From Cacao Pod to Your Cupboard: The Raw Chocolate Process
As I stare at a very luscious looking raw chocolate and orange cake, I realize that I have eaten a lot of raw chocolate and what a journey it goes through before it lands in my kitchen cupboard as cacao powder, cacao nibs and raw chocolate bars.
The Process of Making Raw Chocolate
The most important aspect of making raw chocolate is ensuring that it is in fact raw. The process of manufacturing all chocolate, including raw, involves the grinding of cacao beans. In the case of raw chocolate this grinding process has to be done at a much slower rate. This slow grinding ensures the temperature of the cacao remains under 1150F and also helps the texture of the cacao to be as silken and smooth as regular chocolate, minus all the naughty bits. Slow grinding at low temperatures also keeps all those amazing antioxidants intact and ready for your body to put to good use.
What to look for in a quality off the shelf Raw Chocolate product?
If you are on the run or haven’t got the time to whip up some raw chocolate treats at home, here’s a quick guide of what to look for when purchasing raw chocolate from your local shops:
- See if the whole bean is used – the more parts of the bean used, the more types of antioxidants will be present in the cacao
- Make sure it is cold pressed and the temperature has been kept below 1150F
- Most raw chocolate is sweetened – agave, stevia or maple sugar are fantastic and have a low impact on blood sugar levels
- Stone ground – a large majority of processing plants use metal grinders. You may have to do a bit of investigation but stone ground cacao is a better quality product
It’s always fun to play around with cacao treats at home, but it’s even better that raw chocolate is becoming more available on the run from health food stores, cafes and farmers markets. I’m so excited at the growing availability of raw chocolate and raw food markets. Being a working girl in the city, I’m looking forward to a future of being able to grab more interesting raw food on the run.
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