Cacao – Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods. It has been used throughout many cultures for years for health purposes and even used as a high trade commodity.
The cacao fruit tree, also known as Theobroma Cacao, produces cacao pods which are cracked open to release cacao beans. From there, cacao beans can be processed a few different ways.
Cacao butter is the fattiest part of the fruit and makes up the outer lining of the inside of a single cacao bean. It is white in colour and has a rich, buttery texture that resembles white chocolate in taste and appearance.
Cacao butter is removed from the bean during production and the remaining part of the fruit is used to produce raw cacao powder.
Cacao nibs are simply cacao beans that have been chopped up into edible pieces, much like chocolate chips without the added sugars and fats. Cacao nibs contain all of the fibre, fat, and nutrients that the cacao bean does.
Cacao paste comes from cacao nibs that have been slowly heated to preserve the nutrients and are melted into a bark known that is a less-processed form of dark chocolate bars. Cacao paste can be used to make raw vegan desserts or you can just eat it as an indulgent snack by itself!
Cacao powder contains more fibre and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact. Cacao is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fibre, natural carbohydrates, and protein that make it an excellent source of nutrients.