Do you have a point of sale?
Our laboratory is currently not open to the public.
To purchase our products it is possible through our virtual shop, "vaicacao.com", or through our partners. If you have specific requests, you can always contact us on tel. + 39 0789 53857 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you recommend drinking Ceremonial Cacao?
Heat (without boiling) 180 ml of mineral water. Chop the cocoa with a knife (about 20 grams), add the water and start mixing over low heat. Add cinnamon and chili pepper, and if you don't like it bitter, you can also add a teaspoon of honey, use a date, or maple syrup.
Or put everything in a blender for a few seconds, until completely dissolved. You can also use a simple milk frother to melt the cocoa and create the desired drink.
For further information on Ceremonial Cacao click here
What is the origin of COCOA
Historical evidence indicates that cocoa was cultivated by the Olmecs from 1800 BC, by the Maya and Aztecs, in different historical eras, in what is today partly Central America, known historically as Mesoamerica.
Mesoamerica included southern Mexico (Tabasco, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Yucatan), Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, part of Nicaragua and part of Costa Rica.
In particular, they cultivated it in southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and northern Nicaragua. Its origin is thought to be native to Central America but there are those who claim that it comes from the Amazon, even though there is a lack of scientific evidence.
In any case, it is known that the Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, like other Mesoamerican indigenous peoples (Toltecs, Lenca, Nahuat-Pipil, Nahua etc.) and other Mesomaerican indigenous peoples, used cocoa as currency, and that they had learned to exploit its enormous properties to create energy drinks, aphrodisiacs often reserved for the wealthy classes, and for use in rituals and ceremonies.
The debate on the origin of the theobroma cacao plant is still ongoing. There are those who claim that it comes from the Amazon basin, and that it was subsequently brought to Mesoamerica, where it was cultivated, honored as a sacred plant and used as currency. The debate is still open today.
Where does your cocoa come from? Is it ethical and sustainable?
Our cocoa comes from our plantation Finca Cuyancùa (Izalco) El Salvador. We also purchase cocoa from other plantations always coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica (Central America). Even if there is always another reason to improve, our cocoa is not the result of slavery, illicit activities nor does it denigrate the lives of the workers involved. On the contrary, our project would like to give a deep breath to this region, paying prices above market prices and giving added value to the entire supply chain.
Do you test for heavy metals?
As a production laboratory registered with the competent Italian authorities, we are subject to periodic checks on the limits of cadmium in chocolate.
However, each of our cocoa is tested, obtaining very low quantities of cadmium, even much lower than the limit established by the EU regulation.
(European Reg. Limit 0.8 ppm/kg)
Cuyancùa: 0.02 ppm/kg
Lenca: 0.02 ppm/kg
Qeqchi: 0.2 ppm/kg
Nahua: 0.5 ppm/kg
Masaya: 0.03 ppm/kg
Tlaloc: 0.3 ppm/kg
Atehuàn: 0.4 ppm/kg
How many varieties of cocoa are there?
The world of cocoa is very broad and still little known in its complexity. The quality of cocoa depends not only on its genetic variety, grafts, local climate, etc., but also on adequate agricultural processes, including a good fermentation and drying process that takes place exclusively on the plantation or in the collection center.
In any case, there are three classifications on which there are thousands of different genetics:
CRIOLLO (2%), TRINITARIO (8%) and FORASTERO (90%). Criollo, with a very fruity flavour, is characterized by white beans. Since it is a variety that is not very resistant to attack by soil diseases, parasites and molds, it is difficult to find. The price of criollo is very high compared to forastero and it is increasingly difficult to maintain its purity.
Let's dispel a myth: having a "criollo" cocoa in your hands is very rare, and only some fine chocolates are made from this variety, but it is still very difficult for it to be very pure. You will realize that it is a criollo simply by one fact: the price. If you pay very little for cocoa, cocoa nibs and chocolate, then there may be an "un" truth behind the label.
Trinitario (or cocoa fino de aroma), is a hybrid between criollo and forastero. Each origin, each "Finca", and local climate can favor a great aromatic yield of this cocoa. The grains are larger than forastero, and contain more monounsaturated fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants. This cocoa is the favorite of bean to bar chocolatiers, who love to highlight the thousand aromatic aspects of this fruit.
Forastero is the variety grown mainly in Africa, but also in South America. This cocoa has little aromatic yield, but if treated in an excellent way, can give great satisfaction. Its prices are decidedly lower when it comes to commodities, compared to criollos and trinitarios. However, the quality of the cocoa must always be verified from a visual, olfactory and taste point of view, but above all it is more important to understand the origin. And no, it is no longer enough to mention the country it comes from to classify it as quality.
What is Ceremonial Cocoa? How do you produce it?
Our Ceremonial cocoa is what we consider a real elixir as it is stone-ground cocoa beans (cocoa paste). It therefore contains all the components of cocoa, and it is possible to dissolve it in hot water or vegetable drink. This compound should not be confused with "cocoa powder", which is instead a semi-finished product, without cocoa butter.
It recalls the traditions of the Mesoamerican peoples where cocoa was stone-pressed using the "metate!", and drunk during rites and ceremonies together with other local spices without adding sugar. This very energetic drink is often exploited by the holistic sectors to facilitate meditation and conviviality in a modern key.
What is Bean to Bar chocolate?
Although there is no legal definition of "artisanal" for chocolate, what we mean is: elaborated from A to Z. That is: we grow, export-import and process cocoa beans until they are transformed into squares of chocolate to which we only add whole sugar (muscovado, coconut, panela, demerara...). We don't buy semi-finished industrial chocolate products just to pour them into the molds, but we take care of every processing stage.
Is your cocoa raw?
No, it is not crude and we say it with absolute transparency and serenity. Both fermentation and roasting actually improve the digestibility of cocoa and promote the absorption of nutrients, including antioxidants (flavanols/polyphenols).
We roast the cocoa at a controlled temperature, respecting and highlighting each cocoa origin. When the cocoa bean has been subjected to fermentation and drying it has already undergone the first treatments, albeit natural, but has already been exposed to temperatures above 42ºC.
There is still no scientific-legal definition on what the characteristics of raw cocoa should be (including temperatures). There is no third party body that establishes the traceability parameters (as is done with ISO, and organic certifications for example), which can also guarantee that the "cocoa has not been exposed to temperatures above 42ºC (current parameter) during the phases of agricultural processing. Fermentation, for example, reaches temperatures above 50º C. So everything is based on the good faith of companies, people, who promote their products as "raw" and as healthier than others, without however offering scientific and specific analyzes that can actually support these hypotheses.
Furthermore, the tempering method for making "raw chocolate" can only be carried out with temperatures ranging from 45/46ºC and 50ºC for dark chocolate. Therefore it is not possible, by its nature, to maintain temperatures below 42ºC. We believe that they are just strategic marketing works aimed at disorienting consumer preferences.
Obviously we invite you to take a tour of some cocoa plantations to understand what we are talking about, how it is worked from the first moment and then form your opinion. Rather, we think it is more important to focus on the "quality of the cocoa", the artisanal processes (bean to bar, farm to bar..), origin, traceability, the people behind the supply chain, flavor profile, sustainability, history, etc. .
What are cocoa nibs?
Cocoa nibs are shelled and crushed cocoa beans.