Native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica, Cacao has been revered by people for thousands of years for its benefits. The Aztecs even considered the beans more valuable than gold.
Inside The super Spice
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Cacao, or Theobroma cacao, is a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae, native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica. Its seeds, cocoa beans, are used to make chocolate liquor, cacao powder, cocoa butter, and chocolate.
Evidence of cacao domestication dates back at least 5,200 years among the Mayo-Chinchipe culture in Ecuador and was revered by the Mesoamerican people ever since.
The Aztecs even considered the beans more valuable than gold.
Today 5.3 million tons of cocoa beans are produced each year with the Ivory Coast producing almost 2 million tons alone.
Deciding when to pick a Cacao pod can be difficult as not all pods ripen at the same time, even those on the same tree. It requires expert knowledge of the cacao variety to pick the pods, as under-ripe cacao will not have developed all its flavors, and over-ripe ones will start to germinate.
Once the pods are ripe, they are hand-picked with care because it is easy to damage the surrounding area which will result in no pod production the following year.
The Cacao tree can grow up to 26 feet tall and produces small flowers in clusters directly on the truck and older branches know as cauliflory. The fruit, called a cacao pod, is ovoid and weighs about pound when ripe.
The pod contains 20 to 60 seeds, usually called “beans”, embedded in a white pulp. The beans are roasted at high temperatures after fermenting to produce the finished products.
Cacao, known as cacahuatl by the Mayans derives its generic name from the Greek for food of the gods.
Is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. It is especially abundant in flavanols, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also happens to be delicious.
According to early Spanish explorers, the Aztecs used Cacao to treat fatigue, dysentery, gout, hemorrhoids, and even dental problems.
Other Potential Benefits of Cacao*:
- Reduce inflammation
- Regulate blood pressure
- Improve blood flow to your brain and increase brain function
- Boost mood
Since 1905, Rizek Cacao has been known for its passion in cacao production. Our farms, located in the heart of the Dominican Republic, are distinguished by the excellence of their genetic material and their extraordinary post-harvest treatment. Rizek Cacao is ideologically and pragmatically committed to the protection of the forests of the Dominican Republic and environmental balance as a whole.