As the tiny morsel weighs lightly in my mouth I relish the rich taste that slowly melts across my tongue, tickling taste buds into a composition filled with complicated notes and expansive tones.
My eyes close to grasp the full meaning of this exquisite cantata lingering for my soul to devour. There is no mistaking it, cacao rules my world.
The beautiful raw fragment sends aromatic hints to tease my nose and awaken a greedy indulgence that keeps me bound to its brilliance with every taste. A step into the divine, I fly with angels into the world of ecstatic elegance I call deep, dark and decadent.
Raw cacao, a superfood in every sense of the word, should fill everyone’s palate since it is packed with anti-oxidants, including flavonoids and polyphenols. Rich in minerals – especially iron, zinc and magnesium – this magic bean can bring any emotional outrage to its knees. I for one have knelt in its presence as neurotransmitters like serotonin brought forth the feel-good chemicals in my brain and lightened me into an angelic presence.
Chocolate transcends barriers and awakens the mind when the vibrancy of another neurotransmitter, phenethylamine (PEA), pushes love to greater heights and phytochemicals nourish the heart.
I thank the small and beautiful evergreen tree that bears such prizes on its branches. The seeds are numerous, compressed and reddish-brown on the outside while the dark-brown raw goodness graces the insides.
I stress the raw because once the bean is processed through heat and chemicals all its beauty dies a nutrient death. Processed chocolate, though deliciously sweet, contains too many other additives to call it nutritious, and though Mrs. See had me for several years, I’ve abandoned ship for the bitter taste of the raw.
Cacao does not contain caffeine but carries a stimulant called theobromine. Theobromine is actually better to activate our bodies and bring on energy, similar to green tea’s effect.
The lovely cacao nibs can be twirled into protein shakes, stirred into oatmeal or showered over yogurt. Raw chocolate bars sweetened with organic coconut nectar brings any day into a high note. Raw cacao powder can be prepared as a chocolate drink mixed with organic vanilla beans and sweetened with raw honey. The range of delicious knows no bounds when chocolate enters the scene.
And it does not end just with raw chocolate since the cacao bean bears another wonderful attribute, cacao butter also known as theobroma oil. It is pale-yellow and an edible natural fat. Its raw state is made using cold-pressed methods, a very stable fat it too contains natural antioxidants that give it a storage life of two to five years. Add to a smoothie for a richer taste with just a hint of chocolate to linger on.
Oh, lovely cacaos, you even grace your rewards on my skin, melting your butter into my very pores. Treat yourself to this lovely ambiance. After a hot bath or shower while still radiating the heat, break off a small piece of this beauty bar and slide it slowly all over the skin, breathing deeply the sweet chocolate aroma as it melts its moisturizing properties into the body.
I can never say enough of this seed cultivated as far back as 1400 BC not only as a simple beverage, but as a fermented drink. And the Mayans simply plucked them from their own backyards to be widely used in their culture, becoming a legacy tracing its way through to modern day.
And if there is only one caveat when enjoying this wondrous gift, it is to cherish it as a small luxury only to be eaten in small amounts and kept as the sacred act of indulgence it is meant to be.