Where Can I Buy Raw Chocolate
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where can i buy raw chocolate
The percentage of cacao, cocoa or dark chocolate on a candy bar tells you how much combined cocoa powder and cocoa butter are present. The specific proportion of each is generally a trade secret of the manufacturer (3).
After harvest, cacao beans are processed to develop flavor and texture. The percentage of cacao, cocoa or dark chocolate listed on a bar generally tells you the total amount of cocoa powder plus cocoa butter.
As such, most of these chocolates will have developed a bit of chocolatey flavor during fermentation, but will still be quite earthy and bitter from lack of roasting. These manufacturers prefer to incorporate natural and non-dairy alternatives to make raw chocolates, which often make them vegan chocolates, as well.
Although raw chocolate can be vegan, the categories are different. Raw chocolate is chocolate made with cacao beans roasted and processed at low temperatures, while vegan chocolate merely foregoes any animal products.
Cacao is a fruit and it grows on a tree in tropical climates. The seeds from that fruit are what we make into chocolate, and after the fruits are harvested and the seeds are collected, the seeds are fermented in massive piles and then dried. These two parallel processes together create the chocolatey flavor we associate with cacao.
The concept of raw chocolate, cacao in its unadulterated state, goes back thousands of years to the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations of Central and South America. At the time, cacao beans were used as a form of currency, and transformed into an important ceremonial beverage.
The 19th century saw several advancements in manufacturing techniques and technology that helped chocolate transition from a beverage into a food. Improvements in flavor and texture also helped increase its popularity, while new machines made it possible to process cacao on a large scale.
Since then, more and more consumers have become more discerning, and place greater value on the healthy qualities of the things they eat and drink. Raw chocolate makers cater to these consumers, who are also generally willing to pay a premium for a healthier alternative.
Proponents and makers of raw chocolate believe that the cold post-processing of cacao makes the chocolate more nutritious, contain more antioxidants, and preserve more theobromine. The lack of unnecessary additives and highly-processed sugar are also helpful for those trying to manage their weight.
Raw chocolate makers claim that the lack of processing also lends to a better expression of the nuanced flavors of cacao. The cold post-processing of cacao during grinding preserves more flavonoids, plant compounds that function as antioxidants and have been shown to improve blood flow & pressure.
Raw chocolate makers tend to make use of natural sweeteners rather than refined sugar. This is because more studies are revealing that sugar has an increasingly negative impact on health than previously thought. Higher blood pressure, systemic inflammation, weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver disease are effects associated with sugar intake, and are all linked to an increased risk of heart attack.
Either too short fermentation time or insufficient flavor precursors may affect the taste, fragrance, and color of the cacao. The opposite is also true, where over-fermentation leads to a rise in bacilli and filamentous fungi that can cause off-flavors. Unfermented cacao lacks the flavor and color necessary for making chocolate, which is why the flavor of raw chocolate is often compared to dirt.
Furthermore, the required drying process exposes the beans to temperatures between 158- 176F (70-80C), and reduces built-up moisture & acidity. As these two key post-harvest steps are inescapable, the claims that raw chocolate is even raw are questionable.
But is raw chocolate really healthy, or could it be a dangerous addition to your diet? Does it have a place in fine chocolate? And is it even raw? Take a look at the expert opinions on raw cacao and chocolate.
Greg tells me that the Fine Cacao and Chocolate Institute (FCCI) and the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) are together trying to establish a raw bean evaluation methodology to create consistency in quality. He highlights that this is why the fine chocolate industry needs a new model.
Some brands use unroasted cacao in their chocolate for its flavor profile. However, others highlight its health benefits. Keeping the cacao below 118F/48C preserves more nutrients than traditional processing.
SUSTAINABILITY at its core. Using real ingredients and direct trade with our farmers as well as chocolate made at cacao origin, plus it's good for you. That is a sustainable live cycle for all involved.
Even once the unfermented and unroasted cacao is put into the grinder, it runs the risk of heating above the temperatures for raw chocolate. Similar to how many of those volatile acids were formed, the cacao must be heated to high temperatures during grinding in order to drive off the volatile acids which make chocolate taste sour or astringent. Beyond the issues with cacao are the sweeteners used in raw chocolate. Most sweeteners must be heated above the raw threshold in order to remove excess moisture and concentrate the sweetness. Adding a wet sweetener such as honey would cause chocolate to seize, ruining the texture of the chocolate and making it difficult to mold into bars.
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This quick guide is meant to restore the artery-clogging and fat-gaining reputation of chocolate. You will learn the most important facts about raw chocolate including its impressive health benefits1, where to buy it, and how to incorporate this superfood into your diet.
Cacao (kacow) is the raw, unprocessed form of chocolate.2 These untreated seeds referred to as cacao beans can be considered a superfood offering a wealth of antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals.
If you are already not a fan of very dark chocolate which has similar bitterness, I would recommend you try dipping the whole beans or nibs in honey or agave nectar and freeze them for a great snack! If dipping in a sweetener is still not sweet enough for your palate, your best bet is to throw some of the cacao powder into smoothies, protein drinks, etc. and you should be able to mask the bitterness pretty well. I tend to notice that the recognizable chocolate scent and taste is released more and more as I break the beans up.
I understand that raw chocolate may not be for everyone, but I find that the earthy taste is just a reminder its rawness and purity, and I love knowing that I am eating something packed with nutrients!
There is a natural component found in both raw and processed chocolate known as theobromine. This chemical is a vasodilator, responsible for many cardiovascular benefits such as improved blood pressure and circulation. With your advanced condition and complications of acid reflux, increased levels of theobromine and smooth muscle relaxation (of LES) may be of concern.
Wow, that is some great info! Thanks! I have a question, what if you are having a hard time consuming raw chocolate? Have any ideas to not make it so bitter to get used to it, but a healthy way? Thanks, Heather
I would recommend you try dipping the whole beans or nibs in honey or agave nectar and freeze them for a great snack! If dipping in a sweetener is still not sweet enough for your palate, your best bet is to throw some of the cacao powder into smoothies, protein drinks, etc. and you should be able to mask the bitterness pretty well. I tend to notice that the recognizable chocolate scent and taste is released more and more as I break the beans up.
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