There is no other way to say it: who can live without chocolate? If you are one of those people who can, well good for you! The rest of us have suffered (not so) silently whenever we had to go a few days without this a tiny bite of bar or a bombom. And why would one want to go without chocolate?
Now, first: all dark cacao is healthy. A 70% or 80% chocolate bar contains little or no sugar and a great deal of benefits, unlike the more decadent combinations with more sugar and different additives. Next time you feel the urge to indulge in chocolate, don´t think twice and get yourself a delicious and healthy dark chocolate.
Now, Why Is Chocolate Good For You?
Chocolate can reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and risk of heart failure, according to Health Online. “In a controlled study dark cocoa powder was found to … (have) increased HDL and lowered total LDL for those with high cholesterol.” This claim is further supported by neuroscientist Will Clover, who indicates that eating a bit of dark chocolate after a meal may actually trigger hormones that signal to the brain that we are full.
Hence, if we eat dark chocolate, we may be eating even less than before.
Dark cacao is known to be a superfood. As a superfood, it is full of antioxidants and boasts tons of vitamins and minerals such as iron and magnesium. Its antioxidant effects may even protect you against harmful UV rays. This, however, doesn’t mean you’re allowed to go outside without sunblock!
Costa Rica Is Also Known For Its Chocolate
Costa Rica is worldwide known for its Costa Rica coffee. But did you know that Costa Rica chocolate brands are now making a fierce return to stores? A fungus called monilia nearly annihilated all our cacao plantations several decades ago. After a lengthy recovery, Costa Rican cacao has found its way back.
Chocolate was food used in indigenous ceremonies and rituals as well as currency. Pinolillo is one of the most popular drinks in the country and it’s made from mixing chocolate, spices and corn. Hearty and fulfilling, it may be taken hot or cold.
Pinolillo mix from the guys at Bici Chocolate.
If you’re feeling creative and wish to give yourself (or those you love) an inventive treat, why not make something yourself? You’d probably think we’re talking about making chocolate - but no. Chocolate is a very versatile ingredient and can be used in desserts, drinks, cocktails and even savoury dishes.
Here are several ideas you can make with chocolate.
Chocolate, Spice and Everything Nice
If coffee or tea is really not your idea of a comforting beverage, you can try your luck with a steaming cup of hot cocoa. The best thing about this drink is how versatile it is: you may add coffee, spices and even mint syrup for a delicious hot twist. For those that enjoy the spiciness in chai, you can make your own chai hot chocolate in several simple steps.
In a small saucepan, combine milk and a mixture of spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger and nutmeg, and let it simmer for a while. Remember: the longer it simmers, the spicier it gets. Once the milk is ready, add a couple of spoonfuls of cocoa, an equal proportion of sugar and a pinch of salt. This is the little cup of comfort you’ve always needed.
Or, you can simply avoid the hassle and have a cup of Sibu’s Choco Chai. That also does the trick.
Another great idea: A couple chocolate discs from Bici Chocolate into a steaming mug of milk.
The Best Chocolate Brands in a Cocktail
Who doesn’t love spending a lovely soireé with a cocktail in hand? Although alcoholic beverages with cream or milk are not in everyone’s preference, you may indulge in them occasionally. And when you have so many local ingredients at hand, it’s very easy to bring your own version of a well-known classic.
Take, for instance, the white russian. This cream, rum and coffee concoction is perfectly good by itself. However, if you want an additional (and unusual) ingredient to the boozy dessert cocktail, add a spoonful of pinolillo to the cream. Yes, pinolillo. Though unusual, adding a bit of pinolillo to your drink gives it that unique punch you were looking for.
When making your cocktail, just remember to mix everything very well, as the pinolillo powder tends to sediment quickly.
Simplicity in a Bean
A wonderful aspect of living in a country that produces cacao is the possibility of having access to the fresh, unprocessed ingredients that make up your favourite sweets and desserts. Besides chocolate, you can also buy raw cacao beans by Bicichocolate. These beans, by themselves, are incredibly bitter and coarse.
Yet, if you toast a couple of beans on a skillet and crush them into little pieces, these become the perfect garnish for an ice cream dessert or a fruit salad. Cacao beans add more depth and character to any dish you prepare. Also, there are few things as pleasurable as the smell of freshly roasted cacao in your kitchen.
As seen with the recipes above, you don’t require a big budget. Dare to innovate and surprise your loved ones. It’s not the present itself that matters, but rather the time invested in making whatever moments you wish to share, unforgettable. Those tiny surprises, those sweet treats - they all count. At the end of the day, the devil is truly in the detail.
Find the best chocolate brands and other incredible products at Local Keeps. Navigate our categories or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!