What is cacao?
Cacao (kah-KOW!) is like a unicorn – it’s chocolate – but it is good for you. Like REALLY good for you. However, unlike a unicorn, it’s totally real. Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the nutrients in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter – which is a post for another day!). Compare that to the more well known cocoa, which is raw cacao that is then roasted at high temperates which destroy the nutritional content in it
Why is cacao good for me?
Cacao is full of flavonoids, which act as natural antioxidants – it has so many antioxidants that it is called a superfood and is probably better for you than most multi-vitamins! It is also rich in magnesium, an energy mineral and vital electrolyte which is excellent for your skin and maintaining energy levels. Further, cacao is full of phenylethylamine and serotonin which makes you happy! They also say cacao acts as a appetite suppressant and as an aphrodisiac – to that I say duh! Girls love chocolate… so give a girl some raw cacao cake and they might be willing to do anything.
Where to get cacao from:
Generally you get what you pay for so I would avoid most super market brands and pay a little more for the boutique labels such as Loving Earth which can be found in most Melbourne health food stores. Not only is the quality better but I find that if you buy in bulk you can end up paying less than at the supermarket.
What to look for:
Raw and organic are best for optimum nutritional benefits.
How to use cacao:
Raw cacao is great used in a lot of raw treats such a raw brownies, raw cacao icing, raw chocolate cake and so much more!
As cacao is ruined by heat, it is best to keep using it in raw treats only or only heating a little bit. If you are going to bake it or put it in super hot temperatures you might as well use regular dark cocoa.
You can find delicious recipes with cacao here.