Since 1842, when Cadbury's of England created the first chocolate bar, millions of people have had a love affair with chocolate. It's estimated that the average American eats 4.5 kilos per year and the average Swiss eats 9.5!
Of course the history of chocolate stretches back to ancient Olmec and Aztec civilizations where it was considered to be a "Food of the Gods."
I personally was never a big fan of chocolate, at least not until I started experiencing pure raw cacao. I think the reason is that normal chocolate has literally been cooked to death. To make a typical chocolate bar, cacao beans are crushed, fermented and then roasted at 150 C (300 F) for 1 - 2 hours. After that, they are tempered with boiling water for 20-30 minutes.
When you add processed sugar, milk products, preservatives, artificial colors, chemical flavors and more to this lifeless chocolate substance it's no wonder that some people develop allergies to chocolate. Interestingly, though, I've seen that most people with chocolate allergies, do not have a similar reaction with raw cacao.
Raw cacao has many nutritional benefits and is generally considered one of the most complete foods on the planet.
Since experiencing the effects of raw cacao for myself, I find myself using it often. I regularly add a few whole beans to my smoothies, I use cacao in salad dressings and sauces, and sometimes I just snack a few beans with a bit of agave or honey.
But, thanks to my partner Gabrielle's love of chocolate, I get most of my raw cacao in the form of great tasting raw chocolate bars.
I'm happy to share her basic recipe with you here.
To make this recipe you need a grinder or a mortar and pestle
Ingredients for simple chocolate:
1/2 C whole peeled cacao beans, ground
1/8 C coconut oil
1/8 C melted cacao butter (use coconut oil if not available)
1/4 C raw honey or raw agave syrup
1/4 cup raisins
1 T almonds, finely chopped
1 drop orange, lemon, clove, lavender or other essential oil
Cinnamon to taste
Celtic sea salt to taste
Grind cacao until it is very fine. The cacao will have a consistency like raw almond butter and will stick to the sides of the grinder. Mix ground cacao with coconut oil or cacao butter in grinder. Remove mixture and add honey and other ingredients. Stir well with a fork. The mixture should be able to be poured. If not, add more coconut oil. Pour into ice cube trays or other forms and freeze for 45 minutes. Serve immediately after removing from the freezer. A Few Interesting Facts About Cacao and Chocolate
- The word 'Chocolate' comes from the Aztec word, 'cacahuatl' or ‘xocolatl’. This means 'bitter water'.
- Raw Cacao was regarded as an aphrodisiac by Aztecs.
- In 1624 Johan Franciscus Rauch an Austrian professor, tried to ban chocolate from monasteries and urged monks not to drink chocolate as he said it ‘inflamed passions’.
- Cacao contains antioxidants which may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
- Cacao brings instant comfort and acts as a mild anti-depressant by increasing our serotonin and endorphin levels.
- Cacao contains theobromine, which is a mild relative of caffeine and magnesium. This chemical is found in some tranquilisers. Because coffee also contains caffeine, it both picks you up and calms you down.
- Cacao beans were so valuable in ancient Mexico that the Maya and subsequent Aztec and Toltec civilizations used them as a means of currency to pay for commodities and taxes.
- The French Leader Napoleon insisted that wine, from the Burgundy vineyard called Chambertin, as well as chocolate be available during military campaigns.
- During the Second World War, the U.S. Government commissioned Milton Hershey to create a candy bar to be included in soldier’s rations. The candy bar chosen was the famous Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar.
- Every Russian and American space voyage has included chocolate bars.
By Mark Ament
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