Raw cacao, the Gods Food!
Botanical name is Theobroma, translation the food of gods.
Cacao grows in tropical areas within 10oN and 10oS of the Equator where the climate is appropriate
The natural habitat of the cacao tree is in the lower storey of the evergreen rainforest and climatic factors, particularly temperature and rainfall, are important in encouraging optimum growth.
We can trace back the consumption of cacao as early as 400 BC in the maya culture.The Aztec used cacao as money as well as in religious ceremonies.
The conquestador brought back the recipe for xocoatl (chocolate) to the old continent with a slight difference ( that changed everything!) indeed they added cane sugar to the drink and it became a hit in all the European courts…
Today, we are going to learn about Raw cacao. During my trip to Bali, I had the immense privilege to visit the head quarters, producing units and a cacao farm ( well not really a farm as we picture it, as a matter of fact cacao trees grow wild in the jungle) of the company called Big Tree farms.
We learnt everything from harvesting cacao pods, to hand-peel, fermention and sun dried process. Down to grinding in order to separate cacao butter to cacao powder, never above 46°C or 115°F thanks to an amazing old machine thaht Ben brought all the way from Europe to the Bamboo Factory ( biggest, tallest bamboo structure in the world, amazing place).
Yes, cacao is an amazing food, top antioxydant ( more than pomegranate and red wine), cholesterol-friendly, super rich in magnesium, beneficial for blood pressure and circulation. Stimulating thanks to theobromine, cafeine ( very small amount), tyramine and phenylethylamine, but in a mild way It also improves relaxation and promotes better sleep.
It’s also a mood enhancer, the presence of the amino acid tryptophan increases the level of serotonin in the brain which is a nerotransmitter responsible for good mood!
And last but not least, phenylethylamine is a slight anti depressant and the peptide of LOVE ♥
So let’s eat some Chocolate…
A favorite in my household:
Raw chocolate fondant…
1/2 cup of Raw cacao powder ( for UK readers, you can buy through Raw living, click on the banner from my homepage)
1/2 cup of maple syrup
1 vanilla bean scrapped
1/2 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
1 pinch of Hymalayan salt
Melt the coconut oil in a bain-marie ( place your coconut oil/butter in a small glass bowl, and place it in another bowl filled with hot water), then add the syrup, mix well, the add the cacao powder, whisk and finally the vanilla and salt.
You can use plain or play with different ingredients such as goji berries, coconut flakes, sun-dried cranberries, buckwheat or amaranth crunchies, almonds, hazelnuts… Or even, cayenne pepper!
Place you mix in a square dish, cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator.