RAW CACAO: jungle M&Ms !
Article: Christina Harnois
Cacao pods are the quintessential rainforest plant, thriving in the hot and humid shaded environment of the dense tropical rainforest. Break open the pod and you will find almond shaped seeds covered in a sticky floral tasting flesh. In Saint Lucia the locals call these juicy seeds ‘jungle M&Ms’, so sweet and refreshing to nibble on, the taste of chocolate has yet to appear.
The beans are fermented and dried, then the roasting process brings out the chocolate flavour. Cacao nibs are ground and mixed with the cacao butter, the natural fat contained in the bean, to create a velvety paste and formed into a solid log
This form of unrefined pure cacao has many health benefits as it is the most antioxidant rich food in the world. High in magnesium and phytonutrients triggers serotonin and dopamine production in the brain making pure cacao a delicious mood enhancer.
In Saint Lucia the raw cacao is formed into a log referred to as cacao stick, it is grated to make a traditional breakfast drink Cocoa Tea.
½ cup grated cocoa stick
2 cups of water
Let the mixture simmer for a few minutes and add your favourite spices
Cinnamon, ginger, star anise, clove (use sparingly)
Once the mixture has brewed add
1 cup milk (my favourites are coconut milk or cashew milk)
Appreciate the slightly bitter flavour of the pure bean or add a bit of natural sweetener if you must.
Sit back under a palm tree if possible, if not any cosy spot will do … and indulge in a warming cup of Cocoa Tea.
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