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Welcome friends, welcome to my chocolate factory!
To whatever satisfies Body & Soul?
• Exploring • Seeking wisdom • Being curious • Finding you
And Lovers of Chocolate (Nine out of ten people love chocolate, and the 10th person is fibbing ❤)
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.” From the special movie “Forrest Gump”
Chocolate is a complex thing. The history, properties, lore, chemistry and uses fill volumes of books.
Here we will go with Cacao as the less processed version of cocoa (the stuff that most retail chocolate is made from). Easily purchased as Cacao powder from any organic or whole food store and turned into occasional treats. It is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder and many shop bought chocolate bars.
Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. – Willy Wonka
Long before humans were turning cacao beans into delicious treats, they were making a wine from the sweet pulp that fills the cocoa pods.
Cocoa-based fermented drinks were popular throughout Mesoamerica, evolving into a mixed beverage during Aztec and Mayan times. It may have included the addition of mind-altering substances such as peyote or hallucinogenic mushrooms. Honey, chillies, edible flowers and spices were the usual additives.
Let the Magic begin … With one of the world’s most magical and incredible trees. The botanical name is theobroma cacao, roughly translated, means “food of the gods” or more literally – “God food”.
Themulti-coloured cocoa pods growing from the sides of the trees and branches only add to the mystique.
If there were a Garden of Eden, you can visualise a cocoa plantation.
Cacao butter is the fattiest part of the fruit and makes up the outer lining of the inside of a single bean. It is white in colour and has a rich, buttery texture.
Cacao butter is removed from the bean during production and the remaining part of the fruit is used to produce cacao powder.
Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact. Enjoy cacao powder in hot chocolate, smoothies and brownies, or top your dessert with an elegant dusting of this fine powder. Cacao is a very popular ingredient in raw food and cakes. We add our lacto fermented and dehydrated brines to raw cacao powder, for an extra probiotic punch!
Cacao nibs (or cacao pieces) are simply cocoa beans chopped up into edible pieces, much like chocolate chips without the added sugars and fats. Cacao nibs contain all of the fiber, fat, and nutrients the cocoa bean does. Raw nibs are exceptionally high in antioxidants.
Cacao Nibs have a strong dark bitter chocolate flavour. Eaten raw-as is, or roasted or brewed. Use straight or processed into Chocolate bars, fine chocolate, deserts, raw treats, smoothies, toppings or baked goods. Sprinkle over ice cream. Grind nibs into savoury spice blends.
Roasting nibs at home will bring out the true flavour of chocolate. The aroma will make your kitchen smell like a chocolate factory! Roast the nibs for about 15 minutes. Roast for 5 minutes at 150ºC, and then reduce the temperature to 120ºC for a further 10 minutes or so.
Cacao paste comes from cacao nibs slowly heated to preserve nutrients and are melted into a bark. It is a less-processed form of dark chocolate bars. Cacao paste can be used to make treats and desserts or you can just eat as an indulgent snack by itself!
Cacao beans … The beans still have the peel / shell intact.
• Peel with fingernails or knife. • Soak in cold water for 30 minutes to make peeling easier.
- Eat ‘em straight one at a time and experience the taste extravaganza of raw chocolate.
- Blend with kefir smoothie
- Second ferment with Kefir, kombucha and tibicos.
- Freeze a blend of cacao beans / nibs + sweetener of choice. Eat cold.
- Blend cacao beans with maca into a herbal tea
- Crush / blitz in coffee grinder. Add to kefir ice – cream for the best chocolate chips you will ever taste.
- DIY chocolate bar by blending with sweetness, activated nuts / seeds.
- Blend cacao beans, honey or sweetness of choice, carob powder, maca, hemp oil, kefir soaked macadamia nuts. Pour into mould and freeze.
- Eat cold and experience the food of the gods!
Chocolate + Vanilla Extract
Raw cacao beans lose the “top notes” of their flavour when processed into chocolate.
To keep those precious top notes back, add pure chocolate extract made from raw cacao nibs into treats.
DIY Chocolate Extract
1/2 cup crushed raw cacao beans (will require to be shelled) / nibs
1 cup of organic vodka, bourbon or rum
Pour alcohol over the nibs.
Seal jar tightly and give the jar a good shake.
Store in a dark spot (up to 3 months)
When the extract has reached the depth of preferred flavour – a process that can take up to six months depending on your preference – strain out the cacao beans.
In a freezer-safe container, place extract in the freezer overnight. Remove extract the next morning and scrape off any fat that has risen to the top.
Store your chocolate extract in a dark container/dark cabinet.
Cocoa butter is a pure, stable fat. It is pressed out of cacao beans. It is considered a vegetable fat. It is also vegan and contains no dairy products, despite using the word butter in its name. Cocoa butter is usually extracted by the Broma process, letting the butter drip off of roasted cocoa beans in a hot room. The beans are then ground into cocoa powder while the butter is used in making chocolate and beauty care products.
It melts onto the skin in a velvety smooth and pleasing way. It will stay solid at room temperature and contains naturally occurring antioxidants to prevent rancidity, giving it a shelf life of years.
Cocoa butter is perfect for salves, lotions, lip balm, and some makeup. Because it is nontoxic and melts at body temperature, it is also used as a base for medical suppositories to deliver medications.
Cacao Butter is perfect for delicious raw food treats, home-made chocolate, ice cream and desserts.
Kombucha salve … cut a kombucha scoby into pieces and blitz. Add coconut oil, cacao powder. Melt grated beeswax and shaved cocoa butter. Add to scoby mix.
Make a simple salve by blending kombucha scoby, coconut oil and essential oil of choice.
Pure Cacao butter will blitz easily for smoothies, when shaved into pieces – no need to melt.
DIY Cacao fermentation
1. Slam cacao pods onto the edge of a hard surface around their equators until easy to open. Seeds should be un-sprouted and free of mould. Remove seeds from the pods … The most efficient way to clean and prepare the seeds is by placing into your mouth and sucking off the white cacao nectar. Put in a container lined with banana leaves. Try to get a lot of the white bloom from the underside of the leaves on the seeds. Stir the seeds daily for about a week, allowing the liquid to drain through the leaves.
2. Rinse seeds in water and drain or squeeze out excess.
3. Dry seeds in the sun. This usually takes about 3 days.
4. Roast seeds for 2 hours at low temperature or use a solar oven. The seed coats should be very crispy and separate easily from the insides (nibs) when crushed.
5. Shell cacao (optional). Easy to run through a grain mill and (blowing) the seed coats away. You can also remove each seed coat by hand (good party activity). It has been said the seed coats contain a lot of vitamin D if fermented and dried in the sun.
6. Grind the cacao. You can use a coffee grinder to get it pretty fine for treats or beverages. Or use a mortar and pestle.
7. The seeds can be stored in jars after drying, after roasting, or as nibs. It is best to store refrigerated.
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