You can’t make amazing tasting chocolate without high quality raw cacao, so naturally we’ve dedicated hours tasting, and finding the best.
So what’s the difference between cacao and cocoa? It’s all in the processing. Our raw cacao beans, are grown in an organic and sustainable environment, and sundried after harvest. Unlike cocoa which is heated to high temperatures and loses much of its nutrients, raw cacao is cold pressed (never heated above 42 degrees to remain raw) to retain the natural goodness and produce cacao solids – cacao powder and cacao butter.
The cacao powder used for all Pana Chocolate products is sourced straight from the countries of origin, from Bolivia and the Dominican Republic and our cacao butter is from Peru. The flavour, quality and natural fat content achieved in these regions are best suited to our recipes and help to create the Pana Chocolate flavour we love. They’re certified organic and fairtrade, cold pressed, unrefined and chemical free.
Cacao powder has a rich and bitter flavour, the cacao butter is smooth, and both have a glorious chocolatey aroma. If you’ve visited our shops, you’ll know the “mmm, aahhh” moment as you walk through the door – that’s the smell we’re talking about!
Cacao powder is rich in antioxidants, which play a powerful role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular health. It is also a high source of magnesium, vital for muscle and nerve function, regulating heart rhythm, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Cacao butter, also rich in antioxidants, helps to lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation. A good source of vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory properties as well as supporting immune function, and vitamin K, which is crucial for bone development, calcium metabolism and has been linked to a reduction in cardiovascular disease. Cacao butter also contains high levels of stearic acid which protects the heart.
There is a small, but insignificant amount of caffeine that occurs naturally in cacao. It also contains Theobromine, a stimulant similar, but gentler than caffeine. Theobromine has mood boosting properties but you won’t have to worry about feeling nervous or jittery like old mate caffeine.
Many of the recipes in our recipe book call for cacao powder, cacao butter, or both. You can pick up some of our raw cacao powder in the Pana Chocolate shops, or find powder and butter in most health food stores.