Our USDA-certified organic, raw Cacao Liquor is used by organic chocolate makers all over the U.S. Simply add sweetener to begin making high quality chocolate. Our Ecuadorian Cacao Liquor is the Arriba variety, a prestigious fine/ flavor cacao prized for its floral aroma and delicate flavors.
16 ounce block
Our USDA-certified organic, raw Ecuadorian Cacao Liquor is the Arriba nacional variety. Arriba cacao is prized for its flavor and aroma, and is used to make quality dark chocolate by discerning chocolatiers around the globe. Arriba has a floral, almost jasmine-like aroma, and its flavor is smooth and rich.
Cacao liquor (aka: cacao paste) is made when cacao beans are pressed or ground to a liquid, and is then hardened in a mold. Our organic, raw cacao liquor is placed under pressure and liquified at just under 100 degrees (F).
Our Cacao Liquor is used by organic chocolate makers all over the U.S. Simply add sweetener to begin making high quality chocolate. Our Bourbon Vanilla beans or Vanilla Bean powder will add another layer of flavor to your decadent chocolate creations.
Many people consider eating chocolate a “guilty pleasure.” But the reputation of chocolate as a junk food should more accurately be attributed to the harmful effects of commercial processing and refining techniques, and the other ingredients commonly added, most notably white sugar. All chocolate is made from the cacao (cocoa) bean, and cacao beans in their natural, unprocessed, unadulterated state are rich in nutrients and beneficial to health.
Antioxidants: Cacao has more antioxidant flavonoids than any food tested so far, including blueberries, red wine, and black and green teas. In fact, it has up to four times the quantity of antioxidants found in green tea. Health benefits of these antioxidants include:
Neurotransmitters: By increasing the levels of specific neurotransmitters in our brains, cacao promotes positive outlook, facilitates rejuvenation and simply helps us feel good.
Essential Minerals: Cacao beans are rich in a number of essential minerals, including magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.
Essential fats: There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil, that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
The cacao tree has been cultivated in Mexico and Central and South America for thousands of years, and it has been so highly valued that some Native peoples once used its seed, or bean, as currency. The Aztecs believed cacao to be of divine origin, and both they and the Mayans used the roasted bean in the famous beverage Chocolatl, together with vanilla and other flavorings.
In the early 16th century, Columbus brought sacks of cacao back to Europe, but he did not realize its economic value. Then, in 1519, Cortez brought cacao back to Spain, and it was soon made into a luxury drink for the upper classes. By the 17th and early 18th centuries, chocolate was considered a cure for many illnesses, as well as a catalyst for provoking passion, although it was still too expensive for the general populace. Finally, in the 18th century, chocolate houses were established in London, making chocolate available to a broader spectrum of society, and their popularity quickly surpassed that of the coffee houses.
Today cacao is planted on over 43,000 square miles worldwide. Forty percent of production is from Cote d’Ivoire, while Ghana and Indonesia produce about 15% each, and Brazil, Nigeria, and Cameroon provide smaller quantities.
Cacao beans are harvested today in much the same way as they were by the Aztecs. After the pods ripen, which takes 5 to 6 months, they are removed from the tree and carefully cut open with a machete, and the cacao beans are extracted.
After harvesting, the beans are placed on banana leaves in large wooden boxes and left to ferment for several days. During fermentation, complex chemical changes take place. The bitterness of the bean is reduced and the rich chocolate flavor begins to develop. The beans are dried after fermentation, and during this drying process, the brown color develops and further flavor development occurs.
There are three main cultivar groups of cacao beans grown today:
The Criollo group is the most rare and expensive of the three. Criollo trees are small and difficult to grow, and account for no more than 5% of the world's cacao crop. The chocolate made from the Criollo bean has a delicate and complex array of flavors. Often referred to as the “King of Cacao,” Criollo is highly prized and is used by many of the new “micro chocolate makers.”
The Forastero group makes up about 70% of the cacao grown today. Forastero trees are easier to grow and significantly hardier than Criollo, resulting in more affordable beans. Well-prepared Forastero is what most of us are used to eating in chocolate. Most Forastero cacao is considered bulk-grade, with the exception of Arriba nacional. Arriba is a highly prized variety of the Forastero group, and is highly regarded as a fine/ flavor bean, much like Criollo and Trinitario cacao.
The Trinitario group is a hybrid of Criollo and Forastero, and it makes up about 20% of the cacao beans produced today. After a natural disaster wiped out most of the Criollo crops in the 1700s, this hybrid of Criollo and Forastero trees was introduced. This "new" breed retained the delicate flavors of Criollo and had the heartiness of the Forastero trees. Trinitario cacao is considered a fine/ flavor cacao, and is often used in quality dark chocolates.
Many types of chocolate are made from the cacao bean: