The great buzzword floating around the health and wellness industry for the last few years with cacao ceremonies becoming a weekly occurrence in many yoga studios or retreats. So what is ceremonial cacao, what is a cacao ceremony, why all the hype and is this cacao the same as chocolate or the cacao powder we see in our supermarkets?
Our Ceremonial Cacao
Who we are
Corin from New Zealand met Sally from Peru while traveling around South America. She shared her culture and heritage with him and took him to the jungle of Peru to learn about cacao - one of her most sacred plant medicines. Sally, an industrial engineer was working in a bank in Lima at the time but her ancestral lineage stems from the Andes of Peru and the Jungle regions of Mesoamerica. She taught him about the philosophies of Andean cosmovision, gave him maca and cacao and shared her amazing ancestral plant knowledge with him. Corin, a medical researcher (PhD) and scientist was struggling with his mental health and found the journey, connection and plant medicines transformed him and his life. He was able to come off his anti-depressants and has never looked back.
Together they found an artisanal farmer and community in Peru who shared their passion and created a pure, heart opening ceremonial cacao paste to help people like Corin in New Zealand looking for a deeper feeling of connection and way to promote self-healing through the spirit of cacao. Sally as an engineer was able to work directly with their farmer to produce the finest quality cacao paste and ensure that it was prepared following the correct ancient ancestral traditions required to enhance the cacao's energetics. She also worked to create a rescue cacao program that promotes sustainable and ethical production of cacao, protecting farmers in Peru and promoting reverence and respect towards the indigenous people. Sally runs workshops in New Zealand to share her incredible ancestral knowledge of Andean cosmovision and cacao. Corin uses his scientific knowledge to run a research program that studies the biochemistry of cacao to help substantiate the traditional uses.
"As a family business working directly with our farm we thank you for supporting us on our mission to bring you ethical, sustainable, premium quality, therapeutic cacao made with love and reverence towards the indigenous people of Peru." - Corin and Sally, the creators of New Zealands most specialised ceremonial cacao paste
What is Ceremonial Cacao?
All cacao comes from Theobroma Cacao, a small evergreen tree in the family Malvaceae, native to the deep tropical regions of Mesoamerica. However not all cacao is equal as there are many different varieties of cacao, different qualities and different therapeutic properties. Just like wine cacao also has different grades and calibers that differentiate normal cacao to ceremonial cacao. To be considered ceremonial grade cacao it must tick all the boxes outlined below:
1. It is pure full cacao-bean paste – the cacao paste block (or drops) must be prepared from only 100% pure organic cacao beans that have been naturally sun-dried, hand-peeled and milled to form the paste. Nothing added, nothing removed. It is cacao is it’s purest form beautifully blended in its own full-fat to produce a creamy 100% pure block.
Versus non ceremonial cacao - The cacao powder in the supermarket has been processed to remove the fat component and can often also contain additives, fillers or sweeteners.
Our 100% pure ceremonial cacao paste
2. It is made from premium hand-selected single-origin Criollo cacao beans - Criollo cacao is the most rare and premium cacao famous for its incredibly aromatic flavour and aroma as well as containing the highest levels of medicinal components. It is however very delicate, low yielding and requires careful attention and support from the jungle canopy to thrive. This variety is not used for mass production as it cannot produce on a large scale. For authentic ceremonial cacao the pods are individually hand-picked with permission from the tree, inspected for imperfections and beans are graded to select only the finest.
Versus non ceremonial cacao - Most commercially produced cacao is made from different varieties of cacao that are more resistant, higher yielding but not as aromatic and medicinal, with lower levels of bio-active compounds.
Our farmer Rolando carefully hand-selecting pods
3. It is 100% organic shade-grown under a natural agroforestry canopy – Cacao pods are porous and they absorb the aromas and energies of the plants that surround them. Neighbouring trees containing fruits like banana or papaya have the ability to infuse the flavour of the cacao and enhance the profile and sensory experience when using it in ceremony. True ceremonial cacao comes from this agroforestry environment and the cacao produced not only contains the flavours of the jungle that surround it but also the energy and vibration of the environment, further enhancing the spiritual connection of the user to the Amazonian spirit.
Versus non ceremonial cacao - Most cacao is now produced from mono-cropped trees at the expense of the jungle by farmers who burn out areas to mass cultivate for bigger yields. Often using immature or damaged pods, weak or wounded cacao and pooling all beans from all sources together into a blend. To hide imperfections in flavour these beans are often roasted to create a more chocolate flavour.
Agroforestry promotes biodiversity, protects the jungle and makes better quality cacao
4. It is blessed by the indigenous owners of the land and produced with respect to their traditional customs : All cacao comes from indigenous communities where the people have used it ceremonially for thousands of years as a sacred plant medicine (link sacred traditions of cacao). It is essential that the ancestral owners of the cacao are involved in the production process including blessing the soil, trees, pods and paste throughout the process and that reverence is upheld towards the culturally sensitive aspects of the people from the farming community. We are honoured to be given access to their sacred plant medicines and require their blessings in order for us to use it energetically clean. The cacao ceremony starts when the seeds are planted. Happy trees, happy farmers and a happy community provides clean pure happy, high-vibrational cacao. Ensuring we are culturally sensitive with the way the cacao is produced and exported is essential and one big differences between ceremonial grade cacao and simple cacao paste. The intentions of the producer will determine the energetics of the final product.
Versus non ceremonial cacao – most cacao now days is produced through farmer exploitation, child-slave labour, comes from unhappy trees, forced production against the laws of nature or from Western companies profiting off the backs of indigenous people.
Cacao has 5000 years of ceremonial history in the Americas with the indigenous people
5. It is packed with health enhancing bio actives to awaken your heart chakra and heal your body : Biochemical analysis of our ceremonial cacao paste showed significantly higher levels of several key medicinal components compared to normal cacao paste or other cacao based products and powders. The reality is that ceremonial grade cacao is far more powerful as a plant medicine due to all the reasons outlined above. The result is more bliss, more energy, more happiness, more joy, more satisfaction, more awakening and more uplifting occurs when you take ceremonial cacao vs other cacao products. It is pure and transformative as a plant medicine, very different from just cacao powder or supermarket chocolate.
Cacao is at powerful superfood, packed with nutrients and health enhancing bio-actives
With our ceremonial cacao you not only receive the highly nutritional benefits, but also the spiritual and emotional communion. In this way our ceremonial cacao is a fantastic tool to include in your wellness or spiritual practice. It is a wonderful facilitator to pair with ecstatic dance, yoga, meditation, journaling, bush walking, art, or any other creative process that helps you feel more embodied and connected to something greater than yourself.
100% PURE CEREMONIAL CACAO FROM TOCACHE, PERU
Our ceremonial cacao paste is a healing and heart opening elixir produced and blessed respecting mother nature and her frequency. It is 100% pure organic, single-origin and grows under the natural canopy of the Amazon jungle, surrounded by other plants like banana or papaya trees. Our paste is made only from virgin crop, hand-selected pods, without any imperfections. The pods are opened and then inspected with only pristine white coated fruit covered beans taken through to fermentation. After fermentation the beans are dried then milled into a creamy, rich paste following ancient traditional techniques. Each block is then hand-packaged in Peru before being shipped direct from the farm. It is made with love, pure intention, reverence and respect for the ancients.