Mr Popple with a Cacao pod
How it all began
Mr Popple, believe it or not, is this raw chocolate entrepreneur’s real name. Better know as Ben Popple, he was born and raised in the county town of Stafford – great for access to country produce and summer festivals, which is where he first tried raw cacao.
The first time he ate some, he immediately felt energised and quickly became fascinated by the amazing benefits of the food. Raw cacao not only helps you feel happy and energized, but it is also full of nutrients – it really did sound too good to be true. He, like most of us had never held a cocoa bean before, and didn’t have a clue what a cacao pod looked like.
Some important research needed to be done and after much digging around he discovered raw cacao to be an unbelievably super healthy food. It has actually been proven to replenish energy and is claimed to be a brilliant hangover cure!
This was the start of Mr Popple’s Raw Chocolate.
From Bean to Bar
As raw cacao is far too bitter for most people’s palates, it has been crucial for Mr Popple to discover new ways of using the raw cacao. He has dedicated much time to experimenting with all sorts of flavours and ingredients so it can be enjoyed by a whole new audience. It has taken many nights in the kitchen but Mr Popple thinks it’s been worth it.
Mr Popple sweetens his raw chocolate with Yacon Syrup (88% bar) and a mix of Coconut Nectar and Coconut Sugar (all other bars). Yacon Syrup is extracted from a Peruvian tuber that is refreshingly sweet and juicy, and the Coconut Nectar & Sugar is extracted from the sap of the Coconut tree.
They are all low GI (Glycemic Index) sweeteners – which means that your body will release the energy slowly, so you will not get the sugar crash that is associated with most chocolate.
Coconut Nectar & Sugar have a GI of 35 – half that of table sugar – whilst Yacon Syrup has a GI of just 1!
Coconut Sugar & Nectar contain many trace vitamins & minerals such as vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper, as well as small amounts of phytonutrients, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin, and antioxidants, and the B vitamin inositol, often used as a mood booster.
Yacon, Coconut Nectar and Coconut Sugar contain Inulin, which passes through the human body without being absorbed into the bloodstream, whilst also acting as a pre-biotic by feeding and stimulating beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria include things like bifidobacterium and lactobacilli, which help keep out unwanted bacteria like E. coli and Clostridium difficile and fungus like Candida.
Yacon syrup also contains oligofructose, a sugar that the human body does not metabolise. Yacon syrup contains roughly half the calories of honey.
Mr Popple’s raw chocolate bars are made entirely by hand, which Mr Popple believes creates nutrionally superior chocolate as there is no over-refining. The raw cacao is kept at a low temperature as this preserves the beneficial enzymes that are normally broken down by high temperature roasting. Making the raw chocolate by hand allows Mr Popple to incorporate his secret chocolate making technique.
Mr Popple has experimented with many flavours and ingredients – not all of them have been successful. In fact some of them turned out to be disastrous and will never be made again by Mr Popple. For instance, marmite is something that people either love or hate, however marmite chocolate would probably be hated by everyone. Some ingredients trialed may be incredibly nutritious, for example spirulina (fresh water algae), but Mr Popple decided to make healthy raw chocolate with no compromise on taste.
He has stuck to his intentions by using only tasty, natural, and healthy ingredients, not adding any fat or refined sugar and by sourcing only ethically grown ingredients. The packaging is even 100% compostable – Mr Popple’s really is guilt free raw chocolate!