Did you know that dark chocolate is a fermented food? Traditional cultures have long employed fermentation of cacao beans (seeds) by native yeast and bacteria to improve flavor and aroma. Fermentation creates many biochemical changes to the proteins, fats, carbohydrates, polyphenols, and other components (including break down of phytic acid, a protective substance present in all nuts, grains, beans and seeds). Phytic acid is considered an anti-nutrient because it binds to minerals present in foods, preventing the body from absorbing these important nutrients. Reducing phytic acid is important for easier digestion and better mineral absorption.
Cacao beans are a rich source of polyphenol antioxidants such as flavanols (e.g. catechin and epicatechin) and methylxanthines (e.g. theobromine). Cacao is also high in minerals (manganese, copper, iron, magnesium), and a rich in dietary fiber and protein. This is associated with providing many health benefits including those related to blood pressure, heart health, brain health, cancer, gut microbiome, etc.
The fermentation story continues inside of us! Fermentation of cacao by gut bacteria creates anti-inflammatory compounds that improve our microbiome composition leading to many health benefits. Check out this story in Scientific American featuring my former boss and friend John Finley.
Our beans originate from small producers certified as organic. We have partnered with Uncommon Cacao, a pioneer in the ethical and transparent trade of high-quality beans. This means that farmers can earn a fair profit and develop sustainable practices. Each origin brings unique flavor characteristics based on bean genetics, growing conditions, and post-harvest fermentation.