Originating from the tropical rainforests of Central and South America, cacao has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Respected by ancient civilisations such as the Mayans and Aztecs, cacao holds a special place in both culinary and cultural traditions.
Let's dive into the fascinating origins and explore the incredible benefits this beloved superfood has to offer.
Cacao, scientifically known as ‘Theobroma Cacao’, literally translates to "food of the gods."
The ancient people believed that cacao was a divine gift, bestowing them with vitality and wisdom. Native to regions such as Mexico, Central America, and parts of South America, cacao trees thrive in the warm, humid climates of these areas.
From Bean to Bar…
The journey of cacao begins with the small, colourful pods that grow on the cacao tree. Inside these pods lie cacao beans, which are the key ingredient used to create chocolate. The beans undergo a complex process of fermentation, drying, roasting, and grinding to unlock their incredible flavours and nutritional properties.
We use sun dried, unroasted cacao for making our chocolate and maintain temperatures below 42 °C during production so this way it retains its healthful properties in their purest form.
Beyond its delectable taste, cacao is renowned for its numerous health benefits. Packed with antioxidants, minerals like magnesium and iron, and flavonoids, cacao is believed to promote cardiovascular health, improve mood, and boost cognitive function. Its natural compounds may even have potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
"Does Cacao contain Caffeine?”
The short answer is that cacao doesn’t contain any caffeine.
But that’s not the full story…
Cacao contains something called Theobromine (which is actually what makes cacao bad for dogs).
This theobromine, which is entirely natural, can act in a similar way to caffeine and may even set off caffeine detectors.
There are some big differences between theobromine and caffeine:
- Mood boosting positive effect.
- Gentle, mild, with a slow onset.
- Fast acting energy booster.
- Intense, strong, and short-lived effect.
- Can be addictive.
Theobromine in cacao is gentle, mild, has a slow onset, and is non-addictive. Whereas, caffeine, as you may well know, can hit you within 20 minutes, is intense, strong, fast acting and short lived – as well as being somewhat addictive for those reasons. The good thing about theobromine, is that it’s not going to keep you up at night in the same way as caffeine, so a hot chocolate is a perfectly fine way to end the day and unwind.
Cacao as nature intended.
Today, cacao has become an integral part of various culinary delights, ranging from decadent chocolates and desserts to nourishing smoothies and savoury dishes. Its versatility and unique flavour profile make it a beloved ingredient among food enthusiasts and health-conscious individuals alike. You can view our cacao recipes for ideas on how to use cacao or grab yourself a chocolate making kit.
So, whether you indulge in a piece of dark chocolate, enjoy a velvety cacao smoothie, or experiment with cacao-infused recipes, remember the ancient roots and remarkable benefits that this humble bean carries. Join the journey into the world of cacao and discover the delightful treasures it has to offer! Try it for yourself today and find out why it is called the “food of the gods”.