We're passionate about raw chocolate here at Elements for Life. Some might even call us obsessed, but that's a separate discussion!
One thing for sure is we know a bit about raw cacao, we've eaten a lot of different raw cacao and we know what we like when it comes to raw cacao. We like to think the results of this dedication and passion comes across in the quality of our products. Wondering what raw chocolate is? Read all about it here.
Over the years, our supplier of raw cacao has changed a couple of times. When we started out, we went from idea to launch in under 4 weeks, yep less than a month! That was from a place of not knowing anything about product development and having no idea about suppliers, to creating the first version of our raw chocolate making kit and having sold that batch before it was even created.
The original raw cacao we had was pretty good, and did the job admirably at the time. But we were sure there was better quality out there, a cacao with that added oooomph that would turn a good raw chocolate into amazing raw chocolate.
Around 2012 we struck upon our current supplier and we've never looked back. In fact, we knew about them pretty early on, but simply couldn't buy in the sort of quantities they supplied!
For the past 3 years or so, we've been buying a very special supply of Arriba Nacional raw cacao, that has the true floral aroma unique to the Nacional cacao that is called the ‘Arriba’ flavour.
The Arriba Nacional Raw Cacao we use is grown in mineral rich volcanic soil at high elevation in Ecuador. The cacao trees are wild grown and tended to organic standards in this unpolluted natural forest garden. The irrigation source of the cacao is either rain or spring water.
After harvesting, the beans are brought down by donkey to a purpose-built facility near Guayaquil, Ecuador where they are sun dried. A mild ozone treatment is used to gently wash the cacao ensuring and bacteria or fungus is eliminated. The dried cacao beans are processed using custom modified artisanal equipment to ensure that the raw cacao remains below raw temperatures and is of the very highest quality.
Next, the beans are fermented for around 3 days which brings out the rich, complex "Arriba flavour" Nacional raw cacao is renowned for. The dried and fermented cacao beans are then crushed/peeled (winnowed) and the skins blown away to produce Arriba Nacional raw cacao nibs. The nibs are then stone ground to initially produce raw cacao paste and under further stone grinding the oil comes out and solidifies to become Arriba Nacional raw cacao butter. The remaining cacao mass is gently milled in to Arriba Nacional raw cacao powder. Temperatures are monitored at all stages of the processing to ensure they remain low.
We're proud of our raw cacao, in fact we're really proud of our raw cacao. We've spent a long time and a lot of effort to source the finest raw cacao possible. The flavours you can expect from our 100% Arriba Nacional Raw Cacao are complex, floral and aromatic. To our knowledge there simply isn't a better supply of Ecuadorian raw cacao available. To us, its the best raw cacao on the planet!