The Food of the Gods

I agree with the Mayans and Greeks having declared cacao as the food of the gods. I think it’s one of the most enjoyable foods that grows in our planet.

Throughout my life I’ve had precious encounters with cacao in its many forms and will never forget those moments thanks to the pleasure in my taste buds, the chemical reactions in my brain and the overall feeling in my body.

As I child I loved milk chocolate-basically any kind I could get. As a teenager I tried dark chocolate and then understood what the real deal was.

Last summer I picked a fresh cacao fruit from the Peruvian rainforest and ate that deliciousness fresh. Not only the cacao beans but the white pulp that holds them together is to die for. A true superfood.

A few years ago in Brasil someone was blending and freezing this cacao pulp. The result was the most amazing frozen juice with the perfect balance of sweet and tangy… I don’t think I’ve ever tasted something so perfectly balanced coming from just one ingredient.

On a family trip to Belize, we visited Ajaw in San Ignacio (https://www.ajawchocolate.com/) We learned about the chocolate making process and the traditional way the Mayans consume their cacao: in a warm, spiced beverage. The pleasure I experience from this food is usually indescribable. We also bought freshly made chocolate bars that were so palatable, they have a tangy taste that exists only in actual fresh chocolate. This chocolate bar is probably the best one I’ve ever tried in my life thus far. The only thing is that it’s so fresh that it didn’t last very long tasting that way… you couldn’t really save some for later. You wan’t that flavor? You better eat it now. They say the good things in life don’t last very long so best enjoyed while you can.

On my current trip across the western United States I have clearly not come across cacao in its natural forms but I must admit I have tried some spectacular dark chocolate bars. Processing chocolate does take serious savoir-faire and some people over here have done it right.

Every co-op or organic food store I go to I closely inspect the chocolate section and always grab a few bars that I’ve never tasted before, hoping to make some extraordinary discoveries. There are so many varieties of chocolates, nowadays sweetened with alternative sweeteners like coconut sugar, added adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms as well as vegan “mylk” chocolates. It’s been interesting to try so may varieties, since in my home for the past few years there aren’t many options.

Speaking of home, I do have to give praise to a new Dominican chocolate company, Cacaoteca, for crafting quality and fresh tasting chocolate. My favorite is of course their darkest, 84%. The income from these bars support the local non-profit “El Arca”. Their 78% Dark Intense and 63% Dark Soft are delicious as well. I haven’t tried their milk chocolates but am sure they are the best you can find on the island: https://cacaoteca.com/

At the moment, Dick & Taylor Craft Chocolate make my favorite shelf-stable chocolate I’ve tried up to date. They have many varieties, and my top picks are the Northerner Blend and the Belize Toledo. I tasted these bars this year, but the first bar I ever tried from them was the Black Fig a few years ago, which I must admit is pretty great as well. Thanks to my sister who brought me this gift from her travels, I was able to learn about this company for which I am super grateful.

Dick and Taylor have their factory and shop in Eureka, California, which I sadly have not been able to visit yet. They craft monthly limited edition chocolates, so if you’re as interested in chocolate as I am, consider signing up to their newsletter to be in the know and order their bars: https://dicktaylorchocolate.com/

Other chocolates I recently discovered and thoroughly enjoyed are Buddha Chocolate’s Wild Rose & Sea Salt and Honey Mama’s Mayan Spice Cacao Nectar Bar.

So why am I so in love with Cacao? First of all, the luxurious creamy taste. Then, the mood enhancing properties, thanks to anandamide which interestingly carries a similar molecular shape to THC, and phenylethylamine which provides us with more focus and awareness. Cacao is rich in phytonutrients, antioxidant and minerals like iron and magnesium. Since I am not a coffee drinker, I alternate between cacao and green tea when I need to focus and get things done, or simply a little comforting pick-me-up.

I must admit that it’s happened that I have eaten so much dark chocolate to the point where I get stomach aches and overload my adrenals. So like everything in life, balance is key, even when it comes to healthy foods. Anything in excess will go wrong!

I hope you can enjoy this delicious food as much as I do. Please leave your chocolate recommendations on the comments below so we can continue to pleasurably honor this gift from mother earth.

Love,

Bianca

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