Cacao beans are used to make chocolate. Photograph by Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr
There is a lot of buzz around raw cacao now with talk of raw cacao paste, chocolate made using cacao beans and butter among other things. For those confused, there is a big difference between cocoa and cacao – cocoa is a processed and heated form of chocolate, whereas raw cacao is its purest form. Raveena Taurani, who set up Yogisattva, an independent online enterprise that makes and retails raw and plant-based foods in 2015, first tasted cacao at the Arpora market in Goa last year. “There was a lady from Spain who would make raw cacao cakes and desserts. The most exciting dish I have tasted with cacao is a caramel and hazelnut double chocolate dairy-free tart in Bali. The experience opened up my mind to making my own versions of dairy-free deserts with cacao,” says Taurani, who also signed up for a month-long a raw food cooking course in Bali before she set up Yogisattva.
Raw cacao Bliss Balls. Photograph via Yogisattva
Taurani now makes delicious and healthy dishes such as Vanilla Cacao Chia Pudding, Bliss Balls, a sweet snack that is made of cacao, dried fruit and nuts and Raw Cacao Ice cream. She says, “My entire life, I thought chocolate was unhealthy for my body. I was so glad to be proved wrong by cacao.” We tried the Raw Chocolate and Orange Ice cream and can vouch for its terrific taste. “I started using cacao as part of my raw food chef training. I wanted a better replacement for cocoa which is processed chocolate with milk fat and hydrogenated oil.”
Raw cacao ice cream Photograph via Yogisattva
Here Taurani lists some of the benefits of raw cacao.
Raw Cacao is the number one antioxidant rich food on our planet.
It has the highest amount of naturally available magnesium and is known to be a mood booster.
It also promotes cardiovascular health and keeps your blood sugar regulated.
Many women have reported an ease in their PMS symptoms with the addition of cacao in their diet.
Cocoa is difficult for the body to digest whereas cacao is a superfood.