If you've ever eaten a bar of chocolate or drank a cup of hot "cocoa", you've definitely had cocoa, cacao (pronounced like "kuh-cow") or a combination of both! But what's the difference? Is one considered more healthy than the other? In this article, we'll dive into the history, processing methods, culinary uses, and health benefits of both cacao and cocoa.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Cacao has a fascinating story that began in Mesoamerica. Ancient civilizations like the Maya and Aztecs considered the cacao tree a special gift, using its beans to make a bitter drink for various ceremonies. It was reserved for the elite and was considered a godly potion that would provide energy and power. Cacao was also used in rituals to appease their deities. As time went on, cacao made its way to Europe, changing along the way to become the chocolate we know today.
The word cacao originated from the Maya word Ka'kau', as well as the Maya words Chocol'ha. The verb chokola'j means 'to drink chocolate together'.
HOW COCOA AND CACAO ARE MADE
BONUS: How to choose the healthiest chocolate
I hope you enjoyed learning about cocoa and cacao! If you liked this article, share it with another chocolate lover ❤️