Cacao

Cacao (ka-cow) Bean-like seeds from which real chocolate is made

  • “Cacao” Spanish word derived from the Aztec “cacahuatl”, the tree, tropical fruit and seed/ “bean” of theobroma cacao.
  • “Cacao” in more modern times refers to the whole-food, minimally processed form of this seed.
  • The Latin name for cacao—Theobroma—literally means, “food of the gods.”
  • “Chocolate” derived from the Aztec word “xocolātl”, true drinking chocolate (ie. not powder), prepared from whole ground roasted cacao and hot water (eg Ola’s %100 Cacao block), and sometimes mixed with spices, (eg chilli, cinnamon, vanilla) 
  • Evidence of drinking chocolate “xocolātl” beverages in pre-Olmec and Mokayan cultures go back to 1750BC and 1900BC respectively. Consequently cacao was consumed in both the Mayan and Aztec cultures, and cacao seeds used as currency, or high value commodity.
  • Ground cacao beans ≠ (does not equal) powder, ground cacao = oily paste that sets solid.
  • Today True Chocolate, contains only ground cacao, a sweetener, and sometimes a spice. Can be eaten as is, or used in a range of cuisine sweet or savoury. We’re not talking cocoa flavoured sugar, or cocoa flavoured milk solid.
  • “Cocoa” in more modern times refers to a more processed form “cocoa powder”. A by-product powdered mass, due to the press extraction of cacao oil or cocoa butter. This usually involves “alkalization” a ‘washing’ process using potassium or sodium carbonates.
  • Cacao butter naturally occurring in ground cacao is a good source of vegetable oil. It is highly stable and consumed in reasonable quantities, has a range of health benefits. High in natural antioxidants and a high proportion of saturated fats.
  • Cacao “nibs” are the crushed or chipped, de-husked cacao seed. A natural whole-food chocolate chip, its natural oil content is not extracted.
  • Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants, and highest source of natural magnesium. Used throughout many cultures for health benefits.
  • “Koko Samoa” traditional Samoan drinking chocolate. Our Oral traditions suggest that the original introduction of ‘koko’ into the Samoan culture, was due to contact with Peru, South American circa 700AD. This was achieved via the navigation and travel by our ancestors via double hulled ‘Alia sailing craft.
  • Christopher Columbus took cacao back to Spain from Nicaragua after his fourth mission, 1502. Hernan Cortés, lead an expedition in 1519 to the Aztec empire, he returned to Spain in 1528 bearing the Aztec recipe for xocoatl (chocolate drink) with him. It was consequently introduced to the Spanish Court consumed as a beverage. And spread throughout Europe in the early 1600’s
  • Cacao grows in Countries that are within latitudes 10°N and 10°S. Cacao does not grow in Europe.
  • Cacao is naturally bitter depending on the variety of plant, soil, temperate, sunlight and rain that is received during the growing process. Some large corporations hide low-quality, astringent varieties by Alkalizing, adding other ingredients, including extra cocoa butter and count this as cacao %. 
  • “Dutch cocoa” is such named after the alkalization process invented by Dutch chemist Coenraad van Houten in 1815. “Dutching” is the process of adding potassium or sodium carbonates before oil extraction. Ola Pacifica does not do this!! 
  • Real Authentic Drinking Chocolate (not powder) is still served as standard in Cafes in Spain, Austria, Italy, Mexico, South America and SAMOA!! 
  • Ola Pacifica brings you whole-food cacao!