Raw chocolate - also known as 'cacao' - is, as its name suggests, chocolate that hasn't undergone the usual heating processes applied to all other forms of chocolate, including the organic kind.
This means that the end product, pretty much identical to normal chocolate in taste and consistency, has at least four times (and up to as much as seven times) the antioxidant content of dark chocolate. Interestingly, this makes it one of the most antioxidant-rich foods on the planet.
Cacao is absolutely choc full (excuse the pun) of feel good factors and therefore gives this wonderful sustained happy high for most people who eat it. Processed chocolate has some of them (which is why it has the reputation for giving us that 'in love' feeling) but in considerably smaller quantities. For instance, raw chocolate is 33% richer in PEA, the substance that gives us that feeling of being in love. It also contains significant levels of anandamide, known as the 'bliss chemical' and factors which slow down anandamide's breakdown, so we stay happy for longer. It's also a good source of tryptophan which the brain uses to make serotonin which in turn creates a feeling of euphoria. Then there's arginine, known as 'nature's viagra' and magnesium and sulphur, important nutrients most of us are deficient in and which, among other things, help us relax. It's no wonder raw chocolate can make many people feel distinctly trippy!
So where can you get this wonder food from? Well, it is already possible to buy a range of delicious raw chocolate bars from some health food shops, or alternatively, online (see Resources at the end of this article). These bars are all made using natural low GI sweeteners, so they have the added benefit of being sugar-free (and are also dairy-free so suitable for vegans and those with a dairy intolerance).
Or you can have a go at making your own creations: you can buy raw chocolate powder, raw cacao butter (cocoa butter) and cacao nibs from some health food shops or purchase them online and have fun experimenting with recipes.
And if you need some help with recipe ideas, my company Sweet Sensations holds regular Chocolate Workshops in London, UK in which you can learn a range of easy, no-cook truffle and dessert recipes (all completely sugar, dairy and wheat-free so great for those with food intolerances). We will also shortly be publishing a recipe book and launching our own range of raw chocolate sugar, dairy and wheat-free truffles.
Click on http://www.sweetsensations.uk.com to take you to our website where we give you a free, very easy chocolate truffle recipe you can make for yourself.
For a range of raw chocolate confectionery:
For the ingredients to make your own recipes:
http://www.funkyraw.com (also sells some of the raw chocolate bars)
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