Wednesday, 29 February 2012

My big cacao adventure: or how to (learn to) make your own cacao

Beginning of the year I have received an extremely beautiful and colourful surprise. Jojo, the friend living in Reunion island, bought as a present two fresh cacao pods from a local. I was simply speechless, they were in red-yellow nuances: till then I have only seen the cacao pods in yellow, yellow-green or brown, but never red! So at the beginning I did not dare to think of cutting them open....But then the curiosity won over and we first cut one in half!  We were told to try the fresh cocoa beans, which are still covered in the white flesh...The taste is very particular and almost unpleasant but they are supposed to give you a lot of energy.
Once we have tried the fresh beans I have decided to follow the classic way of cacao treatment which is:
step 1: cut open and leave the beans ferment in the sun for several days (from 5 days to 1 week);
at the end of this phase the bean is visible and the white "coat" has disappeared;
step 2: dry the beans for a bit more longer and then roast them;

step 3: now the beans may be ground to make cacao mass, pure chocolate in rough form;

step 4: you have all you need to make a big cup of hot and yummy chocolate by adding water and sugar/honey!
The beans on the left are 1 week in the sun, the two half pods on the right only 1day-see the difference in colour!
ENJOY...and don't forget that the cocoa, known also as "food of God", has several positive effects such as anti-stress, anti-depressant, anti-oxidant, brain-stimulator... this is however valid only for the pure cocoa mass and the dark chocolate, the milk chocolate and the other chocolate bars don't have those effects due to the high concentration of sugar and other additives;
Even my home pet, the lady bug above, was in love with the smell of the dried cocoa beans:-)


Filip Demuinck said...

Nice to see something about cacao. You commented on my blog about chocolate in Brugge and indeed I am going to publish a chocolate article soon.


betchai said...

i have never seen cacao in that color, only brown, that is so beautiful. i miss freshly home made hot chocolate.

Joop Zand said...

Lovely serie photo's Jana

Greetings, Joop

papillon said...

Really a fruit of the paradise...very nice post

Barb said...

This s the first i've seen a cacao pod. After all the seeding and drying, you deserve a big mug of chocolate! I'll think of this post the next time I just measure a spoonful of cacao and stir it into warm milk!

rainfield61 said...

Not only you and me are in love with the cocoa, the little bug does as well.

Very interesting.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Fascinating. Did you make cacao mass from them? I love dark chocolate! The pods looks wonderful too.
Is you little ladybug alive or ornamental? It looks so perfect.

I answered your question about my macro lens in the comments section of today's post.

Jana said...

thank you for the nice words+comments!
@Jutta+Christian: danke!seid ihr auch choco-addicts?:-)
@Pieces of Sunshine:the ladybug is real, it was living at home for few weeks:-) yep, from the toasted beans I made my own cacao mass!

Gosia Myślicka said...

I've never seen a cacao pod before.
For me it is very interesting - I learned today how to cocoa grows ;)

And what an extraordinary gift :)

AVCr8teur said...

I have never seen the how to process the cacao pods. This is quite a learning experience for me. If only I can have a taste. :P

papillon said...

Jaaaa, Schocki macht schön ;-)
Grüßle J&C

papillon said...

Vor ein paar Jahren hatten wir eine ganze Marienkäferkolonie auf unserem Balkon... hunderte... Wunderschön... nur Gwada ist schöner ;-)
lg J&C

Jana said...

...I am very happy to read that for a lot of you seeing cacao pod was a first-time-experience....glad this entry was interesting4u!
@C+J: eine Marienkäferkolonie?! das ist echt stark:-)

Rachel said...

Hi Jana! This is a great post. I would love to chat with you about the use of your photos. Please contact me at rachel (at) cocoanymph (dot) com.