We make our VAICACAO® Ceremonial Cacao using Specialty Cacaos from single-farms & coops. in El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica
"An incredible wholefood with an intense, chocolatey, fruity aroma and taste"
- Organically, ethically and sustainably grown, made in micro-batches -
Packed in a full recyclable paper packaging
How do we do it?
Ours is a minimally-processed product made by stone grinding the cacao beans into a paste, which sets to form a block.
We base our preparation of ceremonial cacao honoring ancient Mesoamerican traditions; choosing sustainable and traceable premium cacaos, lightly roasting them and stone-grinding them to maintain a raw texture, with no added sugars or preservatives.
We work directly with specialty trinitario-acriollado cacao beans from our farm Cuyancùa, El Salvador, and from others farms of El Salvador such as Finca S. Fernando, La Carrera, Parras Lempa, and cooperatives across Central America such as La Campesina, Nicaragua, Fedecovera, Guatemala, Nahua in Costa Rica. Each of our cacao's has its own specific flavor profile, ranging from earthy to spicy, fruity to floral and green notes.
We are vertically integrated and buy cacao at the farms in the case of salvadoreans cacaos and from a selected partner in the case of cacaos from Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
How to prepare the Cacao?
Once chopped finely, the paste is easy to dissolve in hot water or vegetable milk, and you can whisk it by hand into a frothy drink or use a blender. You can add from 15 g to 30 g of cacao.
When chopping the cacao, you will see the white spots of cacao butter, which naturally make up around half of the bean's paste, and create the creamy rich texture of the drink. Traditionally the drink is prepared with mesoamerica's spices and corn, but you can add ashwagandha, lucuma, maca, ginseng, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, cardamom, damiana, natural vanilla or any other spice or herb you like. You can drink it bitter, but some also like to sweeten the drink with honey, dates and prunes.
Why is Cacao called 'Ceremonial'?
For millennia, in Mesoamerica, what are now the countries of Central America and South Mexico, pure cacao was used as a natural medicine and played an integral part in all religious rituals and ceremonies.
In this context, cacao was considered a sacred plant according to the "Popol Vuh"the Sacred Book of the Ancient Mayas, connecting the human and spiritual realms. For more than a decade, holistic and spiritual practitioners have been re-discovering the medicinal and ceremonial use of cacao and although modern 'cacao ceremonies' vary greatly in their focus , at the heart of these is the consumption of cacao in its purest form. This is why our organic, minimally-processed and ethically grown cacao is labeled 'Ceremonial ", meaning that it's form is similar to the traditional mesoamerican Xocolatl or Kakaw product. We could have also call it just "cacao paste", but wasn't telling the full story of it and we really wanted to join the "cacao" movement for meditative purposes and spiritual growth.
Mood enhancing substances in cacao make it particularly suitable for personal growth work, meditation and ceremony. Cacao is the only food to contain the "bliss" molecule known as Anandamide, an endocannabinoid. It also contains other pleasure-related neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and phenylethylamine (PEA), along with the gentle stimulant Theobromin. When we put natural cacao in our body, it makes us feel like we are falling in love; relaxed, mindful, euphoric and energized.
What is a Cacao Ceremony or a Cacao Ritual / Gathering?
Nowadays modern Cacao ceremonies are rooted in helping to "rebalance" the energies within us and restore good health. They call on the sacred mesoamerican traditions and use the medicinal qualities cacao to strengthen connection to the self, to others and to the natural world. Through the opening of the heart, cacao can help us work through past blocks and traumas and address repressed negative energy. Modern cacao ceremonies combine aspects of personal growth and mindfulness with other traditions and practices, including meditation, prayer, breath work, yoga, song, music and dance. You can find offers online, or you can design your own cacao experience!
Of course You don't have to be a Mayan or Aztec descendants in order to guide your own individual or public ceremony / ritual; you can honor the plant and it's sacredness and be grateful by avoiding any form of cultural appropriation of the Mayas, Aztecs and their modern descendants indigenous groups of Central America, which still live in difficult conditions and are still fighting for recognition and people self-determination, and as the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights establishes, they have "the right to maintain, protect and develop past, present and future manifestations of their culture, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies, visual and performing arts and literature ".
"Can I use Ceremonial Cacao, without the 'Ceremony'?
Yes! Ceremonial Cacao is increasingly used by individuals as part of a healthy an conscious diet, integrated into their daily routine (often in place of coffee) and to support their own personal practices. It can be enjoyed as a warm beverage, or added to smoothies, muesli or other delicious treats.
The "medicinal" and mood-enhancing effects of natural cacao are proven and more and more people consume cacao for their well-being; to aid concentration, calm the nervous-system and boost their energy and creativity.