Not all chocolate is created equal. In fact, the contrast between one chocolate bar to the next on the shelf can be as extreme as night and day. On the one hand, you have processed chocolate made with alkalized cocoa powder, refined sugar, dairy products, glazes, and artificial flavors. Devoid of nutrition and not at all good for us. But there's a far more nourishing world of chocolate to explore - chocolate made from a base of raw cacao, unrefined sweeteners, no dairy products, and no additives whatsoever. Chocolate made in a way that respects the earth and our bodies. That tastes amazing. YESSSS to that!
Our chocolate falls in the latter category – it's an actual superfood. And it all comes down to the ingredients we use. Keep reading to learn about some of the key ingredients we use to make our chocolate so amazing.
The Base: Raw Cacao
All chocolate begins with one base ingredient: cacao. Our chocolate is made from raw, organic cacao “nibs” which are simply the dried beans broken up into pieces. It is Criollo cacao - aka one of the most heirloom and prized cacao varieties available today. We direct import our cacao from small farm cooperatives in Peru and it is always fairly traded and sustainably harvested.
Cacao offers a rich supply of nutrients such as Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Copper and Manganese and dietary fiber. It's also one of the planet's richest sources of antioxidants making it a wonderful food for preventing and fighting the effects of free radical damage.
Cacao has a sacred and dynamic history within ancient cultures such as the Mayans and Aztecs of South and Central America. The beans were used in ceremony, as a medicinal food, and even as a valued form of currency. In fact, its botanical name - Theobroma Cacao - literally translates to "Food of the Gods".
Raw cacao may be the ultimate love food. This is because it contains compounds like phenethylamine (PEA), anandamide, and theobromine that boost circulation and “happy brain” neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine to bring about feelings of euphoria, bliss, and that on-cloud-nine feeling we all experience when we're falling in love.
You'll also find...
Raw Cacao Butter
Like cacao nibs, cacao butter also comes from cacao beans. Essentially it is the fat expressed from the cacao bean. Our cacao butter is cold-pressed to retain its nutrient profile and limit oxidation and has an incredible, unmistakably sweet chocolate aroma. Cacao butter has a melting point of around 93.4 °F - it's the ingredient responsible for giving chocolate its signature melt-in-the-mouth texture.
Unlike refined sweeteners coming from cane sugar or beet, coconut sugar is an unrefined sugar that comes from the sap of coconut tree blossoms. The sap is heated to concentrate and crystallize the sugar and dried to create a nutrient-rich, light brown sugar that has delicious flavor notes of maple and caramel. Coconut sugar is also a lower glycemic sweetener option, having a glycemic index of just 35 while white sugar clocks in at a GI of around 68.
Maca is a nutrient-rich root vegetable in the mustard family native to the Peruvian Central Andes – prized by native civilizations in this region as a valuable source of both nutrition and medicine. Unlike substances with caffeine, maca increases energy and stamina without being an actual stimulant – making it more holistic, sustainable, and certainly more gentle on the adrenals. It is a known adaptogen, helping the body better cope with stress, and supporting the glandular system. Maca is also known for boosting fertility and for helping bring hormones into balance. And its sweet, malty flavor means it tastes amazing paired with chocolate.
Give both maca and medicinal mushrooms a try in our Active Superfood Bark.
Sprouted Nuts and Seeds
Not only do sprouted nuts and seeds have a deliciously light and crispy texture, but they also happen to be easier on digestion. During the soaking process, the nuts and seeds are “activated”, meaning it kick starts their germination process. This frees up a natural compound known as phytic acid – something the plant uses to protect itself from being eaten at the wrong time, but also something that can inhibit our body's ability to digest our food efficiently. Phytic acid also inhibits certain nutrients, particularly calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc, from being properly absorbed by the body. By sprouting nuts and seeds they become much easier on the tummy.
Dried Super Fruits (Cherries, Figs, Mulberries, Goji Berries, Golden Berries...and more!)
Fruits offer the body a wealth of nutrients - vitamins, minerals, and special antioxidants like polyphenols which help protect the integrity of our cells and boost our immune system. We choose to use unique fruits like tart cherries, goji berries, mulberries, and golden berries because they are particularly dense in nutrients and antioxidants while being lower in sugar than other dried fruit options. This adds an even heftier nutritional punch to our chocolate treats!
Organic, Food-Grade Essential Oils
If you grab a flavored chocolate bar off the shelf, odds are it's going to contain either "natural" or artificial flavors or a combination of both. While natural flavors may seem innocent enough, they are often just a way for food manufacturers to make highly processed flavoring agents sound healthier and more marketable to the consumer. Yep, maybe not so "natural" after all. Instead of these, we use real essential oils distilled and pressed straight from plants like peppermint, ginger, and orange to give our chocolate a fun twist of flavor. These essential oils also have their own unique benefits - for instance, peppermint and ginger are both wonderful aids to digestion.