Dark Chocolate Versus Raw Cacao Chocolate

When we started our chocolate company about 4 years ago, I knew the foundation of our chocolate had to be organic raw cacao.  I wanted to preserve the natural nutrients, antioxidants, and flavonoids.  Having been an overachiever all my life, I thrive on being the best, doing the best I can, and tackling challenges that seem impossible. When I ventured to teach myself how to make chocolate, why did I choose Raw Cacao? For this, you have to understand the quick history of chocolate.

For thousands of years (yes thousands), before the Europeans discovered the love of chocolate, Meso-America considered chocolate beans “the food of the Gods”. Cocoa beans were a form of currency, used to heal sicknesses, and ground up into a bitter drink.  It was used to treat coughs, respiratory challenges, fatigue, stomach problems, kidney issues, and even gout.  A long list surrounds the medicinal uses.

I absolutely love that in its pure form, chocolate is one of the highest sources of antioxidants and magnesium.  I am not surprised that it was used to heal sickness, reduce fevers, and help many remedies.  

Eat your fruits and vegetables through our chocolate.  Say what?

Stay with me.  As we know, fruits and vegetables are good for us, right? We are supposed to eat more of them because they contain healing properties, and health for our body.

Did you know that Chocolate actually began as a fruit, plucked from a Cacao Tree?  The Tree grows colorful fruit pods the size of footballs.  Inside there is a meshy fruit pulp and SEEDS.  These seeds are cocoa beans, which are dried and ground up into what we know as chocolate. 

Research is consistently demonstrating significant results and health benefits from raw cacao.  

Let’s go back to those cocoa seeds.  In the process of making traditional dark chocolate, the seeds are roasted at very high temperatures.  The variations in temperature and roasting is similar to what you may know about coffee beans.

What do you think happens to the nutrients of the cocoa bean seeds when they are roasted? Yes, at such high temperatures, many of the profound nutrients are neutralized, minimized, or lost in the process.  Reducing or removing healthy flavonoids, pulls away from the origins of the original healing seeds.

The “dutching” process also changes the color and taste. To make matters worse, during the dutching process, your typical dark chocolate, is also treated with an alkalizing agent/chemical.  

Why stop there?  In addition, the process of your typical dark chocolate then adds emulsifiers, lecithins, milk, refined sugars, oils, artificial flavors, and further alleviates the nutritional benefits. 

I researched and studied the health benefits of so many things, including dark chocolate.  Honestly, I couldn’t quite handle the bitter taste and quickly learned dark chocolate was an acquired taste.  Yikes!  What I found was that there are still some benefits to dark chocolate, but the benefits in Raw Cacao Chocolate blows it out of the water.  According to the ORAC scale, which measures antioxidant potency, Raw Cacao has potentially 7x the amount of antioxidants compared with your typical dark chocolate. It is significantly higher in antioxidants than red wine, green tea, and berries. I had to go with this!  Cold-pressed, non-roasted, high antioxidant, non-alkalized, became “the Amy Way” to make pure chocolate. 

With my background in nutrition, I had to do something different with our chocolate.  I didn’t want to make your typical processed dark chocolate.  That’s when I decided it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears (all have been involved, wearing food gloves, or course), to make it my way, “the Amy Way”.

I am asked if I get tired of my chocolate.  Truth is, before I originated my recipes, I actually didn’t like the taste of the typical, processed chocolates. Now, I love chocolate, but it just has to be my chocolate; made from organic, cold-pressed, raw cacao! I made it so my husband, kids, and I could enjoy eating it without the processed stuff.  I think I make so many different recipes and flavors to keep my “foodie self” happy, with lots of variety.  Knowing it is higher in antioxidants, flavonoids, and isn’t dutched, makes me feel justified to eat a whole delicious box! 

-Amy

There is so much out there, but here are a few Chocolate Articles and Research Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_process_chocolate

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3708337/

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