How to Pronounce Cacao and 8 Other Food Words

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Many of us don’t have any problems pronouncing most food words. But thanks to an increasingly diverse world, we’ve been able to welcome a wide array of multi-cultural dishes into our homes (and into our bellies!) With these culturally-diverse ingredients, it’s become more and more difficult for some Americans to pronounce some of their favorite foods, such as how to pronounce cacao. So, let’s break it down.

We all have that one family member or friend that just cannot pronounce the word charcuterie. Am I right? There are so many words in the English language that just don’t follow basic English grammar rules. This can cause so much confusion regarding how to correctly pronounce words. And many words originate from other countries and then slowly make their way over to the states. This is especially true when it comes to food terminology.

My brother recently shared a funny story with me about how he was on a trip with his family and they visited a local shop that had some beautiful wooden cheese boards made by local vendors. The gentlemen at the store kept referring to them as “security boards” and my brother was so confused. He told the man he never heard of such a thing. And the man said, oh yes, they are very popular these days. That story made me chuckle. All this to say, it’s important to learn proper pronunciation when it comes to food terms, like how to pronounce cacao or charcuterie, so that we can pass along these learnings to others.

Let’s set the record straight on these 9 commonly mispronounced food terms:

How do you pronounce Aioli?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like aioli

What is Aioli?

Aioli is a basic emulsion of mashed up garlic, olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Aioli is thick and use as an ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes.

Here are three simple ways to use Aioli:

  • A spread on sandwiches
  • A dip with French Fries or sweet potato wedges
  • A dip with raw veggies

How do you pronounce Cacao?

how to pronounce cacao
how to pronounce cacao

What is Cacao?

You say cocoa, they say cacao. So how do you pronounce cacao and is there a difference? It seems like there is no black and white answer on when to say cacao and when to say cocoa, however, there are some recommended guidelines that most people seems to follow.

Typically, cacao is used to define the tree itself or the raw, unrefined bean.

While cocoa is used to define the been after it’s been processed, when it’s fermented, dried, and/or roasted. Once they are roasted, they can be transformed into many different products – nibs, liquor, butter, and cocoa powder.


How do you pronounce Charcuterie?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like charcuterie

What is Charcuterie?

Did you know that the word charcuterie literally translates into “the products of a fancy pork butcher”? Yes, it’s true.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, charcuterie has a two-fold meaning: 1) cooked, processed, or cured cold meats products, originally and typically pork products; and 2) a store where these products are sold.

Over the years, this terms has come to take on a slightly different meaning. And it’s trending. Charcuterie boards are all the rage. I have to admit, I have so much fun making them myself. It allows for so much creativity and customization based on your food preferences. When building a board, be sure to include a variety of items including meats, cheese, breads/crackers, nuts, olives, dried fruit, fresh fruit, veggies, honey, jams, and other spreads/dips.


How do you pronounce Ciabatta?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like ciabatta

What is Ciabatta?

Ciabatta is a rustic Italian bread made from wheat flour, olive oil, water, yeast, and salt. Fun fact: the word ciabatta means “slipper” in Italian because of it’s elongated and flat shape. It has a crisp, chewy crust, and the inside is light and airy.

Here are three simple ways to enjoy Ciabatta bread:

  • Serve alongside hearty soups
  • Make a simple sandwich with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, olive oil, and balsamic glaze
  • Make garlic bread with it

How do you pronounce Crudites?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like crudites

What are Crudites?

Crudites are assorted raw vegetables served as an hors d’oeuvre, typically alongside a dip like hummus, ranch dressing, or aioil.


How do you pronounce Edamame?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like edamame

What is Edamame?

Edamame are young soybeans. They are harvested before they ripen or harden. You can purchase them in the pod, shelled, fresh, or frozen.


How do you pronounce Gnocchi?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like gnocchi

What are Gnocchi?

Gnocchi are a form of Italian pasta made up of only three ingredients: potatoes, flour, and eggs. There are so many ways you can enjoy gnocchi. My personal favorite – fresh pesto sauce. Other sauces that pair well are Bolognese sauce or just a classic, simple tomato sauce.


How do you pronounce Jicama?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like jicama

What is Jicama?

Jicama is a root vegetable with a thick brown skin and has a white, starchy flesh inside. Once peeled, it looks like a potato, but it tastes more like an apple – just not as sweet. Prepare it by slicing it into thick strips and enjoy it with some hummus or ranch dip. Serve it alongside other crudites for your next veggie platter.


How do you pronounce Quinoa?

how to pronounce cacao and other words like quinoa

What is Quinoa?

While many of us may think of quinoa as a whole grain, it’s actually a seed. It’s plant-based protein that is also high in fiber. It contains all nine essential amino acids that your body needs (but cannot make on its own) which makes it a complete protein source.


*All food photos taken from Canva Pro subscription.

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