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FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a store?

Our laboratory at the moment it is not open to the public.

To purchase our products it is possible through our virtual shop, "vaicacao.com", or through our partners. If you have specific requests, you can always contact us at tel. + 39 0789 53857 or hello@vaicacao.com

What are the shipping costs and what are the times?

Standard shipping 3-4 days in ITALY is free from a minimum purchase of € 29,00. For smaller purchases, shipping costs only € 4,99. All purchases from our site are processed on the same day if made before 12:00 (except Saturday and Sunday), but only in the case of products ready to be sent.

On other occasions, if production is required, the order will start the next day. For orders placed on Saturdays, Sundays and Fridays after 12.00, the order is shipped the following Monday based on immediate availability. Users are always contacted in case this happens.

In Italy: the shipment is entrusted to the couriers DHL and SDA in 2-4 working days, except remote areas so transit times are approximately 4-6 business days. In both cases, the shipment is always accompanied by the track number, so that you can follow each movement and prepare for delivery.

In Europe and the world the shipment is entrusted to DHL or UPS with deliveries around 3-7 working days. You will receive an email with the order track to always know where it is. The cost is € 16,99 up to 3 kg of product (France, Spain, Ireland, Holland, Belgium, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Luxembourg, Switzerland etc.) For Germany check vaicacao.de 

Worldwide Shipping:

Depending of your country of residence, rates with DHL and UPS starts from 16,99 Eur to 40,00 Eur for order below 3 Kg. Shipping costs are calculated at the check out.

In some countries you must pay duties in order to import your order, including the UK. Please, do not heasitate to contact us if you need assistance. 

How do you recommend drinking Ceremonial Cacao?

Heat (without boiling) 180 ml of mineral water. Chop the cocoa with a knife (about 20 grams), add the water and start mixing over low heat. Add cinnamon and chilli, and if you don't like bitter, you can also add a teaspoon of honey, use a date, or maple syrup.

Or put everything in a blender for a few seconds, until completely dissolved. A simple milk frother can also be used to melt the cocoa and create the desired drink. 

For further information on Ceremonial Cacao do click here 

What is the origin of COCOA

Historical evidence indicates that cocoa was cultivated by the Olmecs from 1800 BC, by the Mayans and Aztecs, in different historical periods, in what is now part of Central America, historically known as Mesoamerica.

Mesoamerica included Southern Mexico (Tabasco, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Yucatàn), Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, part of Nicaragua and part of Costa Rica.

In particular, they cultivated it in the south of Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and in the north of Nicaragua. Its origin is thought to be indigenous to Central America but there are those who claim that it comes from the Amazon, although there is a lack of scientific evidence.

In any case, it is known that Olmecs, Maya and Aztecs, like other Mesoamerican indigenous peoples (Toltecs, Lenca, Nahuat-Pipil, Nahua, etc.) and other Mesomerican indigenous peoples, used cocoa as a currency, and that they had learned to exploit its enormous properties to create energy drinks, aphrodisiacs often reserved for the wealthy classes, and for use in ritauli and ceremonies. 

The debate on the origin of the theobroma cacao plant is still ongoing. There are those who claim that it comes from the Amazon basin, and that it was subsequently brought to Mesoamerica, where it was cultivated, honored as a sacred plant and used as a currency. The debate is still open today. 

Where does your cocoa come from? Is it ethical and sustainable?

Our cocoa comes from our Finca Cuyancùa (Izalco) El Salvador plantation. We also buy cocoa from other plantations always coming from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica (Central America). Although there is always one more reason to improve, our cocoa is not the result of slavery, illegal activities and much denigrates the lives of the workers involved. On the contrary, our project would like to give a deep breath to this region, paying prices higher than those of the market and giving added value to the entire supply chain. 

Do you do heavy metal tests? 

As a production laboratory registered with the Italian competent authorities, we are subject to periodic checks on the cadmium limits in chocolate. 

Each of our cocoa is however tested, obtaining very low quantities of cadmium, even much lower than the limit established by the EU regulation.

(European Reg. Limit 0.8 ppm / kg)

Cuyancùa: 0.02 ppm / kg

Lenca: 0.02 ppm / kg

Qeqchi: 0.2 ppm / kg

Nahua: 0.5 ppm / kg

Masaya: 0.03 ppm / kg

Tlaloc: 0.3 ppm / kg

Atehuàn: 0.4 ppm / kg

How many varieties of cocoa are there?

The world of cocoa is very large and still little known in its complexity. The quality of cocoa depends not only on its genetic variety, grafts, local climate, etc., but also on suitable agricultural processes, including a good fermentation and drying process that takes place exclusively on the plantation or in the collection center.

In any case, there are three classifications on which there are thousands of different genetics:

CRIOLLO (2%), TRINITARIO (8%) and FORASTERO (90%). The criollo, with a very fruity flavor, is characterized by white beans. As it is a variety not very resistant to the attack of soil diseases, parasites and molds, it is difficult to find. The price of the criollo is very high compared to the forastero and it is increasingly difficult to maintain its purity. 

Let's dispel a myth: having a "criollo" cocoa in your hands is very rare, and only some fine chocolates are made from this variety, but it is still very difficult for it to be pure. You will realize that it is a criollo simply by one fact: the price. If you pay very little for cocoa, cocoa nibs and chocolate, then there may be a "non" truth behind the label. 

Trinitario (or cacao fino de aroma), is a hybrid between criollo and forastero. Every origin, every "Finca", and local climate can favor a great aromatic yield of this cocoa. The grains are larger than the forastero, and contain more monounsaturated fatty acids, minerals and antioxidants. This cocoa is the favorite of bean to bar chocolatiers, who love to bring out a thousand aromatic aspects of this fruit. 

The forastero is the variety grown mainly in Africa, but also in South America. This cocoa has a poor aromatic yield, but which, if treated in an excellent way, can give great satisfaction. Its prices are much lower when it comes to commodities, compared to criollos and trinitarios. However, the quality of cocoa must always be verified from a visual, olfactory and taste point of view, but above all it is more important to understand the origin. And no, it is no longer enough to mention the country from which it comes to classify it as quality.

What is Ceremonial cacao? How do you make it?

Our Ceremonial cacao is what we consider a real elixir as it is stone ground cocoa beans (cocoa mass). It therefore contains all the components of cocoa, and it is possible to dissolve it in hot water or vegetable drink. This compound is not to be confused with "cocoa powder", which is instead a semi-finished product, devoid of cocoa butter.

It recalls the traditions of the Mesoamerican peoples where cocoa was stone-pressed using the "metate !, and drunk during rites and ceremonies together with other local spices without adding sugar. This highly energetic drink is used by holistic sectors to facilitate meditation and conviviality in a modern key.

What is meant by Bean to Bar chocolate?

Although there is no legal definition of "artisan" for chocolate, what we mean is: processed from A to Z. That is: we grow, export-import and process the cocoa beans until they are transformed into squares of chocolate to which we only add brown sugar (muscovado, coconut, panela, demerara ..). We do not buy semi-industrial chocolate products to just pour them into the stamps, but we take care of every stage of processing.

Yours is cocoa raw / raw?

No, it is not raw and we say it in absolute transparency and serenity. Indeed, both fermentation and roasting improve the digestibility of cocoa and promote the absorption of nutrients, including antioxidants (flavanols / polyphenols).

We carry out the roasting of cocoa at a controlled temperature, respecting and highlighting every origin of cocoa. When the cocoa bean has undergone fermentation and drying it has already undergone the first treatments, albeit natural, but has already been exposed to temperatures over 42ºC. 

There is still no scientific-legal definition on what the characteristics of raw cocoa should be (including temperatures). There is no third party that establishes the traceability parameters (as is done with ISO, and organic certifications for example), which can also guarantee that the "cocoa has not been exposed to temperatures over 42ºC (current parameter) during the phases For example, fermentation reaches temperatures over 50º C. So everything is based on the good faith of companies, people, who promote their products as "raw" and as healthy more than others, without however offering scientific comparisons and specific analyzes that can actually support these hypotheses. 

Furthermore, the tempering method for making "raw chocolate" can only be carried out with temperatures ranging from 45 / 46ºC and 50ºC for dark chocolate. Therefore it is not possible, by its nature, to maintain temperatures below 42ºC. We believe they are just strategic marketing works in order to confuse consumer preferences.

Obviously we invite you to take a tour of some cocoa plantation to understand what we are talking about, how it is worked from the first moment and then make your own opinion. Rather, we think it is more important to focus on the "quality of cocoa", of the artisan processes (bean to bar, farm to bar ..), origin, traceability, of the people behind the supply chain, profile of flavors, sustainability, history, etc. .

What are cacao nibs?

Cacao nibs are shelled and crushed cocoa beans. 

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