Tag Archives: cacao
These are delicious, I love these. The Incan berries have a sweet lemony, tartness without being at all sour. They are wrapped in luxuriously thick chocolate, and the combination is a sophisticated treat. Each one is big compared to a choc-covered raisin - almost the size of a Malteser, so I find just one or two is enough to round off a meal. For me, it's not just that they taste wonderful, but they also seem to have a happy, sunny vibe that makes me feel cheery when I eat them. Where that comes from I don't know - maybe the people who make them are sunny-natured folk who put love into what they do. On the packet it says 'stimulating passion' - a perfect description! On the basis of how these taste, I want to try the other chocolate goodies in this range. I bet the almonds are good.
I always did like lemon and chocolate flavours together - when I ate conventional chocolates, one of my favourites was the dark chocolate lemon parfait from a well-known retail chain of chocolatiers. I did worry that I'd feel deprived when I switched to raw, but now there are so many high-quality, delicious raw chocolate goodies on offer that make it easy to avoid being tempted by the cooked, sugary stuff. I'm just hoping someone will come up with a raw version of my other favourite, the apricot parfait - hint!
Valentine’s day is a wonderful excuse, if any were needed, to have a decadent feast of the greatest superfood on the planet – chocolate! Let’s start with breakfast; how would you fancy a crunchy, chewy and delicious granola cereal smothered in a rich, thick, silky and extremely chocolatey smoothie and topped with super-sprinkles? It’s a heavenly way to start the most romantic day of the year.
This breakfast idea uses Raw Living ‘Be Real’ cereal which is based on crunchy buckwheaties with various good things added, depending on which variety you choose. I’ve tried both Be Happy (goji) and Be Good (the chocolate and mulberry version). Both are delicious eaten simply with nut mylk of course, but this recipe would a great Valentine’s breakfast treat. I also eat it sometimes when I want to feel full up to my eyes without feeling overstuffed, then not feel hungry for hours and hours. You can get everything you need for this recipe at Raw Living.
Be Real-ly Outrageous
1-2 servings of Be-Real
1 recipe of Choc-Full Smoothie:
- 2 T of chia seeds soaked in 1 cup water
- 1 T cacao powder
- 1 T carob powder
- 1 T lucuma
- 1 T non-gm soy lecithin
- 1-2 T coconut butter, no need to melt
- 1 T cashew or macadamia nuts
- 1 T tocotrienols (optional but makes it extra creamy)
- 1-2 T raw honey/coconut nectar or other sweetener
- pinch pink salt (only about 1/8 t but vital!)
- 1 T maca (to be added after initial blending)
- 1 T bee pollen
- Other sprinkles if desired eg cacao nibs, goji berries, chopped raw chocolate bar
To a high speed blender, add all of the choc-full ingredients, except the maca. If you don’t have a high speed blender, omit the cashew or macadamia nuts, and maybe use coconut milk instead to get the creaminess. Add a little water and blend until smooth. Add the maca and some more water (you’ll need about ¾ cup altogether but don’t use too much or the smoothie will be too runny) and blend again for 20 seconds. Taste to check sweetening level. Put your Be Real into one large or two smaller breakfast bowls and pour over the chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with bee pollen and any other delicious things you have on hand, and spoon-feed to your beloved.
For a Valentine gift, one of Sacred Chocolate’s heart-shaped raw chocolate bars would be a delight. If you have a girlfriend who loves chocolate but hates what it does to her thighs, this gift will get you big brownie points. Raw chocolate has none of the hip-and-thigh plumping hazards of conventional chocolate because it doesn’t contain dairy products, refined sugar and hydrogenated fats. It DOES have all of the taste and melt-in-the-mouth qualities we love about chocolate because it IS chocolate – it’s the real thing, just without the junk. Sacred Chocolate has all the taste and meltiness big-time, and is wrapped in pretty foil and love. The kind I tried, ‘India Sunset’ contains cardamom, curry and saffron, unusual flavourings for chocolate but I love it. I couldn’t taste the curry, but the flowery scent of cardamom comes through and the other flavourings give this bar of really top-quality chocolate a hint of complex, exotic flavour. Love it, love it, love it.
Another chocolate treat not to be missed on Valentine’s or any other time, includes Raw Living Chocolate Dream Cream. This is a raw chocolate spread containing amazing superfoods like ashwagandha, reishi, he sho wou and gingko. Its deep chocolate taste carries a hint of licorice and it isn’t cloyingly sweet. It can be spread on bread, fruit, cookies or (as it says on the label) ‘a good friend.’ Come on, it is Valentine’s, after all. In the photograph you can see I’ve plastered a healthy dollop onto raw oatmeal raisin cookies. Dream Cream is rich, so putting this amount on a cookie makes quite a filling snack. In raw food preparation, so many things have to be prepared fresh from scratch or thought about hours in advance for soaking that it feels like real luxury to have a jar of chocolate spread that I can just grab and smear onto whatever comes to hand for instant gratification. Happy Valentine’s Day!
A box of chocolates has to be decadent to be proper, doesn’t it? These Artisan chocolates are definitely, decadently proper. That’s my gift shopping sorted. I shall reserve these especially for anyone who thinks I’m somehow missing out on treats because I’m high raw.
I have tasted relatively few brands of ready-made raw chocolate. I tend to notice the untempered quality of raw chocolate that means it lacks the glossiness and crisp snap of the mass-produced stuff. Some brands, while tasting great, are quite grainy in texture. As far as bars of raw chocolate go, I like Whoosh best (from Raw Living) because it's smooth and reminds me of a slightly darker version of Dairy Moo. For boxed chocolates, Artisan are sensationally smooth and melt-in-the-mouth luxurious.
Many of these chocolates are solid with great flavours and additions, or a layer of something delicious in the middle. There is a dark raspberry rose one that I swear is Turkish delight that has somehow been magically turned into chocolate. The raspberry flavoured white chocolate is a delicate delight that really does taste of raspberries. There’s one with a soft almondy marzipan layer that is heaven and then there’s the goji-nut, wowser. It should be illegal for anything to taste that good. When the authorities discover that we’re having so much fun with food that’s good for us, it probably WILL be made illegal.
I have been receiving Christmas greetings from friends with remarks like ‘hope you enjoy your raw Christmas dinner’ and so on so I do get the impression that some of my loved ones think I’m a joyless ascetic who is going to miss out on lovely goodies this festive season. Sending out some of these chocolates will give the recipient pleasure, sneak some goodness into them and might possibly also result in them starting to get it. I like subversive Christmas gifts!
Raw Living sell these in boxes of 6 or 12, and they also sell Rawsome's equally awesome Raw Chocolate Selection Box.
Made by Living Foods of St Ives, I had been eyeing up the raw chocolate pies for a while, so was a bit (over) excited when I got to sample the Peppermint version!
The ingredients are lovely: cacao nibs, coconut butter, agave nectar, lucuma, ground almonds, carob flour, and natural peppermint essence.
It's recommended that you enjoy these straight from the fridge, and so this is what I did. The texture was satisfyingly dense and pleasantly crumbly, a mix between chocolate bar and cake...different to any other raw chocolate I've yet tried, and very moreish! It started to soften quite quickly once out of the fridge, becoming almost truffle like. Such decadence! The cacao nibs added another dimension; a fun, crunchy contrast.
Taste wise, this bar was also gorgeous. It didn't seem as intense as other bars I have tried, I'm thinking maybe due to the inclusion of the ground almonds. Because of this, possibly a good option for those who aren't so keen on super dark chocolate.
The peppermint flavour was quite subtle, perfectly in balance with the other ingredients.
At first glance, I thought that this bar was quite small but at 60 grams, it's actually remarkably good value for raw chocolate - only £1.95...yes, really!
So as you may be able to tell, I really enjoyed this bar, and it has left me wanting to work my way through each variety of chocolate pie!
Here's a raw chocolate making video I did for Iceland's most popular women's magazine-style website. Unfortunately, I can't embed it here so you have to click HERE to go see it.
Iceland really is the most incredible place and has possibly the most enthusiastic and thriving raw community of anywhere in Europe. In part this is down to Solla and her incredibly inspiring drive and passion for this way of eating. But I think it is mainly down to the fact the people are so open and ready to accept the best things in life - they have the best air and the best water, why not eat the best food?!
These are little balls of happiness for those of us who still miss chocolate crispy cake. I can now indulge in a little bit of my childhood without the guilt. Actually these remind me of refrigerator cake too, because the chocolate has an almost fudgey texture which contrasts delightfully with the crispy buckwheaties. They’re sweet without being cloying, and then you get a sudden hit of extra sweetness when you encounter one of the raisins embedded in there. For me, these crispy cakes solve the problem of what to eat at about 7pm when I get the nibbles for something chocolatey. I don’t always care for raw chocolate in bar form, and find chocolate cake a bit heavy eaten late in the day. These hit the spot because I get the sweet chocolate hit without the heaviness. Like most raw goodies, these have a high nutritional value too, as the chocolate gives me a dose of magnesium, there's calcium in the carob and there are Omega 3s in the hemp. Cakes that are practically medicinal! I wouldn't eat them later than about 7pm though because they also give energy and I don't want to be bouncing off the walls at bedtime. Nice for a mid-morning boost when lunch seems a long way off or when you have a huge ironing pile that makes you droop just looking at it. Raw Living could deliver these with one of those calling cards with a man’s silhouette on it (though some readers probably won’t remember those old adverts) because this lady certainly loves…chocolate crispy cakes!
With just four ingredients - dates, sesame seeds, cacao and coconut - you would be forgiven for questioning just how good these little chocolatey discs could possibly be.
My suggestion is this; don't question, just try one.
They are dark and delicious, light and moreish. Made from only pure, natural, organic ingredients. There's a lovely balance between sweetness of the dates and the intensity of the cacao. Easy to transport, perfect for a quick energy boost. I think that they would be a really good thing to keep in your bag when you're on the go. Especially since they don't do silly things to your blood sugar levels like other snacks can. Mind you, I wouldn't know, since mine didn't last long enough for me to test out my theory!
I did manage to save a few of them, though, and I can confirm that they make a wonderful addition to any raw chocolate or sweet recipe! They lend a slight 'cornflake cake' element to the proceedings! I mixed some into the Caramaca recipe from Raw Living. This fudge is already one of my favourite things ever, and really, you can't go too wrong with an extra chocolatey and coconutty crunch!
I was very excited when I got an email from Amy a few weeks ago inviting me to her raw chocolate class. I know a lot of people who have been on the course and rave about it. Plus everyone I've met who's been on the course, and whose chocolate I've tasted afterwards, has been producing amazing delights.
The course is out where Amy lives on the Sussex/Kent borders. It's an idyllic rural location, out in the middle of nowhere, but served by efficient high speed rail links so easy to reach from London.
Amy like to keep the group small so everyone gets all their questions answered, and also there is ample opportunity for all participants to get hands on and make the chocolates themselves. I think this really helps as chocolate making is such a science, and there are lots of little tricks to master. Amy also supplies attendees with a comprehensive booklet including recipes, to take home, so there is no need for scrupulous note taking.
You might wonder why i would need to go on the course, seeing as i am such a proficient chocolate maker myself! But I knew Amy, with her professionally trained chef's background, would have valuable information and ideas to share. As well as working for me when we had the shop in Brighton, Amy has worked for The Food Clinic (a short-lived raw restaurant in Brighton), The Raw Chocolate Company, and Saf, so she really has a wealth of experience to draw on.
The first half of the day involved Amy explaining some of the science behind chocolate making - why it is essential to temper to get good chocolate and which different kinds of molds are advisable. Then we made three batches of chocolate using the methods she had explained: white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark. She showed us a huge selection of centres and flavourings that she favoured, and then showed us how to work with them. She also had some coloured chocolate (green, pink and yellow), and we all made our own multi-coloured chocolates, as well as espresso chocolates, and a chipotle and orange combination (at my request!).
We had a short break for lunch which I thought was a really good idea: it was great to get some greens in after all that sugar! Lunch was a light but beautifully presented salad with some of Amy's crackers, and an opportunity to chat and make connections with some of the other course attendees.
After lunch we did coconut bon bons (a bit like a Bounty bar!) and a fantastic creamy Italian hazelnut filling (which was my favourite). She showed us how to properly coat our chocolates for a professional effect, which sounds like it would be simple, but there's more to it than you would expect if you want them to come out presentable!
The day I was there most of the attendees were professional chefs, and I don't know if that is generally the case, but I think people who want to make chocolate on a commercial level are the ones who are likely to get the most out of it. But if you love chocolate and want to learn how to amaze and delight your family and friends with gourmet creations, then you certainly won't be disappointed. Amy said at the beginning of the course that she intended to cover everything you would ever need to know about professional raw chocolate making and I think she succeeded.
The actual chocolate recipes we followed weren't really to my taste. I like my chocolate dark, less sweet and crammed with superfoods! But this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the day. I learnt a lot about how to make chocolate box selections, and picked up plenty of ideas to inspire my own creations.
I feel there is an overkill of raw chocolate bars on the UK market, and much of it is of poor quality and likely to give raw chocolate a bad reputation. However, there are only a few people producing selection boxes (such as Anna Middleton), and it would be fantastic to see more development in this area. So if you fancy setting yourself up in business as a raw chocolatier producing high end goods, Amy's course is undoubtedly the best place to start. It's a shame Amy doesn't want to produce her own line!
To find out more about Amy's work visit her site Ooosha.
I’d been dying to try the Medicine Flower flavour extracts but for ages they didn’t seem to be available in the UK. When I saw Raw Living had started stocking them I got very excited. I tried the coconut one first and was so impressed, I immediately ordered the dark chocolate one. When I first opened the bottle, it smelled more like Baileys than chocolate and I admit I had my doubts. But in terms of taste, it was a revelation. Just a few drops pack an amazing punch so a little bottle lasts a long time. The great thing about the chocolate one in particular is that though it contains all of the chocolate flavour, it contains none of the stimulants so even those who normally find chocolate too heavy on their system can take this with no problem. I can handle chocolate (so far) unless I get too greedy with it, so I use the drops two ways. I can use it to limit the amount of actual chocolate needed in a recipe so I don’t overload, and I can also use it with carob for when I want to avoid the stimulants altogether. They’re good combined with carob to flavour raw sweeties, which is good because I tend to want sweeties in the evening. Now I can have choccie flavour goodies without jittering and jiving all night as a result.
None of these extracts contain alcohol, they are cold-processed so they’re raw AND they’re sustainably organic. Perfection in a bottle. If we ask them nicely, maybe Raw Living will think about stocking the orange and the coffee flavours too?
Meanwhile here’s my recipe for a creamy raw chocolate smoothie with everything in so you can see what I mean.
Milly’s Cheery Chocolate Smoothie
1T chia seeds, soaked 2 hours (stir at half time)
1T carob powder
1T cacao powder (or omit this and use extra drops instead)
6 drops Medicine Flower dark chocolate extract
1 cup almond milk (or other nut/seed milk)
1T coconut butter
pinch of salt or white miso
sweetener of choice (eg 2 dates or 1T of agave or 1T yacon etc)
extra liquid if needed (I like to use leftover pau d’arco tea)
add your favourite goodies – just now mine are STR-12, Amla, spirulina and maca
Whizz in a high speed blender. You could also add a banana with some extra liquid if you’re especially hungry.
The mellow birds of Raw chocolate. SuperMagic is a layerlicious DuoPolitain bar. It's a two toned chocolate bar comprising of a layer of Raw Living's famous Be the Change Bar (containing Etherium Gold and Crystal Manna) and the new Truth bar (a white chocolate bar containing Mucuna and Aulterra). That is a lot of super foods.
Texturally, it's nice and hard like all of Raw Living's choc bars, no coconut butter in here… the combination of dark and light make for a less buzzy, more mellow and smooth chocolate flight. As I have mentioned before, I'm one of those sensitive souls for which too much cacao can bring on the jitters, but in this combination it's not too much stimulation and all the right frequencies, perfect any time of day when you fancy a sweet, uplifting treat.