What is ‘raw’ chocolate and is it good for you?

raw chocolate
Is ‘raw’ chocolate the next “superfood?”

Making chocolate is complicated. Cacao beans have to be picked before being fermented, roasted, ground down, pressed, mixed with fat and sugar and turned into bars and other desserts.

Several companies in Europe, the US and Asia have decided to alter one of the processes and no longer roast the beans. They insist that growers in Africa and South America leave them outdoors to dry naturally instead. The resulting product is called “raw” chocolate.

Manufacturers claim that avoiding exposure to oven temperatures allows the preservation of nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and vitamin C, in a similar way to uncooked vegetables. It’s also claimed that uncooked cacao contains higher levels of antioxidants than the roasted variety used in most chocolate.

Over the last 10 years, consumers have become more discerning about their food and drink choices. Chocolate is no exception.

But Martin Schweizer, professor of biochemistry at Heriot-Watt University, urges caution on describing raw chocolate as a superfood until more research is carried out.

Source: BBC July 2014

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