What is cacao fruit and what can you do with it?

7 Jun 2021

Chocolate Knowledge

It turns out that chocolate is just the beginning. Read on to learn all about the different uses of cacao fruit.

They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but cacao fruit does, and we think that’s even better. Coming from the Theobroma cacao — also known as the cacao tree — cacao fruit is native to tropical regions of Central America. The fruit contains cacao beans, which are the main ingredient in chocolate!

We have a lot to thank cacao fruit for and enjoy learning about the stuff almost as much as we enjoy eating chocolate. Read on to find out all about it, and make sure you take a look at our vast range of chocolate goodies. We particularly recommend our Cocoa Nibs if you want a taste of pure cocoa goodness…

What does cacao fruit look like?

Cacao fruit is oval-shaped, a bit like a rugby ball, and usually red or yellow. It’s around 15-30 centimetres long, 8-10 centimetres wide, and its skin is quite leathery and hard — you need a knife to cut into it!

It may not be the prettiest to the eye, but it’s certainly beautiful to the taste buds.

Open cacao fruit with seeds

What does it taste like?

Each fruit usually weighs around 500g and, inside, you’ll find cacao beans and cacao pulp. The pulp is juicy and sweet and refreshing, reminiscent of a tropical fruit. This cacao fruit pulp covers the beans, which are not as sweet but still enjoyable if you love intense flavours. They taste of extremely rich, dark chocolate. 

What can you do with cacao fruit?

The main — and most delicious — way to use cacao fruit is making it into chocolate. Unsurprisingly, this is our favourite thing to do with it! However, there are countless other delicious ways to use it. From jam and alcoholic tipples to beauty products, cacao fruit lends itself well to a whole host of treats.

Cacao fruit liquor

One way to use cacao fruit is to make it into liquor. This is usually done with the white pulp and results in a sweet, sorbet-like liquor that is great on its own and excellent in cocktails. Some of the cacao cocktails you could try with this liquor include a chocolate martini and an extra chocolatey mudslide

If you like a tipple with an irresistible chocolate flair, you’ll definitely want to check out our range of alcohol. From our Cacao Gin to our Salted Caramel Chocolate Cream Liqueur, we have lots of delightful alcoholic options. If you’d rather stick to solid chocolate with just a splash of alcohol, you’d love our range of Boozy Chocolate. The collection includes gems like our Pink Champagne Truffles and our Rum Soaked Sultanas

Cacao liquor for cocktails

Whole fruit chocolate

Chocolate as we know it typically uses the seeds of the cacao fruit as a base. However, it’s possible to use other parts of the fruit to make a confectionery known as “whole fruit chocolate”. This type of choc is good for the planet because it minimises waste. On top of that, it’s great for taste buds because it has a lovely fruity taste. Thanks to its use of the sweet cacao pulp, this chocolate doesn’t contain much sugar, making it a healthier option.

We don’t yet sell whole fruit chocolate, but if you’d like a treat with a fruity flair, make sure you browse our selection of Fruit Chocolate, where you’ll find goodies like our Banana Smoothie Selector and our Chocolate Orange Tangs — yum!

Cacao juice

Cacao juice is 100% natural, pressed juice that comes from the pulp of the cacao fruit but surprisingly, it doesn’t have an intense chocolate taste. It tastes zestier and more floral — it’s more comparable to a fruit juice than a chocolate drink. 

But this fruit doesn’t just taste delicious; it also possesses a range of health benefits because it’s bursting with antioxidants and minerals. Enjoy it on its own or add it to smoothies, cocktails, or desserts for a dose of healthy cacao enjoyment!

Cacao Tea

We love a good cuppa, especially when it’s cacao tea in the mug. Yep, that’s right, our favourite fruit makes a yummy and refreshing tea. With a slight chocolatey taste and aroma, cacao tea is irresistible and has a long history. It was first created and enjoyed by the Mayans – the original chocolate lovers – and is still beloved today. We’re a nation of tea fanatics, and this creation will give you a whole new way to enjoy it. If you haven’t tried it yet, you really should.

If you like your hot drinks a little more intense, you may like to browse our huge range of Hot Chocolate. From our Vanilla White Hot Chocolate to our Orange Supermilk Hot Chocolate, we love coming up with exciting new flavour pairings and varieties. We even produce a special in-house hot chocolate machine — the Velvetiser — which is a must for any hot choc fans.

Cacao beauty

Cacao fruit isn’t just great for edible creations. It also works well in beauty products, thanks to its antioxidants and soothing properties.

We believe it’s the beauty ingredient that everyone’s skin is missing, and we have a whole collection of gorgeous products full of the stuff. From Cacao and Shea Butter Body Lotion to Chocolate Fruit Lip Balm, we have plenty of cosmetic goodies that make it easy to slip cacao into your routine (and pamper yourself). We even have a lovely Cacao Pod Soap in the shape of a cacao fruit — a must for any chocolate-lovers!

Cacao for beauty products

Experience cacao at our Rabot Estate

Cacao fruit really is a wonderful thing. And it doesn’t get any better than tasting it freshly-picked. If you fancy experiencing cacao fruit first-hand, a trip to our Rabot Estate in Saint Lucia would be perfect for you.

Here, you can stroll through cacao groves where you can smell, feel, and taste fresh cacao fruit. It’s the perfect holiday location for anyone who’s curious about this fruit or wants to learn more about the origins of our chocolate and our Roots to Wrapper process. You can also enjoy eating the fruit in various exciting forms at our restaurant and let us pamper you with it at our Cacao Spa. In other words, it’s a cacao paradise.

If you want to experience some cacao magic a little closer to home, our London restaurant will answer all your prayers. Our whole menu celebrates the wonders of the cacao fruit. Dishes on offer including Pulled Pork Piton with a cacao nib coating, a Beetroot Wellington marinated in cacao nibs, and Chocolate Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Cacao Fruit

If you’re now feeling slightly in awe of the cacao fruit’s versatility, you’re not the only one. With so many excellent uses, this fruit is truly a gift from mother nature. Whether you’re after a new tea to try, a new liquor to impress guests with, or some lovely new beauty products, anything with a touch of cacao is an excellent idea. So why not explore the full Hotel Chocolat collection?