I am looking for a bulk supplier of Ecuadorian raw organic cacao products. I came across this site during my research and have read some interesting and insightful discussions on what constitues raw and the difficulties buying (and sourcing) products which are fully raw. We currently source from Peru and while raw beans and nibs are available, we have been unable to source true raw butter, paste and powder. While some Peruvian companies claim to supply raw products such as butter and paste, their interpretation of raw is unconventional to say the least.
I would appreciate any pointers to companies/individuals who can help us source raw bulk Ecuadorian cacao products or supply us, including cacao paste, butter, powder, beans and nibs. If anyone on the forum can point me in the right direction that would be appreciated.
I believe you can purchase Ecuadorian product in bulk from Pacari - I am not sure if they supply the full range of what you're looking for.
Another source (Indonesia) is Big Tree Farms.
You are in the UK so I don't know how much harder this makes it for you. I can get both Pacari and BigTree products in the US.
Having just spent a couple of days in Piura (I am writing this in a hotel room in Miraflores, Lima), I would be interested in knowing what you mean when you say, "their interpretation of raw is unconventional to say the least."
Thanks for the reply and the two references. I've come across Pacari and I understand they sell the CCN51 variety, are there any providers you know of who supply the Arriba Nacional variety in a raw format?
With regards to the Peruvian supply, we've been offered raw Peruvian cacao butter which when we looked at the processing flow chart shows temperatures of over 110 degrees centigrade in the pressing stage and also 100 degrees centigrade elsewhere but it is still being classed as raw cacao butter. I'm not sure whether this is due to the fact that raw cacao beans are used during the process (i.e. no roasting occurs) or whether it is due to the cold pressing process at the end. I appreciate that there is a differences in the definition of raw but it does seem to me that this butter is definitely not raw with that temperature exposure.
Have you contacted Pacari directly? Are you sure you understand correctly?
It may be as you suspect, that they are using un-roasted beans to make the butter so that's why the consider it to be raw. If they're processing it to 100°C then it's not raw by the definition of the raw chocolate community. That doesn't make their definition unconventional, you're just speaking different languages. You are speaking the language of the raw foodist community, they are speaking the language of cocoa processors.
I have a much more interesting question for you - and this is something I pose to everyone in the raw chocolate world when they start asking about cocoa butter: what is the evidence for any negative chemical changes in the cocoa butter that occur during processing at a higher (than 47° or thereabouts) temperature?
You can say it kills "living" enzymes (virtually all raw foodists do say that in my experience) ... but no one has ever been able to show me any credible, independent laboratory analysis of the differences between cocoa butters pressed from the same lot of beans that differ only in the temperature at which they were pressed. And no, neither David Wolff nor Gabriel Cousens meet the standard of credible and independent.
I would love to know if there are differences so I can talk about them knowledgeably, which is why I ask. I personally am not a fan of the taste of most of the raw chocolates I have tasted so, to me, I wonder if my sacrificing my pleasure in eating "cooked" chocolate is worth any supposed meaningful differences in health benefits.
That's an interesting point with regards to different definitions and I suppose there is no reason why their interpretation of raw should be unconventional, they probably think the same of the raw food community's definition of raw :)
I wholesale the product so I'm responding to customer requirements who are most likely responding to their customer requirements, who are most likely simply equating raw with healthy. I think as the raw market is going more mainstream, a lot of the new consumers of raw products are buying into a lifestyle and in a time-poor world they are not educating themselves to become discerning consumers... raw is not the be all and end all, and it may not be the best option when all things (e.g. price, taste, nutrient content) are considered. So there's consumer pull for the raw cacao products, and there is also manufacturer pull. I'm guessing a lot of the raw chocolate bar manufacturers see having raw chocolate as good from a marketing persepective. It may not be the best tasting chocolate in the world and it may not be the most healthy treat in the world but it taps into its own niche.
I'd also like to see some more research on the health benefits of raw and unraw and the temperature at which enzyme loss increases for different products, particularly cacao.
Ultimately, it's about helping consumers make more informed choices about what their buying and eating. Organic designation does help in this regard but in some ways "raw" can be a distraction as raw doesn't always equal best.