Well this has to be one of my most favourite plants because without it we would not have chocolate – which is surely one of the best foods in the world?! I was really lucky to see cacao plants in the wild when I visited Kerala. My homestay host had cacao trees in his garden which had been growing for generations.
The fabulous Hotel Chocolat recently wrote a step by step account as follows on their blog.
- Planting and grafting
- Harvesting, fermenting and drying
- Grading and shipping
- Roasting and winnowing
- Grinding and chonching
- Moulding into shape
Nutritionally there have been many studies linking cocoa and dark chocolate with health benefits. Cocoa and dark chocolate contain a large amount of antioxidants. They have been linked to keeping high blood pressure down and reducing the blood’s ability to clot, so also reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The darker chocolate with the most concentrated cocoa is said to be the most beneficial.
Recipes using chocolate
- Easter Chocolate Mousse Tarts (Nests)
- Caramel Chocolate Cups
- Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti
- Mini White Chocolate Cups with Raspberry
- Chocolate Loaf Cake with Three Drizzle Suggestions
- Double Chocolate Cake Pops
- Chocolate Tarts
- Chocolate and Chilli Brownies