Tag Archives: raw chocolate
Chocolate Activated Walnuts
The most telling thing I can say about these nuts is simply to point out that the bag in the picture is empty! I was unable to help myself. In my defence, it took me longer to take the photograph than I had planned because the camera batteries needed recharging so it wasn’t like I inhaled the whole bag in 2 minutes. So it’s only partly that I have issues with impulse control around chocolate nuts; the rest is of it is all about these being so more-ish they should be a Class A controlled substance.
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!
Recently I was in West London for a couple of weeks, and I couldn’t take any of my raw staples with me. I decided to have faith that I would find what I needed and lo, it turned out that Planet Organic was just round the corner from where I was staying. I knew Planet Organic have begun stocking Raw Living products so I wasted no time in exploring the store. And there it was, a whole section of shiny packets with the familiar purple labels, and quite a few other branded goodies too. It was like bumping into old friends in a foreign country. Actually it was more exciting than that, I felt like Dorothy in a sort of raw food Oz – chia and cacao and maca, oh my!
Everything in the shop is well presented, fresh and appealing, I felt virtuous and lovingly catered for just walking through the door. First thing you see is the display of fresh organic produce and freshly baked bread. Then there is a chill case displaying things like raw desserts including slices of raw chocolate tart called Chocolate Blackout. I just had to test that out (well, it was my birthday and yes it was wonderful.) There was raw hummus and other spreads too. There's a counter where they serve fresh juices, smoothies and food, both hot food and salads. Then of course is the raw section with Raw Living granola and superfood powders, plus a whole lot of other raw staples. There is a boggling selection of raw chocolate bars and goodies, including Raw Living chocolate crispy cakes and most of the Raw Living chocolate bars. Planet Organic have their priorities right.
I spoke to Matt, the manager at the Westbourne Grove store. He said they began on the raw trail about 18 months ago but in response to demand, they now stock a much wider range of products. He expects the raw section will not only be a permanent fixture, but that they will expand the range even further. Matt did also say that he often gets people asking about raw foods, they want to know more about it and what benefits they can expect from raw, so education is definitely on the cards, too.
The raw goodies extend beyond just one section, if you have a good look around. On other shelves I found raw crackers, good coconut butter and nut/seed butters, and oh joyous! - big jars of raw Biona sauerkraut. There was an impressive range of green powders like barley grass and sprirulina, and green superfood blends.
Beyond my immediate pleasure at being able to easily get hold of good raw supplies while away from home, I find it uplifting to see them on offer in a High Street health food store like this. It shows that the raw movement is gaining momentum and demand for it increases with each year that passes. There will come a time in the foreseeable future when we will no longer be seen as a bunch of nutballs by mainstream eaters, but will be catered for in the same way vegetarians are now. Eventually, maybe we WILL be the mainstream, with a minority of dinosaurs clinging to their cooked habits. Imagine if you had to wear a hoodie for a furtive visit to McDonalds because it was considered so sleazy and self-destructive to eat stuff like that. I’m reminded of the Pot Noodle tv ad, a tongue-in-cheek thing that put eating Pot Noodle on the same level as pornography. But I can imagine a time when ‘eatin’ nasty’ is viewed for real by the majority as being akin to drinking and driving, illegal drugs or smoking. Okay, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I can dream.
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.
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?!
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 must've been pretty damn amazing in a past life because I seem to get all the good stuff in this one! Namely, a delivery of one Naked Raw Chocolate Pie on Valentine's day. Not bought for me from the husband but hey, who's complaining?
Raw Chocolate Pies are a new addition to the raw chocolate market - you can never have too many raw chocolate options to choose from - and come in a variety of flavours including: Festive, Chocolate and Chilli, Chocolate and Goji, Ginger and Orange, Chocolate Booster, Chocolate with nuts and Naked.
Made by Living Foods of St Ives, these cheeky little pies are reminscent to me of what would happen if a chocolate bar ever mated with a chocolate cake (could happen). That is, a chocolatey, gooey but still a bit crunchy, cakey type mix that's not too heavy but very satisfactorily filling and moreish.
The Naked version of the pie is just a simple pie without anything extra added but raw chocolate, coconut butter, yacon, lucuma, agave and carob flour. It's recommended that you put it in the fridge first but being the raw chocolate devourer that I am, I didn't have time for that hoo hah and went straight in for the taste. Jeez, just having to stop to take pictures of it takes up too much of my important chocolate eating time!
To look at it you might think it would be very heavy but it really isn't! In fact, it's probably the lightest raw pie of it's kind that I've tasted. It's still got a crumbly texture so make sure you're ready to hoover up any little crumbs...with your mouth obviously.
It's incredibly great value for money too at £2.20 for 60 whopping grams!
Can't wait to get trying all the other flavours...where's that husband of mine? :)