Cacao-Coconut-bars.jpgEaster is just around the corner, and so too are mountains of chocolate eggs, and sweet temptations!

With New Year resolutions on the line, it is a challenging time for diets, but it is possible to have some delicious chocolatey goodness without the guilt!

Here we find Cacao and Cocoa. The base ingredients of chocolate, and packed with a few health secrets of their own!

Cacao is thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods, as well as the highest source of magnesium. It also contains B-vitamins, protein, calcium, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, zinc and copper.
Cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can consume. The cacao fruit tree, also known as Theobroma Cacao, produces cacao pods. These are cracked open to release the cacao beans. From there, cacao beans can be processed a few different ways.

Inside the cacao bean is a fatty layer called cacao butter, it is white in colour and resembles white chocolate in taste and appearance. The butter is removed from the bean during production, and the remaining bean is what is used to make cacao powder.

Cacao nibs are cacao beans that have been chopped into small edible pieces. They contain all the fibre, nutrients, and fats that the cocoa bean does. They work well as an alternative to chocolate chips, or as a decadent addition to your trail mix.

Cocoa is the slightly more processed form of cacoa that many of us are familiar with from our childhoods. It has been treated at a higher temperature, but still retains a large amount of antioxidants and nutrients. So it is still a good choice for its health benefits - just avoid ones with added sugars.

Dutch-processed cocoa, also known as dark cocoa powder, has been processed with an alkalised solution, making for a richer taste and less acidity.

You can use cacao and cocoa powder interchangeably in baking, raw treats, oats, cookies, or even in coffee for that mocha taste.

Cacao powder contains more fibre and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact. Cacao is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates, and protein that make it an excellent source of nutrients.

Both cacao and cocoa are highly nutritious for you and are sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
If you want more nutrients, then we suggest choosing cacao, but if you prefer fewer calories and a decent source of antioxidants,  then definitely go with cocoa powder.

Check out this week's recipes for some delightfully decadent chocolate yummies!

..and don't forget to check out the Easter Category. Chocolaty goodness awaits you.