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So, I have noticed a recent upsurge in "raw" chocolate products. A couple I have tried have been tasty. But I don't understand what makes raw chocolate raw. Are the beans just not roasted? And if not what is done with them. Why would leaving chocolate "raw" be advantageous? Is it healthier and why? Inquiring minds want to know....

Tags: chocolate, health, raw

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Hi everyone,

Samantha referred me to this website after forwarding to her the article by Paul Nison.

Wow, this website has some really great, great info!

I sent this article to her because I just could not see Paul's motive for writing this article, since he promotes raw foods in his store, articles and lectures. I reasoned that he could have a sincere concern for the public, even though he maybe technically wrong. So I wanted to find out from Samantha whether she had ever heard of anyone experiencing negative side effects from eating raw unfermented cocoa.

Eric, since you are a doctor and nutrition specialist, could you please point out the things in his article that are indeed true. This would at least help me to sort out his article better.

To everybody else:

I also want to know if raw unfermented cocoa still smells like cocoa. It obviously tastes bitter, with Forastero being the strongest. But does the inside of the bean straight from the pod still have the cocoa flavor for the Criollo, Trinitario and Forastero varieties?

Has anyone ever tried or know of anyone who has tried making raw chocolate without fermenting or roasting the cocoa?
If so, can you share with me what your experience has been like? - not the process of course, but the taste.
But most orange juice, at least in the States, is not consumed raw. Most is at least pasteurized.

Certainly there's a tolerable amount of pathogens as Clay mentions. But, I would think in order to insure safety on a mass scale, it will take a considerable amount of resources. Cacao pulp seems like a nice place to set up a homestead if I were a pathogen. And the process of drying is still mostly done in the open to all manner of creatures who might make a deposit of pathogens.

I've done some reading (I believe in On Food and Cooking by McGee) which says that certain foods can actually be digested better when consumed cooked. What is the thinking in this regard to chocolate? Does it play an effect on the body, maybe the liver (or possibly the intestines) as has been suggested?

Thanks for bringing up this topic, Sam and Lemm. I've really been wondering about this, too.
All: Back to chocolate. This is a great time of year to count your microbial blessings. Foremost are the benefits to humankind that result from injesting fermented and cultured foods and beverages including most chocolate. The microbes active in fermentaion are beneficial and tend to displace harmful pathogens. More importantly, many such microbes are symbiotic and essential for maintaining good health. Use common sense. Eat and drink without fear and trust your liver and immune system to protect you from the bad stuff. Seek out the good stuff (live foods) including the liquor from fermenting cocao if you can get it. Cheers, Chocovore
Samantha,

I just finished about 8 hours of reading. Thanks again for pointing me to this awesome website. Other threads also helped me answer some other questions I have, and I too must join the rest of the chocophiles in saying that your replies are very thorough and well presented.
I have done all of the above...the less the fermentation the less the chocolate flavor...raw beans out of the pod are anything from bitter and plain to tart, tangy, and fruity but with no chocolate flavor.
Raw chocolate is not possible as the term chocolate requires minimum a roasting and grinding process. It wound then be raw cacao bean paste mixed with other things. Monkeys spit the seeds out just sucking the pulp, they can't be wrong.
I just want to make sure that I understand what is going on about chocolate flavors.

In another thread Clay mentions that there are inherent flavors in the bean before fermentation. What are these flavors?

Then Samantha/Sam (By the way what do you prefer to be called by?) said that you'll get some of the chocolate flavors during fermentation where the broken down sugars react with the broken down proteins.

The Steve said that there is no chocolate flavor unless there is no fermentation implying that there will be some after fermentation as Samantha pointed out.

Finally you said that there is no chocolate flavor unless there is a minimum of roasting.

Which one is it?
This is a very complex issue, with many complex answers all stemming from the fact that chocolate IS alchemy and that cacao is probably the most complex plant chemistry to be found perhaps on all of earth. Bottom line is that there is no "right or wrong" answer. There are infinite shades of grey!
How do you define "chocolate flavor" first of all! I am at shows all the time placing 20 different recipes of chocolate in peoples mouths all the time...people's pallates vary so much, that that itself is cause for concern in trying to "define" a chocolate flavor...all you can talk about is averages and generalities. Of course, the raw bean has some chocolate flavor, but some would say that that is not the real flavor of chocolate...get what I mean? Ultimately, who defines chocolate flavor? I would say the tree itself!
Hearts!
Sacred Steve
Most of the beans I use are unfermented and only sun dried. Then, I don't roast them. Then, I slowly stone grind them over many many days at temperatures that never exceed 114 F. This is my definition of RAW chocolate. Everybody is FREE to create their very own definition of RAW chocolate. Yay!
Super Hearts!
Sacred Steve
I see your point Steve,

I even blindfold my children on a taste test. One minute they like sample A, then they like sample B and finally they go back to sample A.

For the first time, I just finished making two small batches of homemade raw chocolate using organic raw cocoa powder first and then cocoa paste. Both came from raw fermented Criollo beans from Peru. It was delicious!! My wife and three childred wanted more and more.

Then we got a 72% cocoa content bar from an ordinary grocery store and compared the taste. They all said to me that they like the taste of homemade better (I haven't blindfolded them here).

I simply heated the cocoa in the oven at about 115 F. Then I mixed in some "raw" cane sugar powder, maple syrup, extra virgin coconut oil and lucuma and some vanilla.

In addition to the chocolate flavor present, I get a tinge of fruit and acidic taste. What I don't get is the strong roasted flavors. I also get a little pungent odor from the cocoa paste batch that I and my family do not care for.

So I am concluding that you can still get some chocolate flavor from raw fermented Criollo beans, at least the Criollo one I got.
"Say somebody reads the below and gets the idea that they are now only going to eat raw cacao with ayahuasca (assuming they are an ayahuasca user, rare breed indeed, but possible) based on the information presented below by Nison/Saffaron; that it is only eaten by indigenous people along with their ayahuasca brew, and therefore “safe” consumed in that way. Well, should somebody do that, it could result in a hypertensive crises based on the information in Erowid: "

its important to reiterate that this assertion is wrong and has been disproven and written about many times
but this old MAOi disclaimer just wont lie down and die!

the contraindications apply to non reversible MAO inhibitors, such as pharmaceuticals like mocoblomide
NOT to weak reversible inhibitors like Harmine, Tetrahydroharmine and Harmaline.

Raw chocolate, possibly the Theobrominedoes potentiate ayahuasca. its not just there for taste
please read developmnets at ayahuasca.com forums regarding potentiation of the ayahuasca effect using Cacao

"From personal experience I can tell you that ayahuasca is poisonous as the first reaction your body has to ingesting it is a sincere desire to vomit."

This is not universal. often it is a function of the quality of how the brew is made. a thick brown tannin rich brew will nauseate. however as an extract or light brew it does not inherently cause vomiting.
Ayahuasca studies show the brew to be beneficail to the physical and mental health of groups taking it.
it is not toxic in the classical use of the word

"One example is ayahuasca itself. It is made from two different plants - neither of which have psychoactive properties. "

Not true also. B caapi is psychoactive in its own right. the visions are less colourful without the DMT from the Psychotria viridis but they are certainly there.
Ayahuasca is made from many plants. the only constant is the use of the liane Banisteriopsis caapi. Not all ayahuasca brews contain DMT and not in all cases is that from P viridis. There are numerous admixture planst and its evolution is dynamic.

"The bottom line is no matter what someone feels, or believes, cacao is toxic! Science will confirm it."

soybeans are toxic and antinutritional too if you dont prepare them right. The indigenous rainforest people near where i live susbsited on cooked animals and processed toxic seeds and nuts. eating them unprocessed can kill you, but if you know how then they become an easy to gather rich food resource
they were pygmied ( rainforest adapted) but strong people - despite toxic food and cooked food.
Raw foodists would be neither in that environmnet, they would be plain dead.

http://earthsci.org/aboriginal/Ngadjonji%20History/Quest%20for%20fo...


"No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar."

Cacao would have a natural animal vector before humans cultivated it.
this animal may be unknown, or extinct.
there are many plants out there whose original vector is now extinct or missing
http://ebd10.ebd.csic.es/mywork/frubase/bigfruits.html
"its important to reiterate that this assertion is wrong and has been disproven and written about many times
but this old MAOi disclaimer just wont lie down and die!

the contraindications apply to non reversible MAO inhibitors, such as pharmaceuticals like mocoblomide
NOT to weak reversible inhibitors like Harmine, Tetrahydroharmine and Harmaline.

Raw chocolate, possibly the Theobrominedoes potentiate ayahuasca. its not just there for taste
please read developmnets at ayahuasca.com forums regarding potentiation of the ayahuasca effect using Cacao"

All I can say, is that from personal experience, there is a potential danger and caution should be exercised.

Hearts,
Sacred Steve

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