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Cacao Powder / Drinking Chocolate

 

Nutritional Info.

Typical values per 100g
Energy kj 1603
Kcal 386
Fat 17.5g of which saturates 10.4g
Carbohydrates 15.6g of which sugars 0.7g
Cholesterol 0g
Fibre 28.7g
Protein 27.1g
Salt 0.05g


Lucy Bee Cacao Powder or Lucy Bee Drinking Chocolate?

Our cacao powder is sold either as “Lucy Bee Cacao Powder’ or as ‘Lucy Bee Drinking Chocolate’. These are the same product and both are 100% organic cacao powder with nothing added.

Cacao Powder and Drinking Chocolate are available in the Lucy Bee Shop

The reason we have labelled some as 'Lucy Bee Drinking Chocolate' is because that's how some retailers prefer to sell it - they want to sell it in the drinks’ section rather than the baking department, which is where it is traditionally sold.

They, and we, feel this gives a clearer message to shoppers that this product can be used as a natural hot chocolate where you are in control of any sweetener that you may, or may not, want to add. Being 100% cacao it has no added fillers or sugars.  

Whether you buy it as ‘Lucy Bee Cacao’ or “Lucy Bee Drinking Chocolate’ the uses are the same – great as a drink or in baking and cooking.

Did You Know?

Sought after by the most discerning chocolate makers, Lucy Bee cacao is from a rare breed of Criollo and Forastero beans grown in mineral rich soil. The handpicked pods are placed in wicker baskets ready for fermenting in red cedar boxes.

What do I Taste Like?

Being a natural cacao, rather than a processed dutch-style powder, our Cacao Powder/Drinking Chocolate retains the maximum value of antioxidants and also gives you a rich, full, more traditional taste.

You too can now experience the wondrous benefits of cacao as enjoyed by the explorer Christopher Columbus all those centuries ago!

Where am I from?

Lucy Bee cacao is brought to you by a mainly female team of single mothers from the beautiful mountainous ‘cacao belt’ in the Dominican Republic.



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Recipe Ideas

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Lucy Bee Fair Trade Organic Cacao Powder/Drinking Chocolate

As one of the most delicious foods on the planet, cacao has long been part of the Lucy Bee diet.

From delicious mugs of hot cacao to decadent, rich chocolate cakes and homemade bars of goodness, we are forever dreaming up new ways to use our cacao powder.

It’s because of our love of chocolate (plus, there’s the added matter that it comes with heaps of health benefits) that we decided to launch our very own cacao powder. Rich, chocolatey and incredibly delicious, Lucy Bee Cacao Powder/Drinking Chocolate is set to be the treat on everyone’s lips.

Sourced from only the finest, rarest and tastiest cacao beans in the Dominican Republic – and Fair Trade too – here’s all about our newest product and why you need it in your cupboards.

What is Cacao?

Once considered to be the drink of gods by the Incas, cacao has long been renowned as being one of the most delicious foods on the planet. Yet, first things first, how do you actually pronounce cacao (we’ve been asked this one a lot!)? Well, it might sound like a noise a bird makes, but you say “ca-cow”. Simple, right?

Perfect for satisfying those sweet-toothed cravings, our cacao is about the purest form of chocolate you could possibly eat. As you may imagine, it comes straight from the cocoa bean – roasting the cocoa beans below 45C / 113F, stripping away the fat (or the butter) and locking in the goodness in the process.

The cacao (or cocoa) bean is native to the Americas, although much of the world’s crop is now grown in West Africa. The trees grow in hot, tropical climates, with harvests every few months. Amazingly, the pods grow directly from the tree trunks and turn an orange or yellow colour as they ripen.

So beloved is the cocoa bean that it was even once used as currency – now that’s our kind of money! The top cacao producers now include the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Ghana and our favourite, the Dominican Republic.

If you want to know the difference between our cacao and the shop-bought cocoa powder you’ll find in supermarkets across the country, then click here.

Cacao Powder FAQs

Q: Is it fermented?
A: Yes, the cacao beans are fermented for 48 hours in red cedar boxes, during which time they are turned regularly. This ensures each bean ferments at the same rate and the end flavour is uniform.

Q: Is your cacao/drinking chocolate raw?
A: The debate around ’raw cacao’ is an interesting one and somewhat confusing too!

There are a couple of points to consider. When talking about a ‘raw’ product, it is generally accepted that during the ‘processing’ of that product, the temperature does not go above 45C.

In the making of our cacao powder/drinking chocolate, the beans are fermented. Whilst the temperature should not go above 45C, because this is a natural process we are unable to guarantee that at no point during this, does the temperature go above 45C.

 Secondly, some would say that for cacao to be considered truly raw, it shouldn't be roasted either, yet, our producer advices that the beans need to be roasted otherwise they are too bitter. The beans used for our cacao / drinking chocolate are roasted with a maximum temperature of 45C. 

In light of these points mentioned and to avoid any confusion, we have decided to remove ‘raw’ from the title of our product.

Q: Is it nut and peanut free?
A: Yes all the Lucy Bee products are produced and packed in nut and peanut free environments.

Q: Does your Drinking Chocolate/Cacao Powder contain soya?

A: Our Drinking Chocolate/Cacao Powder is free from soya.

They are packed in an environment that handles soya and strict guidelines are adhered to at the BRC grade A factory, where our products are packed, to avoid cross contamination.

Trading Standards advise, “There is no wording that should be applied to the packaging indicating that the food is made/packed in an environment that contained soya etc. at some point. The factory packing ingredients should have the sufficient procedures in place to stop any contamination and they should therefore be responsible enough to make sure the procedures and systems are followed.”

For this reason, we do not make any such claim on our packaging.

Fair Trade Story

As you know, here at Lucy Bee, we are incredibly passionate about giving something back. Fair Trade is important to us and we like to support our producer countries and farmers.

Thanks to the Fair Trade status of our cacao, you’ll be helping to develop a Copay Fund, which will help to pay for essential medical visits and procedures 

LB Fair Trade Dominican Republic T Shirts

We were thrilled to discover that our cacao producers, husband and wife Daniel and Gabriela, support impoverished single mums through the making of their – and our – cacao. While Daniel admits that he only hired these single mums by accident, he’s now proud to support these incredible, hard-working women in his very own “haven”.

As Daniel himself says, these women tend to come from “households with no particularly advanced education, in fact many cannot read and write very well. Since the training started in mid 2014 and through the current operations, only two of the company’s single moms have had to leave their jobs.

“Compared to 100% turnover for the males, this speaks volume of the quality of work offered by those who really need it.”

To support these super women, each purchase of our Lucy Bee product will go some way towards changing their lives. Thanks to the Fair Trade status of our cacao, you’ll be helping to develop a Copay Fund, which will help to pay for essential medical visits and procedures – something we take for granted in this country - as well as enabling children to buy basic school equipment, such as uniforms and books and pens.

We’re also proud to say that our Lucy Bee Fair Trade Organic Cacao Powder will eventually help Daniel and Gabriela to create an English centre, which will give the children of the workers a huge advantage in life by teaching them English and enhancing their education, something which we’ve already seen is a rarity in rural parts of the Dominican.

Health Benefits of Cacao

Fellow chocoholics can jump for joy as they read this section – while it may create the ultimate treats, our cacao is loaded with goodness and nutrients. In fact, it’s about as guilt-free as you can possibly get! Cacao is a rich source of magnesium and contains an abundance of nutritional compounds, making it one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.

How is Our Cacao Made?

We believe that our incredible cacao is the best you’ll ever try – and it’s all thanks to how it gets made!

Our rich, indulgent powder comes from the Dominican Republic, an area which is renowned for its mountainous soil (it’s also known for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches. Jealous? Us?), this is where our cacao’s journey begins.

We’re proud to welcome our friends Daniel and Gabriela into the Lucy Bee family and we truly believe that they offer the best cacao you’ll ever taste. You see, Daniel spent 18 months simply researching cacao production, before he even got started.

Our cacao is a special blend of Criollo and Forastero cocoa beans. Considered as the most perfect cocoa beans on the planet, Criollo are also incredibly rare and sought-after – quite simply, luxury chocolate makers love them! If you see a Criollo bar, snap it up as it’s something to be enjoyed.

These same Criollo cocoa beans have a rich, intricate taste with flavours of caramel, nuts and vanilla, giving our cacao a unique, smooth flavour. Meanwhile, the Forastero bean (which creates around 80% of the world’s chocolate) is added to the blend to offset the bitterness that Criollo beans can sometimes have.

Daniel and his workers grow these cacao beans in the cacao belt, in a mountainous part of central Dominican Republic. This region is renowned for its highly-concentrated mineral-rich oil and subtropical microclimate – this climate is perfect for cacao production as it produces huge amounts of water followed by immediate sunlight.

So, where to next? Well, once the beans have been harvested by hand, Daniel’s workers can start the fermentation process. Here, the beans are fermented in red cedar boxes and turned over often to give real flavour and depth to the product.

Cacao Fermenting

After about two days of fermenting, the beans are dried on wood and ready to start their roasting stage. To be roasted, the beans get placed in a rotary drier, where the temperature is controlled to a maximum 45C/113F to keep things as nutritious (and delicious) as possible.

Once roasted, the beans are quickly cooled on basement-fanned tables and then taken to colloid mills, where they are transformed into gorgeously rich cacao liquor. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? This liquid is extremely high in fat and has to be pressed in hydraulic presses (again, at low heats) to separate the butter.

The part we want now forms a type of cake – a solid, dry disc with a much lower fat content. In many of your processed cocoa powders (such as dutch press cocoa), alkali is now added. However, for our Lucy Bee Natural Cacao, this is not the case and nothing is touched before it’s milled to a flour-like texture and sieved for consistency.

The next part? Well, our lovely cacao now gets tested for quality, packaged up and shipped to you hungry, health-loving foodies!

Cacao Growing

Dominican Republic: the Facts

We love to know everything there is to now about the countries where our products are made and grown. From the Philippines for our delicious extra virgin coconut oil to the Dominican Republic for our wonderful cacao, we’ve literally scoured the globe to bring you the very best in natural, organic produce.

We know that you’ll love our new cacao every bit as much as we do, so we thought we’d teach you all about our new love’s country, the Dominican Republic. Read on to discover all about this incredible country.

Where Is The Dominican Republic?

Set in the beautiful Caribbean sea, the Dominican Republic is a country based on the island of Hispaniola (the country shares the island with Haiti), with many small islands set just off shore. After Cuba, the Dominican – once known as Santo Domingo - is the Caribbean’s second largest nation, with a population of around 10 million people.

The country is perfect for growing our cacao beans, since it’s hugely diverse geographically. There are giant, mountainous peaks, as well as the Caribbean’s largest lake, Lake Enriquillo. All this while enjoying a happy, sizzling average temperature of 26C – totally tropical!

Politics:

What many people don’t know is that when Christopher Columbus first landed on the island in 1492, it became the first permanent European settlement in the Americas. Eventually, three centuries of Spanish rule followed (although with brief French and Haitian interludes), before the country became independent in 1821.

Following independence, the country entered years of turmoil as political leaders and groups battled to be heard. The United States then occupied the Dominican for eight years (between 1916–1924), although this was to be the calm before the storm. A dictator by the name of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina then reigned until the 60s, with the authoritarian Joaquin Balaguer following.

Happily, since then, the country has moved towards democracy and is now led by President Danilo Medina, although corruption in government remains a huge problem.

Economy:

The Dominican isn’t just renowned for its beautifully breath-taking beaches and turquoise waters, although these are probably one of the many reasons why it’s the most visited destination in the Caribbean.

Not just a pretty face, the country also has the ninth largest economy in Latin America, and is the largest economy in the Caribbean. It’s classed as an “upper middle-income developing country”, thanks to its growth in imports and exports in recent years (the Dominican experienced a huge recession until 2002 following the collapse of a national bank).

Traditionally built on agriculture and mining, the country is now also making massive strides in offering services and is famous for its telecommunication system. However, farming is hugely important still, with national products including sugarcane, coffee, cotton, cocoa, tobacco, rice, beans, potatoes, corn and bananas. Tourism also plays a huge part in pumping money into the economy, with new luxury resorts expected to bring even more travellers to the country in the coming years.

However, in spite of its strengths, the country also has problems with child labour, particularly in the coffee, rice, sugarcane, and tomato industries. There’s also a huge gap in inequality - the poorest half of the population receives less than one-fifth of GDP, while the richest 10% enjoys nearly 40% of GDP. The average person receives just $12,800 per capita.

The country also counts high unemployment and underemployment as a massive problem – the unemployment rate stood at 14.6% last year.

Cacao Pods Fair Trade Dominican Republic

Demographics:

Many of the 10 million people in the Spanish-speaking Dominican live in urban areas, with most in the capital of Santo Domingo. The vast majority of Dominicans are mixed race (73%), with 16% white and 11% black, with almost all of the country (a massive 68.5%) Roman Catholic. Much of the population is young, too, with around 85% below the age of 55.

Racism is rife in the country, too. This perhaps goes way back to colonial times, when Spain created the casta system. Then, the Spaniards considered people of Spanish and other European lineage to have a higher social status, and the effects can still be seen today.

In October 2007, a U.N. envoy found that there was rampant racism and discrimination against blacks throughout every sector and segment of Dominican society, especially towards Haitians.

Education:

Schools are based on Spanish educational models, although English and French are taught to all pupils as secondary languages. Basic education from the age of 6 – 14 is a must and, although secondary education is not compulsory, the state does offer it for free.

Sounds great in theory, right? However, the Dominican education system isn’t quite what it seems. A massive 85% of Dominicans are illiterate and there’s a huge gap in terms of social status – the poorer children often tend to fall behind quickly, with many failing to complete the final stage of compulsory education. Many living in rural areas are also unable to travel the distance to good schools, meaning they will often drop out and turn to paid work.

Children have also revealed to UNICEF that there are problems with child labour, protection against violence, abuse and commercial sexual exploitation. The International Labour Organization revealed that close to 66% of the Dominican children who work (436,000) are between the ages of 5 and 14, with 42% of this population entering the labour market before the age of 10.

Even when pupils do show up, students hugely outnumber, with student-teacher ratios in schools with more than 500 students 78:1

However, in recent years there have been moves to overhaul the country’s failing education system. The current president has pledged to spend more on education and there are plans to extend the school day from five hours to eight.

Cacao Recipes

So, how do you eat this wonderful cacao? How do you go about enjoying its goodness?

There are heaps of dairy-free ways you can use our new cacao, from heating with almond or coconut milk to create a comforting hot chocolate, to creating homemade chocolate bars. Have a look on our Lucy Bee recipes page for more cacao ideas and inspiration!


Crunchy Chia and Sesame Bar with Pistachios

Method

  1. In a heat resistant bowl melt the chocolate and Lucy Bee Coconut Oil.
  2. Place a large heavy based frying pan over a medium heat, when hot add the quinoa and keep stirring and shaking the pan - the quinoa will start to pop like popcorn after about 1 to 2 minutes and turn golden. Remove from the heat and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Now add the chia seeds to the pan and repeat as above, the chia seeds will not pop and only need to be dry roasted for 1 minute, being careful not to burn. Add to the quinoa in the mixing bowl.
  4. Now add the sesame seeds repeat as above, the sesame seeds will turn golden, dry roast for about 2 minutes, stirring and shaking the pan, now add the sesame seeds to the quinoa and chia seeds.
  5. Stir the Lucy Bee Cacao Powder/Lucy Bee Drinking Chocolate into the chocolate mixture and then add the roasted seeds, pistachios and Lucy Bee Himalayan Salt. Mix together thoroughly.
  6. Place in a lined baking tray, and place in the fridge for 2 hours before eating. Keep in a sealed container in the fridge.

Preparation Time: 10 - 15 minutes
Serves: Makes 4 large bars but you can cut smaller
Cooking Time: 2 hours chilling

Ingredients

  • 150g Lindt 85% dark chocolate or any other good quality dark chocolate
  • 50g Lucy Bee Coconut Oil
  • 100g quinoa
  • 100g chia seeds
  • 100g sesame seeds
  • 100g pistachios crushed (I used my Nutri Bullet)
  • 1 tbsp. Lucy Bee Cacao Powder/Lucy Bee Drinking Chocolate
  • A pinch of Lucy Bee Himalayan Salt
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