Theobroma Cacao - Food of the Gods
Cacao has been used as a ceremonial medicine for over four thousand years, enabling the participant, to expand their cardiac and neurological systems and receive nourishment from this super food, to participate fully in the ceremonial experience.
To be labelled “ceremonial” cacao needs to be organic, the beans are often harvested from trees that are grown in the wild or in naturally diverse environments, by farming co-operatives rather than large commercial enterprises.
Of the four Cacao bean varieties it is Criollo, Trinitario or Nacional beans, that are used to make the pure cacao paste, with their rich complex flavours and joy-enducing compounds (theobromine, serotonin, proanthocyanin, anandamine, and others); where as, the Forastero bean is generally used by large commercial companies in the chocolate industry, for its high yield of beans and also for being a hardier plant.
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Textile Art in UK
Processing Cacao Beans into Cacao Paste
When the cacao pods are carefully cut from the Theobroma Cacao trees, they are stored for a week to ten days before opening.
Then opened by striking the central area of the pod with a wooden club, which splits it in half without damaging the beans, the wet beans are then removed by hand and placed into boxes, covered with banana leaves to begin the fermentation process. Depending on the bean, this can take 2 to 5 days.
The fermentation process brings about through chemical reactions, the flavour and colour of the cacao.
After fermentation the beans are dried in the sun, reducing their moisture content to 7.5%. This is a slow process to enable the fermentation process to finish, turning the beans regularly, to stop moulds from developing.