The world of chocolate truly does not have an end - there’s just so much you can learn about! One could think that ‘chocolate is just chocolate, as simple as that’ - however, this is far from the truth, and it is clear from the very beginning, precisely the cacao beans. There are plenty of different cacao bean varieties, and depending on which one of the chocolates you are consuming is made of, it will taste different.
In this article, we will talk about the Criollo cacao - what it is, why it is so sought-after, what are the benefits of consuming it, and more. So, let’s get started.
What is Organic Criollo Cacao?
Criollo (which in Spanish means ‘of local origin’ or ‘native’) is one of the varieties of cacao beans. What makes it special is how rare it is - in fact, it represents less than 3% of cacao grown worldwide, and at a few points in time, it was close to being extinct. Due to its rarity, there are many companies claiming to sell ‘the real deal’ while actually selling a variety called Trinitario (but more about it later).
Criollo cacao beans can be used to create a wide range of products, including vegan chocolate raw cacao chocolate. And if you’re wondering what raw cacao chocolate is, it is simply chocolate made from fermented, dried, and unroasted cacao beans.
What Are the Benefits of Organic Criollo Cacao?
You might be thinking - What are the organic Criollo cacao benefits? What sets it apart from other cacao beans, aside from its rarity? Well, the most important would be the taste - Criollo cacao beans do not contain rough and large amounts of tannins, which are responsible for chocolate’s bitter taste. As a result of being grown in a tropical rainforest, Criollo chocolate has a unique taste - creamy and delicate.
When it comes to some other benefits of organic Criollo chocolate, they are the same as those of any other chocolate. For instance, it is thought of as very nutritious, especially if it has a high cacao percentage - chocolate has fiber, as well as iron, copper, potassium, and other minerals. It is spoken among most as a great source of antioxidants.
Understanding the Different Types of Organic Criollo Beans
After all this chocolate talk, you might be wondering - Are there different types of beans for cooking with cacao? And in particular - Are there any different types of organic Criollo beans? The answer is yes, there are - and it all depends on where it is cultivated. For instance, in Venezuela, there are three types of Criollo beans - guasare, chuao and porcelain.
Now that you know that, it seems like an appropriate time to look at what are different types of cacao beans in general, so here they are.
This one you already know - Criollo beans are the rarest variety of cacao beans currently available. As Criollo plants are susceptible to weather and animals that want to eat their fruit, the criollo cacao beans were close to extinction a few times already. Because of that, as well as their flavor, Criollo cacao beans are considered to be super fine cacao.
Forastero is probably the most commonly encountered variety of cacao beans - it dominates the market, representing anywhere between 85 and 95% of the cacao growth. The main reason for that is that it is not as easily susceptible to diseases as other cacao bean varieties are, as well as the fact that Forastero has lower requirements when it comes to cultivation. This variety of cacao bean is mostly cultivated in Indonesia and Africa with the primary region of largest production being West Africa.
Trinitario is a hybrid cacao bean variety - a mix between Criollo and Forastero. Depending on how much of each is present in the plant, the Trinitario beans can taste differently. Therefore, there’s a near endless amount of Trinitario varieties. Even though Trinitario is not that rare, it still represents less than 10% of the world’s cacao growth.
Nacional is another superior cacao bean variety. Although it’s been around for over 5 thousand years, until recently many thought that it went extinct - at least its pure form, as over the centuries most of the Nacional varieties interbred with others.
Conclusion - To Buy or Not to Buy? Taking into Account Cost & Quality
Truthfully, the answer is - it is best to buy organic cacao beans online to add to your desserts, or if you prefer, an already-made chocolate. Its rich, not bitter taste makes the time you put into surfing the internet to find the best organic criollo beans for sale definitely worth it. Not to mention that if you bring a dessert made with them to a party, we have no doubt that it’ll become the star of it. So - should you buy Criollo cacao? Yes, definitely.