This Boulder company makes a cacao-dense food that’s not only environment-friendly but 100 percent good for you. We’re in!
Chocolate cake. Chocolate mousse. Chocolate chips. Hot chocolate. Let’s face it: Chocolate is good no matter what form it takes. And Ira Leibtag, founder of Boulder-based Cholaca, has invented a new way to eat—and drink—it.
“Cholaca is the espresso of chocolate,” Leibtag says. “It’s a rich, dark, intense shot” of pure cacao in either liquid or baking wafer form. And it consists of three simple ingredients: Ecuadorean fair-trade cacao (which has numerous health bene ts), water and (in the sweet- ened version only) organic, fair-trade coconut sugar.
“Cholaca is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet,” he says. “It’s got the highest level of antioxidants, iron and magnesium. Cacao has hardly any caffeine and has high levels of the sister molecule to caffeine, which doesn’t affect the central nervous system or give you jitters or a crash.” It’s vegan, gluten free, dairy free and paleo friendly, too.
The pleasantly bitter flavor can be used in almost anything. Close to 300 brewers, for example, create dark beers with it. “Flavored beers are hot right now, and chocolate is the most popular flavor on the planet,” Leibtag says. “Cholaca is easier to use, higher quality (than other options) and consistent. The taste is awesome.”
Cholaca was an experiment for Leibtag, a chef by trade: “I went to one of my now partners, at Ozo Coffee, with my first version of Cholaca. He took the lid off, smelled it, looked at me and immediately steamed it and put it into an espresso cup. I said, ‘So that’s what you do with it!’ ”
Since 2012, Leibtag has sold “many thou- sands of gallons,” with even chocolatiers on the client list. And it’s good for the environment, too: Cholaca offers Ecuadorean cacao farmers more money to regrow their farms than cattle farmers pay to cut them down. “The more we sell, the more rainforests we grow back,” he says. “Why? Because that farmer’s neighbor is looking and thinking, geez, he’s making $2,000 more than I am. Maybe I should grow my cacao farm back, too.”
Cholaca comes in three versions—unsweetened, regular and sweet—in 12-ounce and 32-ounce bottles and as baking wafers at Whole Foods, Alfalfa’s, Lucky’s Market and Natural Grocers. You also can try it at area coffee shops and breweries.
HOW TO USE IT
Leibtag drinks 2 ounces every afternoon around 3 p.m., when he’s feeling low on energy.
OTHER WAYS TO ENJOY CHOLACA
• Mix it into a cocktail.
• Bake with it.
• Top the baking wafers with
peanut or almond butter for a midday snack.
• Pour it into coffee.
• Cook with it.
• Add it to your daily smoothie or
• Make hot Cholaca.
Raspberry Cholaca Valentine’s Day Cocktail
Cholaca original, to taste
1 ½ ounces of your favorite vodka
1 ounce Chambord black raspberry liqueur
Chocolate mint sprig for garnish
Fill a double old-fashioned glass with ice. Add vodka, Cholaca and liqueur. Top with soda water. Gently stir before serving and add garnish.