Real Natural Chocolate:Guatemala Cacao and Honey Bars,the 50% Solution
First, I would like to mention that shortly after self publishing or self posting my article on Pataxte or Theobroma bicolor on the internet it was found and reposted on a professional cacao and copra,(dried coconut), producers website called,’A Weekly Newsletter of Cocoa Producers’ Alliance’.For that I am deeply humbled and appreciative of the honor.Thank you so much for your egalitarian philosophy that judges an amateur on the basis of subject matter and not professional degrees or titles.The following link is to the issue where my article,”Pataxte,(Theobroma Bicolor): Real White Chocolate, Macademia Nut Of The Guatemala Maya ?’, appeared.:
At the Tostaduria Antigua where we began the first pioneer coffee roasting in Antigua Guatemala in 1994,not to mention slow or low temperature coffee roasting that takes about 2 hours or a bit more to roast ten or so pounds of excellent Antigua and occasionally other high quality highland Guatemalan coffee, we finally,by chance.,began to roast Guatemala cacao beans in 2005 and,of course,to immediately grind them with a grinder conceived by my Guatemala partner and ‘handmade’ in Guatemala just as our roaster was made here by a former German company taken over by a Guatemalan family after World War II when many German Guatemalans had their lands and businesses confiscated and divided by yet a new elite that,of course as usual, did not benefit the indigenous Maya in any way.
I decided to put our basic cacao honey formula on record to the public after having a discussion with a Californian who has been buying ground chocolate or cacao beans in California and appeared to possibly be tempted take our idea and basic formula as his,(and California’s), own, giving Guatemala no credit,as usual,as a country of innovators in their,(our),own right..While I lived about 16 years in California where I developed my like of using honey in lieu of sugar for various purposes such as making a honey fruit pancake or french toast syrup, to substitute for more expensive maple syrup for instance,(or at least it was cheaper at that time before possible pesticides or whatever began killing bees of in the U.S.and California),so when we roasted cacao beans for the first time and ground them and appreciated for the first time just how much cocao butter,(52%), was in the beans to re-harden and set it out to harden in the form of large flat slabs to be cut into bars – the only thing I could think of to sweeten it with was the excellent local apis bee,(the common domesicated Eur-Asian and African stinging bee known around the world for pollinating crops and providing honey to the domestic market) -and NOT sugar that has itself just about destroyed the formerlly beautiful cacao growing region of the Pacific coast here and replaced it with an ugly monoculture where a diverse cacao agro-ecosystem much more in tune with the biosphere used to flourish!If indeed it is really possible to purchase ‘organic’ sugar in the world,I doubt it is in Guatemala and it would still be an ugly monoculture crop by any other name.As an aside when I first arrived in California up until the time I departed, the bias against cacao was still in full sway and even when I wanted a chocolate tasting bar I generally bought a carob bar rather than chocolate and of course it was always sweetened with sugar as well.Below I quote an article by Stepanie Zonis discussing the myth of ‘raw chocolate’ in order to juxtapose the same analogy for the confused definition in existence today for so called ‘dark chocolate and emphasize that no real FDA or legal definition exists and just about anyone making a synthetic or ‘natural’ chocolate bar can make said bar or bars with just about any ingredients they want even synthetic cocoa butter,which is the danger of bars made by recombining cocoa powder and cocoa butter after they have been separated by industrial presses and then recombined again in the first place ! As I have said,if the Mayan gods or nature had wanted more or lee cocoa utter than is in the cacao bean or seed in the first place,the Mayan gods or nature would have done so in the first place.We have found that the ground cacao bean indeed has enough cocoa butter to allow the addition of up to 50% honey without becoming either too soft or too sticky to form a bar.In fact honey in place of sugar creates a softer texture than when sweetening with sugar even without need to ‘split microns’ as some industrial makers brag of doing such as Ghiardelli claiming their bars are better because of their super fine industrial grinding and pulverizing of the bean they are able to do with modern industrial cocoa bean grinders and pulverizers or whatever.
(Here I interject to point out that exactly what the author,Stephanie Zonis says above about exactly what Zonis says above about a lack of a real clear definition for what ids raw food and more so regarding so-called ‘raw chocolate applies directly to ‘dark chocolate definitions as well. I have even seen a Hershey bar with milk products called ‘dark chocolate’ although most agree that dark chocolate is chocolate without any milk products whatsoever.I have also seen corpoate ‘dark chocolate’ that even contained hydrogenated fat rather than all cocoa butter and it would be quite common to have ‘dark chocolate’ that while not having either milk or processed cocoa butter substitutes,often contain 65% or so cocoa butter rather than the truly ‘natural’ cacao we make at the Tostaduria Antigua that in keeping with te Mayan gods and nature has only a bit over 50% but also no less just as nature intended a whole cocoa bean ‘powder’ to cocoa butter ratio to be.And that way no one gets confused and ‘accidentally’ eplaces real cocoa butter with a synthetic hydrogenated fat substitute.- Tony Ryals)
However back to our 50% rule or dogma,meaning 1/2 pound or say a half kilo of ground cacao or the best baker’s chocolate which if authentic,is indeed the same thing,should be melted at low temperature with a 1/2 pound or1/2 kilo of honey.You don’t have to find one of those silly ‘chocolateirs’ thing a majigsor whatcha ma callits that stirs it 40 days and forty nights.Remember that cacao is Mayan,Not biblical or even mentioned in the Torah or the Koran or book of the Mormon,now that I think about it.
That basic formula is our standard but hey if you want REAL ‘dark’ or the real taste of the bitter flavors of excellent nutrional cacao go for it.Reduce to 40% honey or 30% or 20% or none at all – I don’t care! The texture however will change as less honey is added just as it slowly becomes softer and stickier as you go past 50%.This stickier softer version has a number of potential uses as well such as center filling for the 50%
‘bar’ formula as well as a french toast or crepe or pancake syrup when warmed that’s as fluid as maple syrup.We add a bit more than 50% to our cobanero chile delicacy and then roll it in cinanmon powder to take care of the messy stickiness aspect.Still it is so soft for a few days than it can form a bar and one woman from Texaas whose review of our chocolate honey is posted on this blog compared it to ‘doo doo’.I’d even have prefered the Clinton cigar analogy to that but note in her review that it certainly didn’t effect her apetite for our natural cacao honey chile cinamon concoction….
After the honey has been stirred in you can lay it out to cool and set or you may stir it slowly and regularly as it is cooling,(remember you didn’t have to heat it up much more than your body temperature to get it to mix together),and if you do a methodic job of it not much cocoa butter will
accumulate on the serface meaning you are ‘tempering it in part as it cools rather than needing to do it later on a cool surface such as marble counter top as the (hee hee) ‘chocolatiers’ use.On the other hand if you don’t mind any white of cacao butter forming a white clear sheen on the surface of your cacao honey mix(,and I kind of like the look myself),you can just set of lay it out to harden without bothering to make sure the caco butter found naturally in your ground beans or baker’s chocolate,now mixed with honey,mis evenly to perfect.It certainly want affect the texture of your 50%-50% cacao honey mass.It will of course harden in a few hours or better to leave on the counter overnigt,into any form you lay it out.We generally cut a bag in place of something like saran wrap that you also be used,and pour the semi-solid warm ‘liquor or caco honey mix on top of it and then fold the other half on top and smooth it into flat ‘giant’ bars to cool and harden.
But if you are an artist you can actually sculpt it before it hardens just as people do with a mixture of cacao and corn syrup,(that controversial Jesus sculpture in New York some years back comes to mind),or put it in a mold although we have not done so.Or sculpt Mayan or Aztec gods and do hieroglyphs in honor of those who taught us all about the existence the caco plant we have up tyo now so visciously perverted.
It should further be pinted out that the chocolate cany bar ‘chocolatiers’ like to de-emphasize or not mention the sugar content of their products and instead emphasize their chocolate content,however processed,as being the key ingredient,in fact,sugar and too much industrially derived fat whether it be real cocoa butter from industrial presses or even hydrogenated artificial subsitute,are the key ingrdients and thses dillute the antioxydants and amino acids and carbohydrates of REAL CACAO their synthetic processes have virtually destroyed !And note that even what can be termed ‘semi-sweet’ chocolate can have up to 50% sugar content ! I’d recommend honey cacao 50% solution anyday,wouldn’t you ?
Mystery epidemic devastates Central American region
In town in Nicaragua’s sugar-growing heartland, studies have found more than one in four men show symptoms of chronic kidney disease…….
12 Feb 2012 – Three years ago his kidneys started to fail and flooded his body with toxins. … Zapata, who worked as a sugar cane cutter for 20 years at the San … of the phenomenon as far north as southern Mexico and as far south as Panama. …. in Bajo Lempa, El Salvador, and Romina Ruiz-Goiriena in Guatemala City …
Shortly after beginning our honey chocolate bar experimiment I discovered by chance a white bean bean in our lightly roasted cacao beans that,as I’ve said in all seriousness previously,I actually thought was some sort of ‘albino’ chocolate bean or genetic mutation with even the bitterness bleached out and although over several years I only had ten or less beans at most at any one time I did manage to get my Guatemalan partner to take one back to the person we bought it from in Guatemala City and ask what it was.The word came back that it was ‘pataxte’ and that the cacao wholeseller in the city claimed that finding it in our cacao was in fact an indication that our cacao came from one of the best cacao growing orchards around.In a google search I soon enough discovered that ‘pataxte’ was in fact Theobroma bicolor and was mentioned in the Mayan Popul Vuh,right next to cacao,as a revered plant of the Maya,meaning that the Maya who wrote or recited it had a good idea that pataxte and cacao are related which in modern times scientific classification bears out and both are listed in the Theobroma genus.Other than the fact that they both are found inside a fruit that, in the case of pataxte, tastes like a mix of papaya and mango,etc.,the plants themslves areuite different with cacao being more like a large bush while pataxte is a tall thin tree that shoots up to around twenty five feet or so and has no fruit on its trunk but only only the branches that bare the leaves so far up in the air they are sometimes hard to see with the naked eye.Also the fruit and seeds are protected by one one the most beautiful large shells I’ve ever seen and while the locals toake them for granted and brek each one,they make amazing cups or mugs that are so insulated you can hold the hottest coffee or chocolate drink with no need to make a handle !They can also make beautiful bracelets and other ornaments or practicle items in my opinion.
Unfortunately in 2005 and for several years later I could not for various reasons take any time to go look for the seeds or ‘pepitas’ of pataxte myself,( and unfortunately it is now so rare and unused outside the few places where ‘old growth’ cacao is still cultivated and virtually unknown by the majority of Guatemalans that no real ‘formal’ market exists for it) and so I began telling everyone who came to the Tostaduria Antigua about them and showing the two or three I had at any one time and my idea that they could be make a REAL ‘white chocolate’ with seed protein and other unknown beneficial bio-molecules if only someone could procure some and bring them back to me in hopes that some adventurous traveler would be curious enough to make a methodic search.(In fact occasionally when I showed my prize pataxte seed or nut or ‘bean’ to someone they would think it a gift,rather than my treasure,and non chalantly pop it in their mouth causing me much grief.) Unfortunately and unbeknownst to me,that put me in the clutches of the greedy and selfish self promoting ‘chocolateers’ who unbeknownst to me planned to use my idea for pataxte as ‘white chocolate’,(my term fot it), to promote themselves.In particular there appeared a woman by the name of Emily Stone who proudly told me she was the proud owner of a website called ‘chocolateincontext’ and somehow I was supposed to be bowled over and impressed apparently.She came in with a woman whose name I never got but who had bought coffee from us previously and was friends of a guy named Carlos Eichenberger who only recently I came to realize may have been the owner-editor of an English language newpaper in Guatemala City in the 1990’s that we advertised in and in which I wrote two articles in at the time,one being,’A Brief History of Coffee’ and the othe being,’The Two Saint Simons’,both of which will be posted on this blog sometime soon.Anyway Eichenberrger opened a conventional chocolate store name Danta in Guatemala City a while back after Emily Stone’s little game of pretending some anonymous ‘chocolateirs’ all a a revelation of sorts and all discovered or conceived simultaneouly that ‘pataxte’ might be ‘white chocolate’ and he even wrote a comment on her blog,(documenting her collosal failure to even grind the bean to observe its amazing cacao like butter, ha), about consulting with some other cacao ‘expert’ about ‘fermenting’ it when in fact to keep it milk like taste I wouldn’t even roast it myself .
I do now know that the Zapotec indigenous of Oaxaca do in fact do an elaborate fermentation of the ‘pepitas’ or seeds or ‘beans’ in layers of ‘cal’ or limestone powder that indicates their use of pataxte dates back a long way and in fact pataxte is the common name there,if ‘the term common’ can be applied to a plant that is,even in Oaxaca,almost a kept secret among a small indigenous population.How the probably Zapotec word ‘pataxte’ word came to be used in the Popul Vuh,considered to be ‘the bible’ of the K’iche Mayan speakers of the Guatemalan highlands, that was orally tranlated to Spanish in the 16th century remains just another mystery althougth the Aztec population that also speaks another Nauatl language did march with the conquistadors to subdue their fellow or brother Maya after they were defeated by the Spaniards in Tenochtitlan and other Nahuatl language groups are also scattered further south in Central America.The Maya of Alta Verapaz refer to ‘pataxte’ or Theobroma bicolor as ‘balam’ which means jaguar as wel in Mayan languages and I presume that they thus have only one word for both a jaguar and the pataxte fruit or seeds or
the beautiful tree that is pataxte.But in my ignorance none of what Iam saying is ‘written in stone’ and if anyone can give any better explanation I’m all ears.However their are a number of completely different words for pataxte in different Mayan languages and none of them or pataxte to my knowledge while in predominantly Zapotec speaking Oaxaca pataxe would be the comon word for the plant to those who know of it.And so to the extent that it is Mayanit is a borrow word and ne that isn’t neccessary because it is common to the Mayan
region and virtiually all Mayan languages have a different word for it particularly low land Maya where the teee once thrived.The fact that the K’icheuse the probably Zapotec word may be beause of their highland origens and perhaps to it being a pre Spaniard – Aztec conquest influence that they lowland neighbors used or borrowed.However it is highly doubtful that it is of Aztec origen because they themselves were a highland
people living and briefly dominating the area where Mexico City sits today.They probably borrowed it from the Zapotec of Oaxaca.
I documented in my article,’Pataxte,(Theobroma Bicolor): Real White Chocolate, Macademia Nut Of The Guatemala Maya ?’,by Tony Ryals 2009 by’Pataxte’, to make ‘white chocolate’.I had discovered a white bean as neutral in taste as cacao is bitter in the cacao beans we had bought and the seller told us it was ‘pataxte’ and then all these ‘choclateers’,(I’ve come to have a bad association with that ttile,sort of like ‘mouskateers’ from my childhood Walt Disney watching television days),came out of the woodwork .
I have been saying for some time,since we came up with the Guatemala ‘50% honey solution’,as a
play on the 70% solution’ of ‘chocolateers’,( a nice way of saying 30% sugar ‘solution’ really),that Belgian or U.S.,dark chocolate makers could or should come to Guatemala to take lessons from us although in point of fact what we do is so simple that its not neccessary and so unique and simple that it has our ‘psycho-neural’ prints all over it.However we welcome you to the land of cacao origens anytime and the place,Meso-America that here in its Southern boundary of Northern Central America is where the use of cacao,at least in the form of drinks that so far are considered to have been bitter or unsweetened until the presumed Catholic nuns prsesumably ordered their indigenous Azrec or other Mexican indigenous slaves to grind the cacao beans as ussual but to add mostly sugar that was now growing from Conquistador Hernan Cortez vast sugar cane plantations after that plant of old world India origens had been brought by ship in order to make some extra cash or gold for Hernan Cortez and his Catholic masters the king and queen of Spain and his their masters,his ‘holiness’ the pope in Rome.