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The cacao bean has found a new kitchen calling

Mycryo Photos

Signe Langford

Almost every part of the cacao bean is delicious or useful, often both; and also often multipurpose. Take cocoa butter for example – add a little milk and vanilla and presto, you have white chocolate. Add a touch of perfume and you have body lotion.

Barry Callebaut, the 150-year-old, Swiss chocolatier, has created something new and awfully clever from the silky fat of the cocoa bean – Mycryo – a fine, dehydrated powder made through a secret (patented) process. And it just might displace butter and olive oil in the pantry.

For frying and grilling, this stuff's a triple threat: It's flavourless, has a high smoking point and because it's sprinkled directly onto the food, not poured into the pan like oil, less is needed. It boasts fewer calories than olive oil but slightly more saturated fat.

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The light-as-air granules adhere well to whatever they're dusted over, making foods non-stick, aiding in crisping and caramelizing and stopping the browning or oxidization of sensitive foods – such as artichokes, potatoes, apples and eggplant – thus eliminating the need to acidulate with lemon or vinegar water. It's also an amazing, multi-tasking ingredient; add spices, salt, and sugar to it to create a unique and practical dry rub.

200g/$9.95 at McEwan Fine Foods and online from Golda's Kitchen.

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