Experimenting With Cacao in Ecuador
Antidote Founder, Red, has recently returned from a week in Ecuador, where she was surrounded by cacao pods, farmers, and their kids - little rockstars.
Our top priority is full flavor while preserving the power of the bean and preserving flavonols, magnesium and pectins. Red is constantly experimenting with cacao to improve our process. To maintain the highest amount of nutrients possible, we work directly with our farmers and production team to specify the exact temperature and level of fermentation, our cacao drying procedures, and temperatures for further processing methods for all Antidote chocolate bars. Fermenting and roasting (if not working with raw cacao) are some of the most critical steps to ensure delicious AND healthy chocolate.
Preserving the Power of Cacao.
Red works directly with Vicente, an expert in cacao fermentation, and has the gratifying experience of matching his know-how to our attention to detail. Working with Vicente allows Antidote to make pure dark chocolate with cacao percentages between 73% and 100% without any trace of bitterness. How is this possible? Rather than separating the cacao beans from their surrounding pulp before processing, our farmers use the natural sugars already in the pulp during the fermentation process. As a result, this delivers a very delicate, non-acidic and low astringency cacao bean - perfect for our dark chocolate - that allows us to lower the sugar in every Antidote bar!
Antidote has led the dark chocolate industry in creating more potent and pure formulations of dark chocolate bars, particularly our famous “Raw 100% Bars,” and it’s always an honor to hear of European chocolate companies who have gotten in touch with our Ecuadorian partners to find the source of Antidote cacao beans. However, it’s not that simple. Apart from sourcing the finest cacao, we also take extra steps for the finest production methods available. For each of our chocolate bars, we have a cacao formula that is exclusive to Antidote - including cacao region, fermentation level, drying method, and roasting temperature. Antidote chocolate bars are some of the most complicated to produce due to the temperature control throughout the entire process. We pay attention to the details because we are SERIOUS about preserving the natural power of cacao!
The Natural Power of Cacao
Highly specific production methods allow Antidote to deliver the most nutritious benefits the cacao bean has to offer. The health benefits of cacao, presented in potent form in an Antidote dark chocolate bar, shine through. Thanks to cacao, dark chocolate has a very high ORAC level.
ORAC means “Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity,” and is a unit of measurement to rate antioxidant content in foods which was developed by the National Institute on Aging. Wild Blueberries (a known antioxidant powerhouse) have an ORAC level of 9621. Goji Berries come in at 3290, while dark chocolate lands at a tremendous 20816!
And, it’s not just a marketing scare tactic. Protecting against the detrimental effects of oxidative stress is one of the most important things you can do to prevent aging. While there are many compounds in Antidote’s dark chocolate that contribute to this awesome ORAC level, there are three that stand out.
Serious Nutrients, Serious Chocolate
There are three important nutrients that contribute to dark chocolate’s high ORAC level and this is what we are trying to maintain in the bean: flavonoids, pectins, & magnesium.
Flavonoids are phytonutrients - they help plants resist disease and bacteria as they grow. The flavonoid present in cacao is flavonol, and is what contributes to the cacao bean’s natural bitterness. Flavonol can lower blood pressure & cholesterol, improve glucose metabolism, and improve brain function.
Pectins are a form of soluble fiber. While we all know how important fiber is, we still don’t get enough! The recommended amount of daily fiber intake for an adult is 20-35g; the average American gets about 10-15g. Pectins also lower cholesterol and protect against colon cancer.
Magnesium is 1 of the 7 essential macrominerals you should always include in your diet. It helps maintain normal muscle & nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, keeps bones strong, and supports a healthy immune system. Sometimes when you are craving dark chocolate, your body is telling you it needs magnesium.
Feel the Difference
What all of this means is that when you eat Antidote chocolate, you can FEEL the difference.
All of these nutrients exist naturally in cacao beans - it’s up to us to make sure they stay there once they become dark chocolate bars. High quality production methods means more antioxidants which means better health. Instead of giving in to a craving with a sugary chocolate, boost your mood and your health with Antidote dark chocolate.