The Story of Cacao…

Many would argue that the world’s most important food ingredients are wheat and rice.  Others however, would rank among them, the glorious Cacao for providing us with the life affirming, delectably addictive product that is Chocolate!!

For most of us, buying chocolate is easy and we give little thought to the work that goes into growing and producing chocolate’s main and most important ingredient Cacao.  At Top Line Foods we pride ourselves in supplying only the highest quality Cacao products particularly organic and raw quality.  So let’s see where the story of chocolate begins…

Cacao is famously grown in the South American Amazonian regions and in particular Ecuador (the home of Cacao). Other countries such as the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean, are now also becoming reputable for the quality of their beans.
The Cacao pod grows on the Theobroma Cacao Trees.  When you open the Cacao pod you find the Cacao fruit and seeds, known as Cacao Beans.  The Cacao fruit and seeds are surprisingly, white!!

The fruit and seeds are removed from the pods and allowed to ferment.  During this process enzymes break down proteins into Amino Acids and it’s this, which changes the flavour and turns thebe ans into the rich brown colour we all know and associate with chocolate.

After fermentation, the beans are allowed to dry naturally. For Raw chocolate products all the processing has to take place at temperatures of less than 45°C.  This preserves the flavour and nutritional qualities of the Cacao which is naturally high in Anti-Oxidants, vitamins and minerals.
In the next stage, the skins of the beans are gently heated to soften and loosen them.  The beans are then milled to crack them, so the skins can be gently blown away and removed.

The small pieces of beans with the skins removed are known as
Cacao Nibs, these nibs are the purest form of Cacao.
From Cacao nibs’ Cacao butter can be made.  First the nibs are slowly ground into Cacao paste.  The paste is then poured into a press and the press slowly squeezes the oil out from the paste, thus creating pure Cacao oil.

The oil is allowed to cool and solidify and that’s known as the Cacao butter.

After the Cacao paste has had most of the oil removed, a dry Cacao cake remains called a pressed cake.  The cakes are loaded into a stone grinder which slowly breaks them up into a powder which is then finely sifted to produce Cacao Powder .

These products are then available to be turned into the tens of thousands of chocolate goodies eaten in every continent in the world.

So next time you’re tucking into your favourite chocolate treat, spare a thought for the precious Cacao Tree and the care and love that made it all possible, and just perhaps, Top Line Foods played a part in that journey.

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