Cacao (ka-kow) is the ancient name for what we now commonly refer to as 'cocoa'.

 Cocoa beans are ground down and mixed with cocoa fat, dairy products and of course large quantities of sugar to make our popular treat 'chocolate'.

Chocolate used to be a luxury product but is now consumed in large quantities worldwide and is thought to be one of the major causes of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes and other related health problems.

But it is not the cocoa bean in chocolate that is thought to be a problem but the combination of the added fat and high levels of sugar which when put together with dairy products, fillers, artificial flavours, sweeteners and preservatives leave little in the way of health giving properties in this delicious treat.

So cocoa's ancient name 'cacao' is now being used by food producers to label a range of more natural products made from the raw unprocessed cacao beans.

Cacao beans are thought to be rich in antioxidants and packed full of phytochemicals, plant nutrients, essential fats  and magnesium. Cacao when eaten in it's raw state with minimal processing may have many health giving attributes most of which can be destroyed or reduced when the cacao beans are heated to high temperatures to make traditional chocolate. 

 Cacao is grown in tropical regions of the world and harvested to produce a range of products : cacao butter, cacao powder, cacao nibs and cacao paste.

Cacao nibs can be added to healthy snacks, yogurt, baking etc.

Cacao butter can be used with cacao paste to make your own chocolate treats.

Cacao paste can be added to yogurt, smoothies, used in baking or combined with cacao butter to make your own chocolate.

Cacao powder can be added to smoothies or used to make hot chocolate drinks or in a variety of baking recipes.