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Even from Crucial FOUR’s humble beginnings, chocolate has been at the forefront. Of course, in the beginning it wasn’t in the form of a bar or bonbon, but the cacao bean. This is the nut that chocolate is actually made from. This was the food that got me hooked on Crucial FOUR from the beginning. Not to mention Crucial FOUR uses wild Arriba Nacional beans. As we will discuss later this is literally the rarest variety of chocolate in the world.

Cacao would eventually find its way into Crucial FOUR’s mBreakfast blend and even appeared in a few other items here and there. While talking with the team we realized that we have access to literally the best chocolate in the world, yet we don’t have a chocolate bar at the moment. There was something wrong with that picture, so we made one. Let’s take a look at just how special Crucial FOUR’s chocolate actually is.

Arriba Nacional

First off as was said in the beginning the Arriba Nacional cacao beans are the rarest beans in the world. It is estimated that less than 1% of the world’s chocolate comes from the Arriba Nacional variety. At one time this was the variety most cultivated in its place of origin, Ecuador. From the writing of the Spaniard’s we know that in the early 1500’s there where small plantations all up Ecuador’s coastal region.  It’s believed that this variety was chosen for cultivation because of its aroma/flavor profile.

There are two ways that chocolate gets its unique flavor, roasting or fermentation. The vast majority of chocolate is roasted. Unfortunately, this destroys the heat-sensitive compounds in cacao. The far superior way to process the bean is to ferment it. That is if keeping the nutrients intact is your main goal. The taste of fermented chocolate is also better, in my opinion. When it comes to chocolate that is fermented it is harvested and left in the pod with the sugary pulp. This is where the aromatic compounds from pulp make their impression on the bean. This giving fermented chocolate its unique taste.

The Rise and Fall

It wasn’t that long ago, 1890, that virtually all the cacao that came from Ecuador was Arriba National.  It was even the preferred chocolate in the Berlin and London markets. Multiple diseases hit right as the Arriba variety hit its height of exportation. By 1932 exportation of this variety dropped by 77%. To combat the declining numbers of the Arriba variety in the 1940’s other varieties were brought in. Over time through cross-pollination, the new varieties have started to interbreed with the Arriba Nacional variety.

  

Varieties that were resistant to the diseases and funguses that had basically overtaken Ecuador’s cacao trade. By the 1970s Ecuador’s agricultural research institute released the first wave of hybridized higher yielding cacao trees. If it wasn’t for the fact people are actively seeking this specific variety then the Arriba Nacional would have gone extinct. That’s one of the best parts about eating Crucial FOUR’s chocolate is your supporting an endangered variety of chocolate.

Processing

When it comes to making the most beneficial chocolate bar of course your starting material is very important. Probably the most important, but not too far behind is how it’s processed. We mentioned fermentation vs. roasting a little, but I would like to reiterate that roasting destroys any heat sensitive compounds. A few important ones that get lost in roasting, but are fully present in fermented cacao, are theobromine, phenethylamines, and anandamide. The reason I bring them up is because of how beneficial they are.

For instance, theobromine is in the same family of molecules as caffeine, and as I’m sure you guessed gives a boost of energy. It does this not by stimulating the nervous system and upping your cortisol production, but instead by acting as a bronchodilator and a vasodilator. Phenethylamines are some of the compounds responsible for the mood-elevating properties in cacao.  They have been shown to increase neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to name a few. They also make them work better. We could go on and on.

Stone Grinding vs. Steel Mills

We can’t talk about processing chocolate without touching on Stone grinders and steel mills. Last year many of the biggest chocolate manufactures got hit with a lawsuit because the amounts of heavy metals in their chocolate where at dangerous levels and under California law should have been labeled. The lawsuit was brought about by the non-profit As You Sow. They tested over 120 different chocolate products and virtually all of them came back with heavy metals. Here are their test results if you want to see how much heavy metals your favorite chocolate bar has in it (Results). Just a heads up many organic brands are on here. The reason I am bringing this up is that it’s believed that the contamination occurs in the processing. The steel mill is a prime suspect.

Cacao is delectable and beneficial, but it’s not the sole reason to try Crucial FOUR’s mCBD+ bar. The chocolate alongside the ashwagandha and the CBD make this a perfect bar just to snack on or as a pick me up. This bar is a great way to get a dose of CBD in. The benefits of CBD are astounding. Here is a link to a blog we did on CBD if you are unaware of the benefits (CBD Blog). Ashwagandha has many benefits itself that pair nicely with cacao and CBD. This bar is a great functional food that will uplift you while simultaneously balancing your mood. If you are a chocolate fan and like to feel great you owe it to yourself to try Crucial FOUR’s mCBD+ Bar.

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Magnesium content alone makes chocolate an amazing functional food. Having the ashwagandha and CBD makes it that much better! If you would like to try either the ashwagandha or CBD as stand-alone herbs click on the names in this sentence! For great health content and to know what Crucial FOUR has in the pipeline sign up for our news letter.

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