One of the steps in making traditional chocolate is roasting cacao beans, which subjects them to high temperatures that reduce antioxidants and other beneficial health properties of the cacao. Raw chocolate typically minimizes processing and maintains the cacao and other ingredients at low temperatures throughout.
At present, there is neither an accepted temperature limit for raw chocolate nor third-party certification for it. The raw food community seems to generally use a threshold of 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), though some go as high as 49°C (120°F).
Raw chocolate has a reputation for being healthier than, but not tasting as good as, chocolate made from roasted cacao beans. The taste of raw chocolate, however, has been improving and a few makers seem to be crafting chocolate just as delicious as that made from roasted beans.
Over the next month, we will be reviewing raw chocolate bars from the Chocolate Conspiracy, Fearless, Fine & Raw, Gnosis, Pacari, and Stirs the Soul.