Brown Gold Cocoa Powder is a brand of cocoa produced by Ghanaian manufacturer Hords Limited. Hords markets Brown Gold as part of a range of products derived from Ghana's agricultural products. One of the most prominent cocoa brands in West Africa, Brown Gold is becoming more and more visible in Europe and the US.
European contact with Central America introduced cocoa and chocolate to a new market in the 16th century. By the 17th century, it was a popular drink throughout Europe. Portuguese and Dutch colonists in Africa planted cocoa to supply this growing market. It wasn't until the 19th century that cocoa production really caught on in Ghana, but today it is one of the country's major crops. Agricultural researcher Harold Otabil founded Hords Limited in 2000 to take advantage of Ghana's high levels of production of cocoa and other crops.
Hords promotes Brown Gold based on its health benefits, and there is some scientific evidence to suggest that cocoa can be a very healthy drink. A 2009 study published in the journal "Contemporary Reviews in Cardiovascular Medicine" suggested that high levels of polyphenols in cocoa could contribute to improved heart health. A study carried out by Cornell University identified cocoa as a healthier method of obtaining these health benefits than chocolate because of the higher fat content of solid chocolate.
Brown Gold's success in Ghana has led to some unexpected consequences. A 2012 report from Ghana's Food and Drugs Board identified the presence of fake Brown Gold on the market. Unlike authentic Hords Brown Gold, the imitation jars did not have the brand name HORDS in raised lettering above the label. The Food and Drugs Board warned consumers that this cocoa had not been certified as safe.
Finding Brown Gold in Europe or the US can be tricky. Ethnic supermarkets located African immigrant communities may be the best place to find the product. Online food retailers also may have supplies of Brown Gold from individual resellers. Bulk orders from Ghanaian businesses can be placed on wholesale websites, but the quantities are probably too large for the average cocoa lover.