Bean To Bar Blog
What is Raw Chocolate?
A great rule of thumb for all writers is to pick a topic that you’re passionate about and for us, that’s easy – raw chocolate. You see all chocolate starts life as cacao beans, but they certainly don’t all get treated in the same way. Most mass produced chocolate has come a long way from the natural purity of the original bean.
When you think about the difference between raw and standard chocolate, it’s a bit like comparing freshly squeezed orange juice to fizzy orange soda.
To make most chocolate bars cacao beans are fermented and then roasted at a high temperature, which changes their molecular structure and reduces their nutritional value. They are then ground down, pressed and mixed with fat, sugar and, often dairy and artificial additives.
That’s no way to treat the original superfood.
RAW CHOCOLATE BENEFITS
Cacao is rich in fibre and contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. It’s high in organic compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins making it one of the richest sources of antioxidants on the planet. Flavanols and polyphenols have powerful prebiotic benefits helping to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Cacao can also help to lower blood pressure and there is evidence that suggests that eating dark chocolate regularly may help to protect against heart disease. That’s probably because it has been shown to lower unhealthy (LDL) cholesterol, and increase healthy (HDL) cholesterol.
In raw chocolate the cacao beans are left to dry naturally, retaining most of their natural goodness, making the healthiest chocolate possible.
That’s not where the story ends though, as cacao beans are just the start of any chocolate bar. Typically, chocolate is sweetened using refined sugar, and often the natural cocoa butter is replaced by hydrogenated oils, neither of which is great for you.
Mass produced chocolate often contains emulsifiers, which make it easier to process, and artificial flavours may be used in favour of more expensive natural infusions, so synthetic vanillin might be used in place of the pure Madagascan Vanilla used in our bars.
Our bars are sweetened using crystallised nectar from Palmyra tree blossom. This sweet, caramel flavoured jaggery is completely natural and is widely used in Ayurvedic medicine for its beneficial nutritional properties. It contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6 and VITAMIN B12. It also has a low GI and a fructose content of only 3%, which is minimal relative to coconut sugar that is 40% fructose.
WHAT IS A RAW CHOCOLATE BAR?
Sticking to our promise to keep our bars as pure and healthy as possible, they contain no dairy, gluten, soya or emulsifiers. In fact anything we do add has to be as pure as the cacao beans we use, so all our fruit and nuts are organic and we use coconut oil in place of transfats.
We believe this helps to make ours the healthiest chocolate bars you can buy, but unlike many healthier foods, this doesn’t mean compromising on quality or taste; after all the point of chocolate is to be a delicious indulgence, and our raw chocolate is no different.
The cacao beans we use are the finest available – the rare Creole cocoa beans from Peru, known as the Queen of Cacao, which are famed for their complexity and depth of flavour. These are then treated with the utmost respect, minimally processed and mixed with the best ingredients to create deliciously unique raw chocolate bars.
Our bean to bar process ensures that from the moment the cacao bean is picked, it is cared for to ensure it retains as much of its natural goodness, and delicious flavour, as possible. So we hope that now you share our passion for raw chocolate and will give it a try to discover that not only is better for you, it tastes amazing too.
There are scientific papers that back all the health claims we make about raw chocolate and if you would like to know more or read the papers for yourself please contact us.