Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Raw Cocoa Beans : only for Serious Chocolate Lovers

Raw Cocoa Beans are another recent gluten-free snack and diet food I found at Whole Foods Market recently. But, before you grab a bag of these to start stacking on, I warn you: eating raw cocoa beans may only be enjoyable if you are a serious chocolate fanatic - they are a bit harsh to say the least.

The flavor is intense, and borders on bitter, since there is no added sugar or cocoa butter (or butter) as you are most likely used to when you consume commercial chocolate products. Basically, eating pure raw cocoa beans is even a step more harsh then consuming unsweetened baking chocolate. But, if you are into such things, give them a try.

Being just cocoa beans, these should certainly be safe for your wheat-free, dairy-free, vegan, gluten-free diet. Because of their flavor intensity, the cocoa beans can make for a great low-calorie chocolate "fix" that packs enough punch to satisfy any cravings. And, I have found that I can just pop a couple of these beans into my mouth and chew on them for as much as a half hour while still getting flavor out of them. The consistency may be a bit like that of roasted coffee beans. So, if you like roasted coffee beans (a popular form being chocolate-covered espresso-beans), you may well enjoy these cacoa beans.

Now, just because I eat them plain does not mean they are not useful in other ways. I love my gluten-free desserts, especially chocolate ones and/or chocolate-accent ones, and these beans can be used as a neat addition or garnish to various gluten-free desserts. You can crack them into small pieces and sprinkle them onto things as cocoa nibs (which I noticed were rather popular on top of chocolate bars in the UK). I like them on ice-cream, and sometimes I'll just eat some with a piece of a dark-chocolate bar for a quick enhanced texture and flavor experience. There are quite a few possibilities for these delicious gluten-free treats... even if you can't tolerate the flavor intensity in their pure form, they make a wonderful accent. Enjoy!

Sorry the Gluten-Free Blog articles have slowed down the past few weeks. My wife and I have been busy creating a vastly expanded vegetable garden for the summer, and that has been taking a lot of time. But, I have more gluten-free recipes coming soon including some Soy/Tofu variations of glutenfree cakes and GF waffles that are quite fabulous. Perhaps when the next rainy day forces me indoors I will have time to post the recipes, but for now, I have to take full advantage of the great Spring weather while it lasts.


Lauren said...

Hmm...I wonder if I qualify as a serious chocolate lover. I can't get enough chocolate, but the bitter stuff isn't my favorite.

Lynn Barry said...

WOW! This is serious chocolate fixer...LOL
Good luck with the garden. I just worked on one in my backyard today too. Take care.

Catherine said...

I wish I liked chocolate that much...


Anonymous said...

I got whole cocoa beans at a local store, what a treat! They are crunchy and bitter and wonderfully unprocessed.

elsbeth said...

The cacao beans I buy in
Mexico are not bitter.
I eat about 5 of them together with
almonds every morning and find them delicious.
I don´t have any cravings for
chocolate or sweets all day.
saludos from San Miguel de Allende

Anonymous said...

Can you eat raw cocoa beans whole or do you need to crack them and extract the nibs and eat those? Thanks.

Mike Eberhart said...

I am consuming the raw cocoa beans. Nibs are simply ground up beans. There is not a shell or such to remove. I also like toasted cocoa beans/nibs and love nibs in various chocolate bars.

jim e. said...

I put a couple in my mouth before going on a run. About 3-4 minutes in, there is a 'peeling' that comes free, and I spit this out. The peel does not have the rich flavor that the little pieces inside have, and the peel likely has indigestible 'seed' type chemicals.