Mount Hope Wholesale now carries Organic Raw Cacao Nibs. These are the coarsely crushed (but not ground) seed of the cacao tree. Most famously, cacao* is the basis of chocolate, but it has been consumed by people for thousands of years. The cacao tree is a native of South America, with origins suspected to be in what is today Colombia and Venezuela, and the bean was so highly regarded in ancient times, they were even used as currency.
The fruit of the cacao tree is a pod with a leathery rind containing a few dozen seeds. These seeds are surround by a sweet pulp that is mostly lost in the drying process. The seeds start out with purple color, varying in darkness from pod to pod. The color is also lost in the drying process, and the cacao bean is almost always a dark brown color by the time it is consumed.
Speaking of consumption…
Cacao is generally considered to be a great source of antioxidants, perhaps having positive antiaging and cardiovascular effects. Before becoming chocolate, this stuff is actually really good for you. When you open a bag of our organic cacao nibs, the smell is strong and instantly recognizable, they smell just like chocolate. The sugar and milk mixed with cacao bean solids to make chocolate definitely make up an important part of chocolate’s flavor, but they don’t contribute much to the aroma.
Our cacao nibs are a great addition to to dishes or snacks that need the character of chocolate, but want to avoid the fat and sugar of chocolate chips or the like. They go wonderfully in granolas, or on top of other cereals. Mix them with with dried fruit and yogurt for delicious parfait. Or, perhaps my favorite, swap a tablespoon of your favorite coffee beans for cacao nibs to make your morning cup a little more interesting (they’re much softer than coffee beans though, and don’t need to be ground very fine).
*We call them cacao nibs, but cacao and cocoa are commonly interchangeable. Cocoa is the english word derived from the Spanish cacao, but the Spanish is often in used in English contexts as well.