What are your associations with chocolate?
Decadence? Sin? Indulgence? Guilt?
What about euphoria? Sacredness? Vitality? Health?
Living in the South Caribbean of Costa Rica I learned quickly that chocolate has the ability to elicit intense responses.
The yoga studio I attended daily is located upstairs from a dangerously delicious cafe owned by chocolate makers and cacao farmers.
Lattes come laced with smooth melted bitter chocolate.
Brownies sit heavy from dark chocolate chunks.
And their tasting room, the only air conditioned space south of town, beckoned me with free samples of chocolate sourced from locally farmed cacao.
I noticed myself beginning to consume it regularly.
A few samples here. A brownie sundae there.
The next thing I knew I was pouring cacao powder into my smoothie every morning and stopping by the cafe for a post beach “cool down” in the temperature controlled chocolate room.
I was an addict.
One evening I rode my bicycle for nearly an hour in the dark to attend a cacao tasting party in the jungle.
Free chocolate. How could I decline?
I was greeted by hyperactive hippies with dark granules stuck between their teeth. Milkshakes, truffles, and bars were pushed on me like ecstasy at a rave.
Blue cast lighting complemented the electronic trance music that drowned the cicadas and the howler monkeys.
Confused tourists sat on benches like wallflowers. The dance floor remained empty save for a sweet father who twirled his two girls and a man in a cape who leapt from handstands to backbends with the disturbing ease of Mary Lou Retton.
The next morning I woke up with a cacao hangover.
No, seriously. That happened.
So naturally, after gobbling mouthfuls of their chocolate for months, I finally decided to take the Caribeans Chocolate tour.
To well, eat more chocolate.
I set out into the cacao forest and climbed to the cacao factory
hoping to literally make myself sick with its decadence.
Instead I found myself drinking the elixir of the Gods overlooking a stunning view of the Caribbean sea.
Raising my glass to health and enlightenment
with the sacred intention of the priests who offered it to those who were truly worthy of its healing.
I learned that it wasn’t until recently, thousands of years after its invention in ancient Mesoamerica, that chocolate became what we now know as candy.
It was once something pure.
Without milk. Without sugar. Exploding with flavor.
We ate plenty of chocolate.
But real chocolate.
We ate without concern.
We ate without guilt.
We ate recognizing chocolate as the incredible superfood
that the ancient Aztecs and Mayans always knew it was.
We ate chocolate worthy of the Gods.
Raw Cacao Truffles of the Gods
I like to call these incredibly delicious chocolate truffles my daily multi-vitamins. They are packed with antioxidants, zinc, and magnesium and thanks to coconut oil are antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial.
They are also raw, vegan, gluten free, and have no processed sugar.
Did I mention they’re yummy? Like really really yummy. I’d take them over Lindt any day.
makes 10 truffles
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 heaping tablespoons of raw organic cacao powder
Raw local honey to taste
Pinch of sea salt
Shredded unsweetened coconut flakes, sesame seeds, coarse salt, cacao powder, or crushed nuts for coating
I use a combination of coconut butter and coconut oil for the base to make them extra flavorful and rich. Coconut butter is made from dried coconut flakes blended into a smooth creamy butter. You can find coconut butter and coconut oil in most health food stores. You can also substitute the coconut butter by using all coconut oil and/or adding a little bit of almond butter. Read more about coconuts here.
In the same spirit as the Caribeans chocolate tasting, feel free to get creative with your flavor combinations. Shredded ginger, turmeric, orange zest, cinnamon, basil, mint, and even raw garlic are all delicious combinations with chocolate.
Add the coconut oil, and coconut butter to a large mixing bowl.
I chose to mix mine outside as the coconut oil and butter tend to be solid at room temperature in Seattle and difficult to mix.
Add the cacao one tablespoon at a time to taste for your desired level of darkness. I like it really dark.
Sweeten to taste with raw local honey, maple syrup, stevia, or date paste.
Add a touch of sea salt. Personally I love my pink himalayan sea salt for the flavor and health properties.
Scrape the sides completely and pop the bowl into the refrigerator to cool the liquid so you can mold it into balls.
After about five minutes it should resemble the texture of ice cream.
Roll into one to two inch balls and coat with coconut or any other delicacy you’ve chosen.
It does get messy.
That’s part of the fun.
Place the truffles on a tray and stick them in the freezer for a few minutes.
Store in the refrigerator.
Or eat them all right away.
It is a vitamin after all.