vrijdag 30 september 2016

What's the Difference Between Cocoa and Cacao?

As you probably know, studies have shown that cacao beans may have a number of health benefits. Through the marketing might of candy manufacturers, this research has been translated into a common belief that chocolate can be healthy for you. Should you start loading up on chocolate bars for health?
Not exactly.

Before we dive into the details, let's understand what we're talking about. Cacao and cocoa are often used interchangeably, but in the professional world, cacao is the unprocessed bean inside the fruit of the cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao). There are 20 to 40 cacao beans per fruit. Cocoa is simply the name for cacao that has undergone processing.

Fresh cacao beans are naturally rich in flavanols, a type of antioxidant. Flavanols are plant-derived nutrients found in foods like apples, tea, blueberries and especially cacao. The flavanols are what gives cacao beans a bitter flavor. Processing the beans to remove the bitterness, destroys much of the flavanols as well. More processing means less health benefits.

According to a study from the University of California, Davis, eating foods high in flavanols, like cocoa, may improve the health of people with coronary artery disease (the leading cause of death in many countries), improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. Study participants consumed a cacao beverage twice a day for a month and compared to a control group that drank a beverage low in flavanols.
The Kuna people of Panama can drink up to 40 cups of cacao drink per week. A population study by researchers at the Harvard Medical School found that the Kuna people had very low rates of 4 common diseases: stroke, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes - less than 10 percent. They are also the longest living inhabitants of Panama and have not been shown to get dementia. Note that other factors may be at play: genetics and lifestyle.

Consuming raw cacao beans or powder would be more beneficial than processed cocoa powder or chocolate bars, especially since those can have added fats and sugars.

If you are looking for a tasty and healthy snack:
1. Chew on cacao nibs - these are simply small pieces of cacao beans.
2. Add raw cacao powder to smoothies and many other homemade foods and treats.

Source: http://www.fooducate.com/

dinsdag 20 september 2016

Chocolate and Love

Back in our shop, after 5 years the brand Chocolate and Love

Chocolate and Love is a family-owned business who are passionate about creating exquisite organic chocolate, ethically. This fine quality chocolate is made from cocoa produced by small farmers who are part of fair-trade cooperatives in Peru. There are 7 flavours which sell in over 35 countries worldwide and have won silver & gold awards repeatedly.

"we love the innovation, and fast response"

Richard & Birgitte, Founders, Chocolate and Love

This brand has continued to grow steadily over the last few years with the more recent export to China doubling the growth in record time.


vrijdag 16 september 2016

Ananda Chocolate Ecuadorian Origin

Actually it's too hot for introducing a new chocolate to our range, but even in a hot summer the real chocolate lovers are those who can enjoy a delicious fruity chocolate at 30°C.
Ananda Ecuador Origin Chocolate

Flavours: Banana Blisfull, Bye Bye Sugar !, Chia Chic, Coffee Break, Incredible Inca Mentally Mint, Pure Ecstasy, RAW Nibs Royale.
All chocolates contain 70% to 80% cocoa mass.

Bean to Bar from Ecuador

Made of fine flavour Arriba cocoa which is sourced from Organic and Fairtrade certified cacao farmers of the Association UNOCACE. Unlike many other chocolate brands, Ananda Chocolate is processed and packaged 100% in the country of origin. This means extra employment for people in Ecuador.
Sustainably packaged in biodegradable foil, so this can go either in the ‘green bin’ with organic waste or use it in your own garden compost. The paper box is made not from wood but from a by-product of sugar cane (fiber), so there is non eed to cut down trees, the inkt is vegetable-based.

Free from…

GMOs, E-numbers, transfats, milk, gluten, artificial flavors and preservatives.

When I was contacted by Marianne van Lankvelt to have it a try, I was honestly quite suspicious because once it was another chocolate from Ecuador. There’s just no end of new chocolate cocoa farmers in Ecuador, was my first impression.
Soon I hade to revise my first opinion, I was pleasantly surprised after tasting some of their bars.

Their commitment to the cocoa farmers is a credit to all parties.

The cocoa used in Ananda Chocolate comes from 'Unión y Progeso': a cooperative of cocoa farmers who are part of the umbrella association UNOCACE.

The cocoa beans are specially selected for taste profile because different regions of Ecuador have specific taste profiles. This is the result of differences in climate and environment. Cocoa Union y Progreso can be characterized as a flowery and fruity cocoa.

Walter one of the cocoa farmes was very happy that he joined in 2002 UNOCACE he gets a higher price for his cocoa and now has a stable income.

The price even UNOCACE pay is much higher than the Fairtrade minimum price that allows Max Havelaar. This is because (Amigos International) duly pay more for good quality.
Walter works with his brother on the land where he grows bananas and oranges. 
July and June are the busiest months in the cocoa fields. Since there is no
chemical pesticides are used, other solutions must be sought to prevend the impact of monilinia, a fungal disease that as much as 70 to 80% of the crop can corrupt.

Pioneer in this field is fellow Washington.
Washington is a strong proponent of the cultivation of organic cocoa, "It is better for people and the environment." To combat the monilinia is important that biodiversity on cocoa fields. "That's why he grows here besides cocoa also avocado, orange and banana plants. Thus, the mold is less likely to strike. " An additional advantage is that it is not completely dependent on cocoa, but that other fruits can be sold on the local market.

Photos and information with approval and thanks to Marianne van Lankvelt, Amigos International.

woensdag 14 september 2016

Ananda Ecuador Chocolate

Het is eindelijk nog wat te warm om een nieuwe chocolade in ons assortiment toe te voegen, maar laat de zomer maar duren de echte chocoladeliefhebbers zijn deze die zelf bij zomerse temperaturen kunnen genieten van een heerlijke chocolade.

Flavours: Blisfull Banana, Bye Bye Sugar!, Chia Chic, Coffee Break, Incredible Inca, Mentally Mint, Pure Extase, RAW Nibs Royale.
Alle chocolades bevatten 70% tot 80% cacaomassa.
Duurzaam verpakt in biologische afbreekbare folie, het doosje is gemaakt van rietsuikervezels, waardoor geen bomen hoeven worden gekapt, en de inkt is plantaardig. Biologisch en dus goed voor jou, de boeren en de natuur.

Toen ik gecontacteerd werd om eens de Ananda chocolade te proeven was ik eerlijk gezegd nogal argwanend omdat het nogmaals een chocolade was van Ecuador. Er komt precies geen einde aan de chocolade producerende cacaoboeren, was mijn eerste indruk.
Toch maar herzien mijn eerste mening, na het proeven van enkele van hun tabletten was ik aangenaam verrast. Ook hun betrokkenheid met de cacaoboeren is een opsteker voor alle partijen.
De cacao die wordt gebruikt in Ananda Chocolate is afkomstig van ‘Unión y Progeso’: een coöperatie van cacaoboeren die onderdeel uitmaakt van de overkoepelende associatie UNOCACE.
Het distributiecentrum van ‘Union y Progeso’.
De marquesinas om de cacao te drogen
Biologische arriba cacao.

De cacaobonen zijn speciaal op smaakprofiel geselecteerd, omdat verschillende regio’s in Ecuador specifieke smaakprofielen hebben. Dit is het gevolg van verschillen in klimaat en milieu. De cacao van Union y Progreso is te typeren als een bloemachtige & fruitige cacao.

Eén van de cacaoboeren is Walter. Zijn ouders hebben al 66 jaar een cacaoplantage.
Walter is erg blij dat hij zich in 2002 aansloot bij UNOCACE: hij krijgt een hogere prijs voor zijn cacao en heeft nu een stabieler inkomen. De prijs die UNOCACE betaalt ligt zelfs een stuk hoger dan de fairtrade minimumprijs die Max Havelaar stelt. Dit komt omdat wij (Amigos International) behoorlijk meer betalen voor de goede kwaliteit. Van de Fair Trade-premium heeft de associatie
nieuwe, zogenoemde marquesinas aangekocht: stellingen om de cacao te laten drogen. Dit komt de
kwaliteit van de cacao en zodoende ook de smaak van de chocolade ten goede!

Walter werkt samen met zijn broer op het land waar hij ook bananen en sinaasappels verbouwt. Juli
en juni zijn de drukste maanden op de cacaovelden. Dit komt omdat er in die periode veel monilia-rot
voorkomt: een schimmelziekte die wel 70 tot 80% van de teelt kan aantasten. Aangezien er geen
chemische bestrijdingsmiddelen worden gebruikt, moet er naar andere oplossingen worden gezocht.
Voorloper op dit gebied is collega Washington.
Washington is een groot voorstander van het verbouwen van biologische cacao: 'Het is beter voor mens en milieu'. Om de monilia-rot te bestrijden is het belangrijk dat er biodiversiteit is op de cacaovelden. 'Daarom kweekt hij hier naast cacao ook avocado, sinaasappel en bananenplanten. Zo heeft de schimmel minder kans om toe te slaan.' Een bijkomend voordeel is dat men niet helemaal afhankelijk is van de cacao, maar dat de andere vruchten ook kunnen worden verkocht op de lokale markt.

Foto's en informatie met goedkeuring en dank door Marianne van Lankvelt, Amigos International