If you read Rachel's post on the history of chocolate, then you know that chocolate is very bitter in its raw state before sugar is added. However, there are those who feel raw cacao is a "super food" that can be beneficial health-wise. I recently purchased a bag of raw cacao nibs to test this super food for myself. On first taste, I cringed because the nibs were indeed very bitter. After I ate some more, I got somewhat used to them but I wouldn't say they are delicious on their own, straight out of the bag. So I decided to add some to my banana-carob-coconut smoothie and the result was pretty good. It added just the perfect amount of chocolately crunch and the sweetness of the banana offsets the bitterness of the cacao.
I wouldn't recommend eating too much raw cacao. Because it's a stimulant, it may affect people in different ways. If caffeine affects you in a negative way, raw cacao may also do so. Raw cacao is very popular in the raw food community and among raw foodists there is much debate over whether it's really healthy or not. You have to decide for yourself whether you feel something containing a natural stimulant is good for you. I personally prefer to get my stimulation elsewhere, but a few nibs thrown into my smoothie is, I feel, not going to be a big deal.
Will I buy another bag of raw cacao? Well, I'm not sure. The bag I have is so big that it will take me a year to go through it, considering I'm just sprinkling a few into my smoothies now and then. I guess that will give me some time to decide. In the meantime, I'm going to keep researching the subject and reading all the pros and cons. We know for sure that dark chocolate is good for us, so is raw cacao just as good? Worse? Better?
Have you tried raw cacao? I'd love to hear opinions on this. It's definitely a controversial topic. For further reading check out the following links:
Con: This article by Frederic Patinaude argues that raw cacao is just a stimulant and not a super food.