Skip to content

Fake chocolate vs. real heirloom cacao — here’s the difference #fb

September 2, 2010

I love what Mike Adams, “The Health Ranger”, of stands for and does in the world. Yet, I don’t fully agree with him on one of his recent articles about raw cacao…Below is a little dialogue he and I had recently on the subject of his article…

Sure thing Mike. Thanks for your quick reply.

I think where we are differing is on the definition of “heirloom”. In your article, you are calling “Nacional” “heirloom”. I beg to differ. I am under the assumption that when the common person thinks of “heirloom”, they are thinking of some sort of “original” seed variety or cultivar that can remain relatively “original” even with some sort of genetic variation just due to the natural cross-pollination that occurs in nature or even on the small farm, but reverts always to a natural original cultivar. In other words, if you take the seed from an “heirloom” tomato and plant it, you will in turn get an “heirloom” tomato variety, whether it be green, yellow, orange, or red. It turns out that is not the case with cacao. If you take the seed from CCN51 and plant it, you will not get CCN51, but some sort of variety even if pollinated with other CCN51’s. If you take the seed from “Nacional” which is a loose genetic definition anyway, you will not get “Nacional”. And, these won’t revert to some sort of original cultivar if left to naturally cross pollinate over many generations. The only way to duplicate the genetic is through grafting. So, if you talk of “heirloom” cacao as something that is “wild” (in other words, equating the two terms) and can have variety, then I agree with you in that what you are promoting is “heirloom”, but it isn’t some sort of original cultivar. Also, if it is truly heirloom, it can’t be rightfully called “National” or “CCN51”. The only way to obtain these particular strains is through grafting (cloning), and can we really call a grafted tree “heirloom”? I am sure you can see how this can become confusing.

Attached is an interesting article that Frederick Schilling, founder of Dagoba, wrote on the subject that perhaps you have read?



Thanks for your email, Steve, always good to hear from you!

I should have mentioned your chocolate in the article, come to think of it. I may amend it and include a plug for you.

I’m not sure I agree with your definition of "heirloom." Even heirloom strains of plants still experience natural genetic drift. If I plant heirloom tomatoes generation after generation from seed, they are still "heirloom tomatoes" even though there is genetic variability.

I don’t think the term "heirloom" implies genetic stasis.

I also think the more people know about cacao, the better it is for the entire natural cacao products industry, and we’ve had a lot of good feedback about the article so far. 🙂

– Mike

On 9/2/2010 2:36 PM, Sacred Steve wrote:

Hi Mike,

I forgot to mention this, but the only way to “hold” a particular strain in place is through grafting. In other words, there is no such thing as “heirloom” Nacional for example that is grown from seed. It is impossible to control the cross pollination.


Hi Mike,

If you study the genetics and natural propagation methods of Theobroma Cacao, you will learn that there really is no such thing as “heirloom” cacao, at least in regards to the common understanding of the definition of “heirloom”. You may want to research this further, because I believe what you say below is misleading. It sounds like marketing hype to me. When cacao is left to grow naturally in the wild, genetic permutations occur in each and every new naturally sprouting seedling based on the naturally occurring genetic diversity in the wild grove. The closest thing you can call something in this category is “wild” cacao. In other words, it the wild state, it is impossible to claim a natural “heirloom”. The natural wild state of theobroma cacao is actually radical hybridization.


Sacred Steve

MikeAdams.jpgDear NaturalNews readers,

Surprisingly, most people have never tasted real chocolate. The cacao used in chocolate candy bars, cookies, breads and other common foods is actually a hybridized cacao from a plant that doesn’t have the alkaloid potency of "real" cacao.

Today I bring you a fascinating article about real "heirloom" cacao vs. hybridized cacao, why chocolate is called the "food of the Gods" and how you can try real cacao yourself!

Check it out at:

CACAO – Diversity and Heirloom.pdf

One Comment leave one →
  1. andyjwilliams permalink
    September 3, 2010 1:01 am

    I have a tendency to try growing most things I eat that, and two things I planted about six months ago were goji berry seeds (I currently have three plants about one and a half feet tall) and annatto seeds (I now have five baby annatto trees).

    Do you know where I could get some cacao seeds from so I can try growing that too? I live in the UK.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: