The Raw Side of Chocolate
Posted: Sep 13 2013
When we think about what goes into making a delicious piece of chocolate, one of the first things that comes to mind is cacao nibs being roasted and ground into coco, which in turn is used to make chocolate. A higher percentage of cocoa, when blended with cocoa butter and sugar results in the creation of dark chocolate.
Many love dark chocolate because of its unique bitter-sweet taste, while others prefer to eat dark chocolate for health reasons. If dark chocolates are the healthier chocolates, here is something more fascinating to learn about cacao beans that takes the healthy side of chocolates to a whole new level.
This new trend adopted by several chocolatiers is in fact the use of raw cacao to make chocolate. Wondering how raw cacao can be eaten? Well, when the cacao nibs are roasted at an extremely low temperature (as though they haven’t been roasted at all), they become raw cacao. The raw cacao is powdered to form raw cacao powder, which is then used to make chocolate, rich in antioxidants!
Not to get too scientific, but did you know that cacao beans contain a chemical called flavonoids that are natural antioxidants? By roasting the cacao nibs at a low temperature, the flavonoids are preserved, thereby transferring their medicinal value to the chocolate itself. Now, that is definitely something to keep in mind because one fine day, chocolates will actually be a prescription to cure numerous ailments.
As a matter of fact, antioxidants not only cleanse your system, but also help in digestion, fighting cancer cells and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. According to Silvina Lotito, Ph.D., of the Linus Pauling Institute, proanthocyanidin compounds in cocoa powder can help decrease bad cholesterol. Learn more here - http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/antioxidant-benefits-raw-cacao-3990.html
Of course this should not be a reason to eat enormous portions of chocolate made from raw cacao powder (we wouldn’t want other accidents..); however this opens our eyes and highlights the “health” factor in chocolate. Now that I have covered the theoretical part, here is some practical knowledge. By practical, I mean DON’T MISS OUT ON THE RAW CACAO CHOCOLATE COLLECTION AT GOURMET BOUTIQUE by Antidote – a rather enticing name isn't it? Based in New York, Antidote is made with Arriba cacao beans, cultivated in organic farms in Ecquador. All the bars are gluten free and vegan. I tired Antidote’s Lavender flowers & Red Salt bar, with 84% raw cacao.
I particularly like Antidote’s wrapper. It provides interesting tidbits about the multi-functionality of the bar. The chocolate is divided into 6 easily-breakable squares that have a soft and smooth exterior.
I must say, using raw cacao adds to the already existing robust and raw flavor of dark chocolate. Crushed lavender flowers and red alaea salt are infused in the bar, resulting in a mildly salty yet bitter-sweet after-taste. You will be able to sense the aromatic lavender flowers at certain instances, as you chew the chocolate and when you tear open the wrapping.
Other flavors in Antidote’s collection that are worth exploring include Coffee & Cardamom, Rose Salt & Lemon, Banana & Cayenne and Ginger & Goldenberyy.
I must say they are all antidotes to guilt-free chocolate cravings - any time of the day!