If you've known me for a second, then you know I love chocolate.
And it's actually a family thing.
The Girard family is known for their love of See's Candy (you better believe I jumped for joy when they opened their first store in NYC). We even joke that a right of passage in our family is to be able to identify the interior of each candy before biting into it.
So my love for chocolate and it's raw form, Cacao, runs through my blood and ancestry.
Cacao has been used by the Mayan and Aztecan cultures for centuries as a ceremonial beverage to help increase longevity and emotional connection. In fact, the active ingredient,
Theobroma, translates to "food of the gods".
And we may already be familiar with the many health benefits of chocolate from the powerful antioxidants which help to reverse the signs of aging, to its’ ability to lower blood pressure.
But did you know that cacao comes from the seeds of a beautiful plant?
Grown in the jungle, what we know as chocolate is actually a processed product which comes after grinding the dried seeds of the cacao plant into a paste and adding sugar.
The ancient cultures would combine the rich paste with water, spices and honey
for a delicious and decadent beverage.
Many have asked if they can substitute Cocoa Powder while making this beverage.
The truth is that to make the powder much of the fat, is removed. But many of the antioxidants and minerals within cacao are fat soluble and so the fat which is included in a raw cacao paste actually helps us digest and metabolize the ingredients a bit better.
I love what Florencia Fridman has created with her company Cacao Lab, bringing not only delicious cacao to the world, but also ceremonies rich with history, song, stories and intention.
I highly recommend trying out one of her expertly blended cacao's
for your at home routine or family ritual.
Cacao is meant to be sipped and savored.
Cacao asks us to slow down and consider that long chain of
farmers and merchants who brought us this gift.
Cacao is an experience to be shared.
recommended to make with love and song
Everyday Serving 2TB Cacao Paste
Ceremonial Serving 3-4TB Cacao Paste
4-6 oz hot (not boiling) water
Sweetener or superfoods of your choice (I prefer local honey)
Now I know I'm partial, but it's really hard to make a recipe of cacao that tastes bad. Like I've never regretted going to a yoga class, I've never had a cup of cacao I didn't like.
But I know we all have our individual preferences so this is a pretty open ended recipe that will take a different shape for each of us accordingly.
You're welcome to substitute your milk of choice for water.
You're welcome to add spices like cinnamon, cayenne, vanilla, peppermint, cardamom or rose.
You're welcome to mix in superfoods that you're working with like maca, reishi or mesquite.
My experience is that when we allow ourselves to be creative, playful and loving while making cacao, our cacao will actually taste better!
The biggest tip I'll provide is to let your water cool down after boiling it (about 170 degrees). Like matcha, we don't want to scorch the cacao paste, as it will make it even more bitter.
I look forward to learning how you incorporate cacao into your mindful, daily routines.
And please share your creations!