Choco-Tourism in the Caribbean
According to The New York Times, the Caribbean is currently a hot-spot for those seeking to hop from island to island to enjoy the very best of the Caribbean cocoa industry: “From Tobago to Dominica, Grenada to St. Vincent, the Caribbean cocoa industry, which has roots in colonial times, is being revitalized. This is excellent news economically: With free trade having all but destroyed the islands’ banana and sugar industries, fair-trade farming initiatives are a welcome boon.” The world price of cocoa has been soaring in the past few years, owing in no small part to the growing size of the middle class in emerging markets. Seekingalpha.com notes that “The emerging middle class has made chocolate into an affordable, everyday treat. Meanwhile, new products, improved transportation and better infrastructure have eased the distribution of confections.” Within the booming chocolate market, Caribbean cocoa is very much the gold standard, and there is no doubt that this dark, delicious ingredient is attracting fervent foodies from far and wide.
Dark Cocoa: Chock-full of Healthy Goodness
Dark (preferably raw) Caribbean chocolate is one of the healthiest foods you could possibly treat yourself with. This product is highly nutritious, boasting three times the amount of antioxidants contained in green tea. Builtlean.com notes that raw chocolate “contains many important vitamins and minerals including Magnesium and other essential minerals, including calcium, sulphur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium and manganese; polyphenols called flavonoids with antioxidant properties, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E; protein; and fibre.” The ‘food of the Gods’ is an ideal choice for everyone, particularly those who need a nutritional boost. Raw chocolate and other nutritional foods make up an important part of the diet of those undergoing rehabilitation for substance abuse, for instance. Addiction takes a major toll on the body, preventing users from absorbing important nutrients, and damaging both their immune systems and vital organs. This is largely because of the large amounts of toxins even common ‘soft drugs’ contain. Not only do drugs affect one’s physical state, they also affect our mental wellbeing. Rehabs.com states that “Marijuana use is strongly associated with stunted emotional development” To boost the health of our body and mind, it is vital to consume a diet which is very high in antioxidants. Raw chocolate can play a vital role in fighting free radicals and detoxifying the body. If you’d like to include a little of its magic in your daily life, try the following recipe for raw chocolate truffles…
Raw Chocolate Truffles
1 cup Medjool dates
¼ cup hemp seeds
3/4 cup walnuts
¼ teaspoon sea salt
5 tablespoons raw Caribbean cacao/cocoa powder
¼ cup cocoa powder or icing sugar to roll the truffles in
Process the walnuts in a food processor. Cut the dates into quarters and place in a bowl. Add the processed walnuts and hemp seeds and mash until a uniform mixture is formed. Roll into balls and roll again in the extra cocoa powder, or roll lightly in icing sugar.
Note: The truffles are a five-minute recipe, but if you wish to add a little sophistication to the recipe and up its health benefits, you may wish to roll the truffles in superfoods like Goji berries, desiccated or shredded coconut or finely chopped nuts. Those into essential oils love adding a tiny drop of edible essential oils like bergamot, mandarin or orange, to add a touch of chocolate orange magic to the recipe. If you are new to essential oils and wish to harness their benefits, make sure to use only therapeutic grade essential oils and use them sparingly. Just one drop of lemon essential oil in a full glass of water, for instance, has a very strong taste, so err on the cautious side when adding these oils to truffles for the first time, testing a half a drop of essential oil on a small batch of truffles before adding them to the entire mixture.
By Laura Chapman
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