Step away from the candy isle in your supermarket and have a closer look at raw chocolate, the wonderful world cacao. Ironically this super food is not readily available in super markets, but seek and you shall find. The word chocolate is an immediately evocative one, thanks largely to the dairy variety, which almost entirely lacks all the wonderful benefits of cacao.
- Raw chocolate contains a spread of important vitamins and minerals, including:
- Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulphur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
- Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
- Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
- Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid a monounsaturated fat
These nutrients are linked to feast of benefits:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving digestion
- Promoting cardiovascular health
- Neutralising free radicals
- Enhancing physical and mental well-being
I think most of us can identify with the quiet euphoria infused by chocolate. I sat next to a Swiss colleague in Geneva some years ago that would selectively administer squares of dark chocolate throughout the day to ‘keep him relaxed’. I elected to join him rather than argue the point, and I’m pleased to say I happily agree with him.
About a year ago I stopped adding sugar to my diet. Rice milk made the transition from sweetened coffee to white-no-sugar almost seamless, but sadly my oats felt decidedly bland on their own. Enter the cacao knight. Not only did adding cacao powder to the oats revolutionise the flavour of porridge, but it also added an energetic kick that dwarfed anything present in coffee.
This sparked a love affair with the magical cocoa bean and I’ve been trying to add it to a variety of dishes, some more successfully than others, ever since. It seems no presumption is too outlandish when it comes to cacao. I started quite simply, chocolate porridge, then on to chocolate banana smoothies and more interesting breakfast berry arrangements. The matrimony of avocado and chocolate is a beautiful example of the sum being greater than the parts, it was a slippery slope from here. Desserts of chopped dates, cacao, coconut oil and avocado delivering delicious energy, I’ve learnt to eat these for lunch. Pepper crusted beef with chocolate-port sauce and frequently cacao covered strawberries.
I found a tome of magical recipes on these websites:
Easter just got a whole lot more interesting.