Not only does raw chocolate taste great, it can also be very good for you. Sounds like a chocoholics’ dream doesn’t it? But let’s quickly qualify that statement. The key word is “raw” and it is raw cacao that is making the headlines as a potential superfood.
Cacao is the raw, unprocessed cousin of Cocoa. Cocoa is produced by roasting at high temperatures. This roasting changes the molecular structure of the beans, destroying their enzymes.
However if the un-fermented beans are dried ,fermented & processed at a temperature considered by experts to not change the “raw” quality of the bean the antioxidants and nutrients are retained. To achieve this is more difficult than it sounds and truly raw cacao can only effectively be made by cold processing un-roasted cocoa beans using special machinery.
Chaiguy supplier Big Tree Farms , makes this truly raw cacao, with extensive tests showing that temperatures are kept below what is considered the raw threshold at all stages of the process. They do this using special cold processing technology that Big Tree Farm’s Ben Ripple said has taken over four years to develop, They became the first company in the world to produce a truly raw cold processed organic cacao powder and butter ( & still are the only one ).
You can see the unique process for yourself as renowned raw foodie (and chocolate lover!) David Wolfe takes us into the Big Tree Farm manufacturing site in Bali, Indonesia and talks to Ben. David shows us how Big Tree Farms works with small farmers on the island and basic technology to produce genuine, raw cacao. Not only does Big Tree Farms work hard to produce genuine raw cacao, they also pay small farmers on the island a decent living wage for their labour and produce.
David Wolfe is just one of many raw food advocates who has been promoting raw cacao as a superfood for a number of years. The nutrients contained in raw cacao include:
Antioxidants — Helps protect the body from disease caused by free radicals . Studies by Cornell University have shown that raw cacao powder contains twice the antioxidant content of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidant content of green tea.
Minerals — Raw Cacao is rich in essential minerals.
Magnesium — Contains healthy amounts of magnesium, a key requirement for excellent heart health.
Theobromine — Raw cacao is also rich in theobromine, which helps pump blood around the body. There are a number of health claims made about theobromine, including that it improves circulation and can treat depression.
There are now a number of credible scientific studies that show the value of foods high in antioxidants. However there are a number of cacao products being sold that label themselves as being “raw” but are in fact being heated to a temperature which kills antioxidants. It takes special processing equipment and an investment of time and energy to keep the cacao from being cooked and therefore losing the precious antioxidants.
This is guaranteed by Big Tree Farms.