Everyone knows how tasty chocolate is, and we’re pretty sure most, if not all, know what it tastes like as well.
But what about the actual parent fruit of chocolate – cacao?
Did you know you can eat cacao fruit fresh?
Yes, it’s considered a fresh tropical fruit, and although it may not taste like a carbon copy of your favorite chocolate, it packs a punch.
So, if your mind is buzzing with the question, “what does raw cacao taste like”? Think no more.
We’ll give you a rundown of this unique fruit that produces one of the most well-loved confectionaries in the world.
What is Raw Cacao?
Raw cacao, or simply “cacao,” is a tropical tree that produces the fruit of the same name.
The fruit has a long, almost rugby ball-like shape and is generally sized like an adult’s hand.
It usually has a yellow or reddish color with a hard shell.
A full-grown cacao fruit generally hosts two types of food beneath the hard shell.
One of them is the seeds, aka cacao beans which are found arranged in rows inside the shell.
And yes, you’ve guessed it. It’s the beans responsible for chocolate.
The second food is the pulp surrounding the seeds. It’s a white-colored fruit pulp that’s sweet in flavor.
This pulp is usually discarded, but some still consume it due to its sweet flavor.
Apart from its components, raw cacao is also considered a superfood due to its high antioxidant content, magnesium, iron, etc.
What Does Raw Cacao Taste Like?
Raw cacao carries a variety of flavors ranging from sweet and earthy to bitter notes.
The pulp is usually sweeter, while the nibs contribute to its earthy and bitter flavor.
The bitter notes sort of resemble dark chocolate, which is also the pure form of chocolate, and the texture is similar to that of coffee beans.
Now, the white pulpy bit of raw cacao also produces a juicy and fruity flavor mixed with a slightly sour note.
Being a tropical fruit, raw cacao contains hints of pineapple, citrus, and mango.
Some can also detect delicate chocolaty taste, which isn’t much of a surprise.
If you’ve tasted the cherimoya or atemoya fruit, you’ll also find a similar taste in raw cacao.
The cacao beans part of raw cacao carries a much more darker tone in terms of taste.
They’re edible raw, but it won’t be anything like eating a sweetened chocolate bar.
Though the seeds can be chewed easily, they have an extremely strong taste, which many consider bitter and astringent.
They usually taste like a watered-down version of the nibs but with a nuttier and softer tone.
Although both the pulp and seeds deliver a unique taste of their own, they tend to offer a better taste experience when eaten together.
Since one component is sweeter, it helps balance out the bitter notes of the other component.
This, in turn, creates a unique and flavorful representation of raw cacao as a whole.
As mentioned earlier, raw cacao is not just tasty.
It offers tons of health benefits in terms of digestive health, heart protection, stress, diabetes, etc.
So, it’s not just a unique fruit but also a nutritional food you can definitely add to your diet.
How to Use Raw Cacao?
One quick and easy way of using raw cacao is eating raw. But there are more ways to explore its usage.
For instance, you can prepare the fruit by carefully slicing it open to ensure the seeds are intact.
This is crucial as the seeds can be utilized for making chocolate or replanting the fruit.
So, if you’re planning on using raw cacao, make sure not to slice them entirely to scoop the beans and pulp them out.
This can then be set aside safely for different uses.
If you’re looking for more inventive ways to use raw cacao, you can peel the skin and chop it in pieces.
You can then incorporate the chopped pieces in several ways, such as using them as a garnish for your granola, ice cream, yogurt, etc.
You can also use it as a spice due to its earthy flavor. Thus, it can be added to chilis, barbecue sauces, and beef stews.
But, if you’re more of a drink person, add them to your smoothies to create that natural chocolate essence.
Making chocolate is one of the many ways raw cacao can be used.
It is a highly versatile fruit, which leaves tons of new recipes and uses open for interpretation.
How to Buy Raw Cacao?
The cacao tree is not something that grows everywhere.
This means raw cacao is not a fruit you can simply order online or purchase from any local market.
The trees are known to grow only around the equator regions.
About 70% of cacao beans production comes from the African region, along with the rest of the major producers like Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador, and Indonesia, so if you’re looking to buy, visit local marts in these countries during its peak season.
This will be the best way to get the fruit as it’s very difficult to source the cacao fruit.
But not everyone can afford to visit foreign countries just to purchase raw cacao.
Fortunately, people in the states can purchase it online from sellers such as Miami Fruit, which usually ships to most regions in the United States.
We all know that cacao fruit is famous for its chocolate-producing beans.
But there’s more to raw cacao than just chocolate production.
Even without it, the fruit alone offers a variety of applications with some fantastic health benefits.
Despite its limited availability, if you’re able to get one for yourself, make the best of it.
Raw cacao is a fruit definitely worth the price and attention.
Although it may not be the best tropical fruit, it still creates a unique experience by covering a mix of flavors.
Plus, its flavors won’t overpower your palate.
Hence, if you’re looking for a new superfood to experiment with, add this to the list and see for yourself.