or dessert. It’s chocolate that’s good for you – and it doesn’t get much better than that!

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This post was written by Yzanne


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