Cacao, Cocoa, chocolate and Ceremonial Grade Cacao; it’s no surprise with all those vowels that confusion sometimes reigns when telling them apart and choosing the right fit for the moment.
While they all form the basis for chocolate, they’re not interchangeable, and Ceremonial Grade Cacao is of the highest standard and used in unique and sacred ways.
Each has very different taste profiles, nutritional benefits and uses.
Let’s take a look:
Cacao is completely raw, natural and unprocessed. It is derived from the same seeds used to produce Cocoa, Cocoa butter, and chocolate and has been consumed for centuries as medicine, food, and currency and in rituals in Central and South America.
Cacao trees bear fruit when they are three to four years old and can yield between 20 to 30 pods per year. Once the pods have been harvested, they are split open, and the beans inside are scooped out and left to ferment with the pulp for about a week, which keeps them from germinating later and builds a fuller flavour. Then, the beans are dried out in the sun before being made into a paste or powder.
Cocoa is typically made from the lowest quality Cacao beans. Its highly concentrated powder is made from chocolate liquor—a paste prepared from Cacao beans. It is used to flavour chocolate products, beverages and the confections we might pick up at the service station to crush those 3 p.m. sugar cravings.
The seeds are fermented, and roasted at very high temperatures, then shelled, ground and hammered into fine particles to obtain Cocoa butter that is removed from the final product. This is ironic, given that butter is a far higher-value natural fat than Cocoa powder. The end product is transported all over the world, where it is pressed, rolled, mixed with sugar, heated, cooled and made into various sweet treats with little to no nutritional value.
Ceremonial Grade Cacao
Ceremonial Grade Cacao is the rawest form of 100% Cacao paste and considered the most potent type of Cacao. Ceremonial Cacao still contains its high-grade Cacao butter, the best carrier fat for the medicinal properties of Cacao.
In ancient times, it was used as medicine, a heart opener, valuable currency, and a wisdom keeper.
Creation Cacao's 100% Criollo Ceremonial Cacao beans are grown and harvested organically, so there are no herbicides, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or genetic modification nasties.
The purest Ceremonial Cacao is created with care. Beans must undergo little processing and be prepared via traditional practices including fermentation, sun heated, hand-peeling and ground to a paste.
Ceremonial Grade Cacao's properties and compounds are super potent, providing a heart-opening feeling in the body. These are thanks to the feel-good compounds theobromine, serotonin, proanthocyanin, anandamide, methylxanthines, tryptophan and phenylethylamine. Pure Ceremonial Grade Cacao boasts 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries, is the highest plant-based source of iron and magnesium and has more calcium than cow's milk.
Ceremonial Grade Cacao has a naturally bitter taste, so raw sweeteners can be added as required, which, unlike processing and synthetic sweeteners, allows it to work its magic in opening the heart.
Ceremonial Grade Cacao in ritual practice
The Cacao ceremony often experienced a calming mindfulness meditation or sound healing, has experienced a significant rise in popularity over the last decade. The highest quality Ceremonial Cacao's are utilized as a supportive tool opening the heart to happiness, fortitude, strength, creativity, even deepening connections with others.
Such rituals and meditations are often facilitated in groups but Ceremonial Cacao can also be used to deepen your personal daily routine.
Try including mindfulness practices like yoga, journaling, meditation, song, and dance as well as setting an intention on what you would like to attract or achieve each day.