Another single origin fruit: the Cupuaçu, a relative of cacao
The Cupuaçu, which originates from the Amazon just like cacao, can be transformed into a sweet similar in shape, color and flavor to that of chocolate.
Through the Sweet Brasil project, ABICAB, The Brazilian Cacao, Chocolates, Peanuts, Candies and Byproducts Industry Association, along with Apex-Brasil, The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, provide the world with the benefits of a Brazilian fruit in the form of a sweet. Dark, milk or white, this sweet is a genuine Brazilian version. It looks like chocolate, it tastes like chocolate, but the main ingredient is not cacao, it’s Cupuaçu.
Cupuaçu is native to the Brazilian Amazon, rich in different nutrients and bioactive compounds, such as proteins, fatty acids, vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids, and proanthocyanidins. Cupuaçu chocolate is made from the seeds of the fruit, which are called Cupulate. In relation to traditional cacao chocolate, Cupulate has the advantage of not containing the alkaloids, caffeine and theobromine, which cause adverse reactions in some people.
This fruit is cultivated in agroforestry systems with few inputs. Moreover, according to José Urano de Carvalho, an agronomy engineer and horticultural expert from EMBRAPA, The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, farmers hardly use agrochemicals to control pests and diseases. As such, the Cupuaçu tree is grown in a sustainable manner, particularly in terms of the ecology.
The nutrients in Cupuaçu have a series of health benefits. "Cupuaçu Chocolate has an antioxidant effect on our bodies, i.e. it protects cells and organs against free radicals, substances that in excess can damage the structure and function of our cells by way of an imbalance called ‘oxidative stress’", comments Neiva Souza, Nutritionist from the scientific department of APANUTRI, São Paulo Nutrition Association.
Therefore, the consumption of this fruit within a balanced and healthy diet can help protect against premature aging and contribute to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
Some Brazilian companies have been investing in this fruit, including AMMA, which is one of the companies that produces chocolate with Cupuaçu and truly believes in this market trend. With a long history of cacao production, AMMA now produces about two tons of Cupuaçu annually, to meet this new demand and launch products partially produced with the fruit. They also opened their first chocolate shop in São Paulo, at the beginning of April.
Cupuaçu is not only used to make chocolate, the fruit has been increasingly utilized by the food industry as an ingredient in making cakes, breads, drinks (such as Cupuaçu wine), juices and jellies.