frequently asked questions
'Cacao' is shorthand for theobroma cacao, the tree that produces cacao pods. Cacao pods are the fruit from which chocolate is made. Created by Megan O'Grady Greene, o'cacao is a nod to her family name.
While o'cacao is rich and decadent to the palate, similar to a dessert, it is so much more than just an indulgent treat. Made entirely with Low GI ingredients, including many raw and organic nutrient-dense superfoods, o'cacao is a premium source of vitality and sustenance. Many of our customers savor a bit of o'cacao in the morning with breakfast, or as an appetizer prior to dinner. We invite you to explore the possibilities of this 'potent & unorthodox' specialty food..
o'cacao is made almost entirely with flowering botanical ingredients – plants! (Aside, that is, from a pinch of salt here and there, and the edible gold leaf atop our RoseChili.) Whether it's the blooming catkin of a birch tree, an elegant vanilla bean orchid, or the delicate buds of theobroma cacao, it's all about the flowers. The five-petal flower on our logo is an artistic rendition of the theobroma cacao flower. The two 'flowering vines', on either side, are inspired by the Rod of Asclepius, an ancient Greek symbol of the healing arts. As the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates is so often credited with saying, "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be they food."
Over a year was spent refining the recipes for each flavor of o'cacao. Throughout that process, the intention was never to create a 'candy, or something 'sweet'. Rather the aim has been to cultivate a chocolate experience that challenges the palate, allowing the flavors of the ingredients to stand on their own. That being said, we do add just the slightest touch of 'sweet.' After extensive research, we chose a Low GI sweetener, commonly known as 'xylitol'. It's an unfortunately harsh sounding name, considering that it's a naturally occurring compound that our bodies even produce in small quantities. They xylitol we source is produced from Birch Trees grown in the USA, and is GMO free. Each single ½ ounce morsel of o'cacao contains no more than 1.5 grams of xylitol. (We prefer xylitol over stevia, given that a significant portion of the population has a negative palate response to stevia.)
We include inserts within each box or bag of o'cacao. These identify the flavor names, as well as the toppings that are on each flavor. For example, "CocoLavender topped with coconut"
This varies from person to person, and season to season. However, at the time of writing this, the most popular flavor is Chai, followed by FireCake and Sesame.
Every flavor of o'cacao is made entirely from botanical (plant-based) ingredients, starting with the theobroma cacao tree. o'cacao is notable for it's lack of excessive sweeteners. Nor do we include milk or other dairy products.
QUALITY & INGREDIENTS
o'cacao is made by hand, in small artisanal batches of only 40-ounces at a time. Each batch requires 4 hours of our team's devotion, to complete. We source the highest quality ingredients available. We use no preservatives, nor 'fillers'; we will never compromise quality for quantity. All of this may be costly, but the result is a remarkably dense, rich and textured 'chocolate food', intended to be savored slowly, for example 'a morsel a day.'
The whitish discoloration that sometimes happens is commonly known as 'chocolate bloom'. This is a natural process that sometimes occurs when the cacao butter rises to the surface of the morsel or brick. Cacao butter is made up of the fatty oils of the plant. When mixed with the other ingredients (cacao paste, goji berry powder, mesquite powder, etc.) the cacao butter may rise or push to the surface. While this may change the visual appearance of the o'cacao, it is perfectly safe to eat and other sensory characteristics, such as taste, texture and scent, remain unaffected.
'Raw' food refers to uncooked and unprocessed food. Heating foods above approximately 118F causes chemical and molecular changes to the food. These changes include the depletion of essential nutrients, as well as the creation of acidic toxins, carcinogens, mutagens and free-radicals. 'Raw chocolate' refers to cacao that has never been exposed to temperatures above 118F – starting from the time the cacao is harvested, dried, and refined from bean into paste. Strict temperature controls are further applied once the raw cacao (in the forms of paste, butter, powder and nibs) is 'in the kitchen'. In terms of basic chemistry, raw chocolate (uncooked) is a very different substance when compared to conventionally cooked chocolate.
Presently, we rely on several suppliers who import cacao cultivated in Peru, Ecuador and Indonesia. These suppliers meticulously ensure that what they import is both organically grown (free of pesticides and other toxins) and also treated with temperature control practices that protect and maintain the natural 'raw' chemistry of the cacao.
Our ingredients come from a range of sources, and are selected for their premium qualities including: organically grown, GMO free, Low GI, nutrient-dense, raw (uncooked) and having exceptional sensory characteristics such as taste, scent, and/or texture. Some of our ingredients are cultivated within the United States, while others come from the far corners of the world.
'Botanical' refers to plants. 'Superfoods' refers to a category of foods known for having outstanding nutritional and/or medicinal benefits, and are recognized for the ways in which they enhance physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Botanical superfoods include certain fruits and vegetables, as well as potent species of fungi, herbs and spices.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a means of measuring the impact that various ingredients or foods have on our blood sugar levels. Low GI foods affect our blood glucose and insulin levels far less than High GI foods. For example, Low GI foods are digested and absorbed slowly, which can influence a sense of feeling more nourished and satisfied. Also, Low GI foods do not lead to the physiological 'spikes' and 'crashes' that often accompany High GI foods. This is why we do not use cane sugar, agave, coconut sugar, nor other sweeteners that are less than 'extremely low' on the GI scale.
'Organically grown' refers to foods that are free of toxic and poisonous pesticides, fertilizers, and other harmful compounds that are common to conventional modern agriculture. These toxins enter our food chain and surrounding environment -- air, water, soil -- and ultimately, our bodies. Organically grown ingredients are considered to be 80% - 300% more nutritionally dense than many conventionally produced foods. Consumers often find that after switching to a diet that is predominantly 'organically grown', they are able to absorb more nutrition and energy from the foods they eat, and experience reduced cravings overall. Organically grown food has countless benefits for one's own body and mind, as well as for those who grow and produce our food.
GMO stands for 'Genetically Modified Organisms'. GMOs are animals and plants that have been bred through methods known as genetic engineering (GE). GE includes experimental technologies that merge cross species' DNA, leading to combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that otherwise would never occur via traditional cross breeding methods, such as those used throughout the history of agriculture and food production. There is a growing global debate surrounding the short and long-term impacts of GE and GMOs on our economy, environment, and personal health. Over 60 countries around the world have placed either bans or significant restrictions on the production and sale of GMOs. For a myriad of reasons, o'cacao chooses GMO free ingredients.
o'cacao contains no gluten nor dairy. A trace amount of soy (less than .001%) is included in some recipes, and is identified on the ingredients lists. Nuts and seeds are added to two recipes (NutmegOrange has almond butter, Sesame has tahini/sesame butter), and is identified on the ingredients lists.
No. The soy we use is a gluten-free and organic tamari, and only added in trace amounts, similar to a tiny pinch of salt being added to a vast pot of stew.
Yes, our Margarita recipe contains a trace amount of organic tequila.
STORAGE, SERVING & SLICING
o'cacao is a raw and living food, and free of preservatives and artificial ingredients. And as a result, it has the potential to 'turn' (spoil) if not properly stored cold. We recommend placing o'cacao inside of a plastic or glass storage container, one that is sealed with a lid, prior to placing it in refrigerator or freezer.
o'cacao is sold and shipped fresh, in peak condition. Unless all of your o'cacao is to be consumed within approximately 2 - 4 days of receiving or purchase, it should be stored cold to preserve quality. Kept in a refrigerator or freezer, o'cacao will remain stable and happy for at least 3 months.
o'cacao is best served and enjoyed at room temperature, 24-72 hours after removal from cold storage. (Our 4-ounce bricks, in particular, should be allowed over 24 hours to acclimatize.)
Of course, you can eat it cold. You might prefer some flavors that way – such as peppermint, when cool and crisp. Yet, o'cacao offers a whole other breadth of experience for the palate after adapted to room temperature - similar to wine or cheese. Give it time. This is a living food. The flavors and textures will morph and change as o'cacao adapts to its environs.
After o'cacao is at room temperature, use a sharpest paring knife. Slice selected morsel or brick straight down its middle, in to halves. Then slice each half into quarters, etc. o'cacao is meant to be savored slowly, in micro-taste servings.
Due to the varying textures of o'cacao, we cannot guarantee that each morsel or brick will slice perfectly every time. Here are some tips to help ensure best results when slicing:
1. Wait until your selection of o'cacao has completely adapted to room temperature (approx 73F or higher). We suggest leaving it out to open and breathe for 24 – 72 hours, before slicing or savoring.
2. Place your selected morsel, or brick, onto its side -- so that its topping is no longer facing upwards. Cutting directly into the 'top' can prove tricky, especially when the topping creates a rough surface, such as dried goji berries or slivers of almonds.
3. Use a very sharp paring knife, such as the type available in our SHOP. Take note that the following types of knives will lead to considerable frustration: table knives, butter knives, serrated knives of just about any sort, and 'sharp' knives that are too large.
4. With the morsel or brick laying on its side, make a first cut firmly down the very middle. Once you've made the first cut, continue to slice directly and firmly straight down the middle of each half. Continue as needed.
Immediately upon removal from shipping parcel, allow brick to adapt to room temperature for 24 - 48hrs. Once adapted, use sharpest kitchen knife, and cut straight down the middle belly of the brick, then into quarters. Place these divided quarters into cold storage. Remove a portion at a time, as and when ready to enjoy.
ORDERS, TRACKING & REFUNDS
o'cacao is boutique and artisanal, and made as per request. Each small batch of 40-ounces requires our team 4 hours to produce. Once order and payment is complete, up to 7 days may be required for fulfillment, prior to shipping date. The length of fulfillment time is dependent upon existing supply and demand, and overall production schedule at the time your order is received. We encourage early bird orders especially during holidays and special occasions.
If you wish to have an order expedited, please call o'cacao us prior to completing your order online so we can advise as to whether if this is possible. + 1 650 906 2574
To inquire about shipping to locations other than the Continental USA, please contact us directly with your enquiry:
+ 1 650 906 2574 firstname.lastname@example.org
All o'cacao products are shipped via USPS, and a tracking number will be emailed to you.
You may select from two USPS options when ordering from ocacao.com:
USPS Priority Mail – arrives within 2-3 days to addresses within the Continental USA
USPS Express Mail – includes a guarantee of delivery from USPS, and arrives within 1-2 days within the Continental USA
If you'd like us to ship via a service other than USPS, please contact o'cacao directly.
+1 650 906 2574 email@example.com Additional charges may apply.
Each order of o'cacao is shipped fresh and in peak condition. Due to the perishable nature of our products, we include ice packs when shipping. O'cacao is does not offer refunds or exchanges, but if for some reason your o'cacao arrives damaged or defective, please contact us with 48 hours of receiving your order, and email us a photo of the item. We will review on a case-by case basis, and do our best to assist.
Please contact us with any enquires. We look forward to hearing from you! firstname.lastname@example.org