Dark Chocolate

Raw Chocolate Hazelnut Fudge

It's been forever since our last post - it feels like so much has been happening these past few months we've barely had time for creating. But we're here again and so excited to put more energy into this passion project. It's been a time full of big changes for us recently. A few weeks ago we packed up once again and moved to a small town in southern Spain called Andújar. So far, we're loving having our own space, a big terrace that we're slowly filling with plants and trying all the local produce at the daily market. Although a lot of the cuisine in restaurants here involves meat and fish, we're really enjoying the abundance of locally grown fruit and vegetables. And olives growing quite literally everywhere! We can't wait to share some our new favourite discoveries, but in the mean time, here's a recipe we think everyone will love. It's one of the tastiest things we've ever created!

Raw chocolate hazelnut fudge

This raw 'fudge' has been some what of an obsession of ours during the past few months. It's basically like a healthy nutella formed into perfect bite size portions. It's similar to a perfect brownie texture - fudgey and rich, yet it doesn't require any baking and can be made easily in a food processor. We normally make a big batch of this to keep in the fridge for the week - a really tasty and satisfying treat to grab and go or savour for a while. The key ingredient is the cacao butter, which if you're new to we highly recommend you look into. The butter really enhances the texture of the fudge and gives it such a deep chocolate flavour. If you can't get hold of this, we recommend you substitute with coconut oil.

Ingredients
1 cup of pitted dates (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, to soften)
1/2 cup of walnuts
3/4 cup of sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of organic cacao powder
1/2 cup of grated cacao butter
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
2-3 tablespoons of hazelnut butter (can substitute for any other nut butter)
1/4 cup of plant mylk
A generous pinch of salt

Method
1) Soak the dates in hot water for at least 20 minutes before preparing the fudge. 
2) Drain the dates and add to a food processor with all the other ingredients. Blend on a high speed for a minimum of 1 minute until the ingredients are well combined. The consistency should be quite smooth. You might need to scrape round the edges of the processor to make sure everything is well mixed. If it's not coming together add a few more teaspoons of plant mylk. 
3) Line a tupperware box with baking paper and add the mixture. Press the fudge down with the back of a spoon, making sure it is well compressed. 
4) Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving. The fudge should keep well in the fridge for at least a week, if you can make it last that long! 
 

We'd love to know your favourite sweet treats - let us know below! 
If you enjoyed this post, please share below! 

Nourishing Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate has become a daily ritual of ours recently. It really is like a little cup of magic medicine. Instantly mood lifting and calming - it's my favourite way to start the day. In my eyes, the best kind of rituals involve chocolate! Last year, we wrote this blog post about chocolate after visiting an organic cacao farm in Colombia. And our love for chocolate is only getting stronger ...

With the ancient traditions of cacao coming back into knowledge, people are beginning to see chocolate as more than just a delicious treat. For thousands of years, the ancestors of Central America used Cacao as a powerful healer - a gateway to connection and a way of releasing negative emotions. For them, chocolate was a huge part of sacred ceremonies, being a nutritious medicine for both the mind and body.

Vegan Hot Chocolate

In many ways, it makes sense that we're drawn to chocolate in emotional times. Many of the active ingredients in pure cacao release feel good emotions. Traditionally, it's referred to as a 'heart opener'. It increases blood flow to the whole body, which heightens our feelings and nourishes our whole system. Of course, it's also delicious, so it drinking it brings extra enjoyment! 

Vegan Hot Chocolate

To boost our hot chocolate with some extra nutrition, we've also added an incredible medicinal mushroom blend by Hybrid Herbs and our own roasted dandelion root coffee. These ingredients are optional though! Medicinal Mushrooms are an incredible way to boost the immune system and generally boost vitality and clarity. Surprisingly, this blend has a really delicious flavor too and I've genuinely noticed a difference in mood since taking it. The caffeine in the cacao supercharges the force of the mushrooms, so it's perfect to combine them together!

Now, for the hot chocolate... the perfect partner for these colder mornings. 

Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 tablespoons of cacao powder
2 cups of oat milk (or other nut milk)
a pinch of salt
1/2  teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/3 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
optional ingredients
1 teaspoon of medicinal mushroom mix
1 teaspoon of dandelion root coffee (see here for our recipe)

Method
1) Place all the dry ingredients in a sauce pan. 
2) Add your milk and begin to heat on a medium temperature. Thoroughly stir whilst heating so there are no lumps.
3) Heat for around 5 minutes, until hot. We prefer not to let ours boil, so as not to cook off all the nutrients.
4) If you're using roasted dandelion root, strain your hot chocolate before serving. 
5) Serve and enjoy <3

If you enjoyed this post, please share below <3
Have you ever tried Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi or Chaga?
 

A Simple Cacao Smoothie with Spices

Following on from our post all about chocolate last week, here’s one of our favourite ways to use cacao powder: a rich, delicious chocolate smoothie with spices.

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This is a really simple recipe if you’re new to cacao powder and have a slight sweet tooth. Remember that chocolate milk you’re left with after eating a bowl of Coco pops? This is kind of like that, but much tastier, nourishing and good for both body and the soul. This is such a good drink for satisfying any sugar cravings and is also really filling and creamy from the avocado.  The cinnamon/nutmeg also helps to balance blood sugar levels and aid digestion, as well as being so tasty!

We love using coconut milk in our smoothies, but this can easily be made with just water (or another kind of milk) and it will be just as delicious.

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A Simple Coconut Cacao Smoothie with Spices (Serves 2)

  • 2 Tablespoons of cacao powder

  • 250ml of water

  • 250ml of coconut milk (or more water/ other nut milk)

  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon

  • 1 large, ripe banana (frozen can be used)

  • ½ ripe avocado

  • 2 dates (or a teaspoon of honey)

  • Top with: a grating of nutmeg

1)Combine ingredients in a blender and blitz for 1 minute.

2) Pour into glasses, top with grated nutmeg and enjoy!

Where Cacao comes from (La Candelaria, Minca)

A few weeks ago, in Colombia’s Sierra Nevada, we visited La Candelaria- a beautiful, historic farm located in the misty hills above Minca. With organic avocados, bananas, lemons, coffee and cacao growing on the land, we quickly declared this place as farmland-paradise. After a 40 minute hike we were greeted with delicious homemade lemonade and incredible views, before learning all about where chocolate comes from (and tasting as much as possible of course!) 

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Coffee Beans at La Candelaria  

Coffee Beans at La Candelaria  

Roasted Cacao Beans  

Roasted Cacao Beans  

It’s a big statement, but we think it’s fair to say that chocolate is one of the best things on earth. It’s universally and historically loved; a perfect thing in both the best and worst of times in life. 

But the more we’ve pursued our passion for healthy cooking in the past few years, the more our bodies have begun craving chocolate in its purest form. A processed chocolate bar may give you a quick sugar fix, but you miss out on all of the rich, satisfying, healthy goodness that pure cacao contains.

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Unprocessed Cacao is literally full of antioxidants, iron, calcium, magnesium and much more, as well as boosting your serotonin and theobromine levels to make life a little happier. So chocolate is good for your health, but do your research and buy dark and organic whenever possible. The majority of Chocolate plantations use huge amounts of pesticides and fertilisers, as well as being incredibly unethical in how they treat their workers… so fair trade is always better if it’s on offer.

So, all chocolate starts its life growing from a Cacao tree. Each tree produces flowers and fruits, with each fruit pod containing 20-60 cacao beans. When you open up a pod, the beans are coated in a white, sticky and sweet liquid. 

Cacao tree flower  

Cacao tree flower  

A ripe cacao fruit  

A ripe cacao fruit  

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These beans are then fermented for around 7 days, in order to enhance taste and remove any residue. And then the beans are dried for a further 7 days. It's true that good things come to those who wait...

This is where two options happen: either the beans are roasted at high temperatures to produce Cocoa -or the beans are kept raw as Cacao. Raw cacao is a lot richer in nutrients than its processed partner, however Cocoa definitely still has benefits if you avoid products with added sugar.

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At La Candelaria, the beans were slowly roasted on a low heat to preserve nutrients, and then ground them into a paste. This was then moulded into blocks to be used for hot chocolate, homemade chocolates or to add into smoothies. And the most important bit: it tasted incredible, we could have eaten it all afternoon!

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Back in England, we love using raw cacao powder in smoothies, to make energy balls, mixed into porridge or even in our Mexican bean dish.  We've got a couple of simple recipes coming soon to show how we love to use this amazing ingredient. 

In the meanwhile, here’s some photos from our time in Minca; peaceful days amongst the trees, and star filled nights with lots of hot chocolate.

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Our hostel in Minca - Oscar's Place  

Our hostel in Minca - Oscar's Place  

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La Candelaria  

La Candelaria  

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Coffee Beans drying in the sun

Coffee Beans drying in the sun

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What's your favourite kind of chocolate? Have you ever tried using cacao powder?