I don’t trust people who don’t eat chocolate … that may sound like a harsh judgement, but I just believe they haven’t tried REAL chocolate. It’s so good! For me, gone are the days when I get excited about shovelling as much Cadbury Dairy Milk down my throat as I could with a knife and fork before someone else rolled a six on the dice (anyone else a kid in the 80s?). These days, I am a self-confessed chocolate snob. The fact is, you can eat chocolate every day – and I would even go so far as to say we should eat chocolate every day. The nutritional benefits of cacao have been buried by the plethora of below average “chocolate” products available. Let me explain what kind of chocolate I am talking about … as there still seems to be confusion over chocolate, cacao, cocoa and all its various delivery methods.
The fruit of the cacao tree has a small bean in it which is where all chocolate comes from. This bean contains energy-boosting nutrients rich in magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium copper and manganese. The Aztecs and Mayans first used the cacao bean for medicinal purposes and created a ritual drink which was used to celebrate marriage – this is the first known link between chocolate and romance.
Cacao tastes quite bitter. Sugar is so often added to sweeten chocolate products, and this is why chocolate is perceived as a “junk food” because the level of sugar often outweighs the nutritional value of cacao once it has been processed into the end product.
Cacao nibs are simply the shelled and crushed beans. Raw cacao powder is what you end up with when you cold press the unroasted beans and remove the fat (this is cacao butter). This keeps all the enzymes alive and the nutrition intact.
Cocoa looks just like raw cacao powder but its quite different – it comes from the beans that have been roasted at high temperatures. This process removes the valuable enzymes and kills off many nutrients.
Research has shown that raw cacao lowers insulin resistance, lowers blood pressure, reduces your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, slows down the aging process, shield your nervous system from damage, guards against toxins and boosts your mood! So hopefully this gives you enough reasons to investigate how you might be able to squeeze some raw cacao into your daily diet.
Here’s a few suggestions:
* Sprinkled over breakfast or in your porridge
* In your baking or raw desserts
These are the easy ones … and I made some truffles you can try. I made these to serve after dinner with coffee and it was easy to make extra to have on hand as a lovely little pick-me-up throughout the day – straight from the freezer!
Raw Chocolate Truffles – Thermomix Method
200gms organic raw cacao butter
50-60gms raw cacao powder (depending on how dark you like it)
pinch good quality fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla
80gms raw honey
Grate the raw cacao butter in the TM bowl on speed 8 for 15-20 seconds.
Melt the butter on speed 2 at 37 degrees for 10 minutes or until fully melted.
Add remaining ingredients to the TM bowl and cook for a further 10 minutes at 37 degrees, speed 1.
Mix for 10 seconds at speed 5 to ensure the honey is fully emulsified.
Poor into little heart moulds or similar and store in the freezer. If you have any left over, pour onto a square, shallow plate and freeze before breaking into shards to eat!
Tip: Before pouring the chocolate into the moulds or onto the plate, pop a macadamia nut, almond, goji berry or some shredded coconut in first to create different flavoured truffles. Would love to hear any other variations you have tried!
With grace and gusto,