No, that wasn't a spelling error! Cacao and cocoa both come from the bean of the cacao tree. The difference in name refers to the difference in processing. Both are allowed to ferment, but that is the extent of the processing for cacao, other than chopping it into pieces called "nibs," or milling it into powder. Cocoa is roasted, which gives it a bolder flavour and destroys some of the nutrients.
Most of the studies which tout the benefits of chocolate actually used raw or minimally process cacao, not the cocoa or chocolate liquor used in common candy bars, even dark chocolate bars.
- Cacao is thought to provide the highest source of antioxidants of all foods
- It has the most magnesium of all foods.
- Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean remain.
- Cacao is an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, cholesterol-free saturated fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, natural carbohydrates, and protein making it an excellent source of nutrients.
Use raw cacao powder in smoothies or raw treats. If you are planning to cook with it, you might as well just get some cocoa, as you will destroy the nutrients which make it so much better than cocoa.
This powder was originally packaged in a facility that also packages tree nuts.