Le beurre de cacao

Cocoa butter

A little history about cocoa butter

The Aztecs first discovered and consumed cocoa beans as a drink by mixing water and cocoa powder. The drink contained a fatty substance, cocoa butter, which tended to rise to the surface and float, forming unappetising fatty agglomerates. The Aztecs got into the habit of adding corn flour to absorb it. At the same time, when the drink became known in Europe, chocolate makers tried to eliminate the cocoa butter.

In 1828, Van Houten, a Dutch chemist, invented the hydraulic press to separate cocoa powder from cocoa butter. Cocoa powder was marketed. Cocoa butter was a waste product from powder production until 1836, when Menier came up with the idea of mixing cocoa butter with powder and sugar to create the first chocolate bars.

Cocoa butter: good fat or bad fat?

Cocoa butter is made up of 100% fat, also known as lipids. It is used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Its melting point is estimated at 37°C: below this temperature, cocoa butter is solid and helps texture food products. Above this temperature, in the mouth and at the temperature of the human body, cocoa butter makes food creamy and melts in the mouth. And yes, the more cocoa butter chocolate contains, the more melting it is!

It is made up of three main fatty acids: stearic acid (33.2%), oleic acid (32.6%) and palmitic acid (25.4%), with a small amount of linoleic acid (2.8%).

Two-thirds of the lipids present in cocoa butter are very good for your health:

  • Stearic acid is a long-chain saturated fatty acid. It is present in foods of both animal and vegetable origin. Contrary to popular belief, studies carried out 30 years ago have shown that stearic acid does not increase cholesterol levels in humans. Its effect is neutral: it encourages neither a fall in HDL ("good cholesterol") nor an increase in LDL ("bad cholesterol"). It has a beneficial impact on blood circulation and prevents the formation of blood clots. Stearic acid also helps combat insulin resistance. Studies have shown that stearic acid can inhibit the action of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B, which is responsible for negative control of insulin. This protein acts by dephosphorylating insulin receptors and proteins involved in the insulin signalling pathway, which can lead to insulin resistance in humans.


  • Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid found in many foods such as oilseeds, avocados and olive oil. Monounsaturated fatty acids are found in abundance in nature but can also be synthesised by humans. This family is mainly made up of omega-9s, including oleic acid. It is used as the main source of energy by cells, as a constituent of triglycerides and therefore of reserve energy, and as a substrate for cholesterol metabolism.


  • Palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid found in coconut oil and palm oil at between 35% and 45%. Animal fat contains 20 to 30%. Did you know that? In humans, a large proportion of saturated fatty acids are converted into monounsaturated fatty acids. An enzyme, A9 desaturase, introduces a double bond into palmitic acid and stearic acid to form palmitoleic acid and oleic acid respectively, the two main monounsaturated fatty acids. Palmitoleic acid formed in this way is one of the omega 7s that contribute to the proper functioning of the heart and brain.

Which Holyfat products contain cocoa butter ?

You'll soon be able to find cocoa butter in our raw bars. It helps with texture and gives the bar a melting texture. We also use it for its valuable lipid contribution.

Where does our cocoa butter come from?

At Holyfat, we buy our cocoa butter from an expert in the south of France who is certified Organic and Fair Trade. The cocoa butter comes from the Ivory Coast.


Sources :

  1. Daverio, S. (2005). Influence of stearic acid on cholesterol metabolism compared with other long-chain fatty acids. Doctoral thesis, Université de Lorraine.
  2. Bourre, J. M., Dumont, O., Durand, G. (2005). Dose-effect of dietary oleic acid. Is this acid conditionally essential? Inserm U.26, Unité de neuropharmaco-nutrition, Hôpital Fernand-Widal, Paris Cedex 10, France.
  3. Khandekar, N., & Kirwan, J. P. (2013). Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) and obesity.
  4. Siddle, K. (2003). Insulin signalling pathways: mechanisms affected in insulin resistance.
  5. Latreille, J. (2013). Epidemiological approach to the role of fatty acids on skin ageing as part of the SU.VI.MAX study. Doctoral thesis, Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (CNAM), France.
  6. Ciqual, Anses
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.