It’s Chocolate Week here in the UK, so happy chocolate eating everybody!
Those of you who know me will be aware that I’ve become just a teensy weensy bit obsessed with raw chocolate. 😉 For most of my life, I’ve never been that bothered about chocolate… but all this changed when I experienced my first piece of raw chocolate. As soon as I popped it into my mouth, I could feel its magical properties taking hold. I was hooked! I immediately went home and googled ‘raw chocolate’ to see what I could find out about the wonder food. I also got myself a copy of David Wolfe & Shazzie’s ‘Naked Chocolate’.
Have you ever wondered where cacao beans comes from? Well, they come from the beautiful Theobrama Cacao.
I love the cocoa pods. Aren’t they beautiful! Here’s a shot of them at various stages of ripening.
And here’s a peek at the cacao beans inside one of those beautiful pods:
And what did I discover from my research? Well, listen carefully chocolate lovers… raw chocolate is SUPER GOOD FOR YOU! It’s absolutely brimming with nutrients, which explains why my body felt like it was ‘zinging’ after one small mouthful. Here’s a list of some of the important nutrients found in raw chocolate:
- Magnesium (important for a healthy heart, muscle relaxation, strong bones, growth and repair, brain function. Sadly it’s the most deficient mineral in the diet)
- Vitamins B and C
- Antioxidant flavonols
- Phenylethylamine (PEA) (dubbed the ‘love chemical’, PEA seems to help create feelings of attraction, excitement and euphoria. PEA is noticeably abundant in the brains of happy people 🙂 )
- Anandamide (known as the ‘bliss chemical’. Anandamide is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘ananda’ meaning ‘bliss’)
- Stimulates the release of Serotonin, Tryptophan and Dopamine (also powerful mood-enhancing nutrients)
The above is just a fraction of the nutrients contained in raw chocolate. It truly is a ‘super food’!
Cacao has been dubbed ‘Nature’s Prozac’ as it contains three neurotransmitters – serotonin, dopamine and phenylethylamine (PEA) – which help alleviate depression and are associated with feelings of well-being.
It has also been suggested that eating raw chocolate can help with weight control as it diminishes appetite. I’ve experienced this for myself. In the past, I could have easily guzzled a whole box of milk chocolates. With raw chocolate, I literally feel full up after one or two small pieces.
So why should we be eating raw chocolate rather than regular chocolate? Well, most commercial chocolate is highly processed and heated to very high temperatures, which means that most of the nutrients are destroyed or altered. Commercial chocolate is often loaded with refined sugar, causing energy spikes and slumps, as well as weight gain. It can also contain processed fat, various synthetic chemicals, artificial preservatives, cheap emulsifiers and other fillers. Adding dairy milk also blocks the absorption of the great antioxidants in chocolate.
At the Love Food Festival in Bath yesterday, I bumped into Dan and Paula from Elements for Life, and I bought some bars of their award-winning Yummy Scrummy raw chocolate brownie.
To celebrate the fact it’s Chocolate Week (and recognising it would indeed be greedy to keep all the bars for myself 😉 ) I’m going to give you guys a chance to win a bar and experience the delights of Yummy Scrummy for themselves. 🙂
To enter the giveaway, simply leave me a comment and describe your favourite chocolate flavour. My current 3 favourite flavours are goji berry & nut; orange; and coffee.
The winner will be chosen at random at 7pm (GMT) on Monday 17th October.
Good luck everybody!
25 thoughts on “The Wonders of Raw Chocolate… and a Yummy Scrummy giveaway!”
Great giveaway! I love raw chocolate, I still need to get myself into gear and try making some for myself! I really enjoyed some cacao nibs and goji’s together the other day but another combo I love with chocolate is sea salt and macadamia 🙂
Ooh that’s sound like an interesting combo. I’ll have to give it a go 😉
Generally I’m quite a purist and just like raw chocolate with no other flavours. However, I do like things with a bit of heat and have loved raw chocolate flavoured with chilli (from RAWR) or ginger (from booja booja).
Ah the gorgeous Booja Booja!! That box you gave me last Christmas last year was the BEST box of chocolates I’ve had in my LIFE!!! They’re ‘Midnight Espresso’ choc is my all-time favourite truffle. The taste is heavenly! 🙂 xx
I like just chocolate…I don’t mind other items being in their with it, but when it comes down to it I am a purist and just prefer dark chocolate. I have never had raw chocolate and would LOVE to be the winner of this delicious item 🙂
Thanks for the lovely mention Sharon and as you can imagine I love raw chocolate.
Great idea for a giveaway and I’m sure the lucky winner will be thrilled.
As for flavours, I love just straight raw chocolate, but also with brazil nut and homemade crystalised ginger
I’ve no idea what ‘raw’ chocolate is. The beans, powdered, cocoa? Or raw as in ‘not cooked’ or processed?
No idea – but used to know a very senior businesswoman who suffered terrible PMS and if you knew what was good for you, you’d turn up at a morning meeting armed with chocolate. She claimed it always worked. 🙂
From what I understand, raw chocolate is made using only raw ingredients ie. cacao powder & cacao butter. Because it isn’t heat processed, it retains the multitude of nutrients contained in cacao (which get killed off when the beans are roasted). Also, raw chocolate doesn’t contain any of the ‘baddies’ (fillers, preservatives, refined sugars, processed fats) found in commercial chocolate.
I guess it’s the magnesium in the chocolate that helps with PMS, muscle cramps, etc. Trust you to find a sneaky way to win round the female boss. 😉
Ah, thank you. 🙂
The lady in question wasn’t my boss but a fellow Marketing Director and when we met for regional planning, it was feed chocolate or risk decapitation! LOL 🙂 Interestingly, like me, she also took early retirement and trained in holistic therapy. I’ll let her know she can now add raw chocolate! 😉
Is it really chocolate week!?! Omg, this is MY week! 😀
Im obsessed with dark chocolate, and lately with raw chocolate! Ive been making chocolate like a crazy person for the past days, and Im loving it 🙂
Favorit flavors are: cherry, mint and the one I made today : salty pecan caramell<3 For the caramel filling I used coconut oil, yacon, lucuma, sea salt and vanilla! HEAVEN!
Great Giveaway 😀
OMG the pecan caramel choc sounds amazing!!! Have you posted the recipe on your blog? If not, please do! I definitely want to have a go at making them. x
I have always liked dark chocolate buy didn’t know what I was missing until I tried real chocolate, my favourite is gojiberry and nut.
In the past I’ve always liked white chocolate with nuts (hazelnuts or almonds)
Recently introduced (By Sharon) to raw chocolate and it is lovely. I especialy liked to the orange flavoured one!
Not really fussy, any chocolates a treat fo me. My sons doing a chocolate themed topic at school this term and we had a session of trying all different types (what a good excuse eh) – there was a very noticable difference between children and adults tastes in that all the children were not too keen on the dark chocolate. All the more for the adults – shame!!!!
Phew – I nearly missed this post!
My favourite favour of chocolate at the moment is dark chocolate with cherry, although I love all dark chocolate. I also have a secret penchant for not-so-healthy white chocolate 😉
Loads of useful information on food that I wasn’t aware of. Will need to try the raw chocolate, can you please tell me where to buy it or how to make it as it sounds delicious. My favourite kind is with nuts.
Shameless plug http://www.elementsforlife.co.uk but Sharon has mentioned us in her post 🙂
My favourite chocolate is minty chocolate!
Salted chocolate is my favourite, Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt is my favourite at the moment.
Not tried salted but heard a lot about it. Am going to make some with Himalayan Rock Salt and see what it’s like
I do love liquers, but only one box at a time. 😉
I’d love to try some. My favourites are dark green & blacks with either ginger or butterscotch. I got the espresso one for Martin recently and didn’t get to try a piece, so I guess that’s his favourite!
Orange + milk or dark chocolate is THE BEST! All of the fruit (raspberry, cherry, etc) rank high on my list, but orange is #1.
chocolate and almond butter for sure!!!! The two are wonderful together!!!
Some great combinations being suggested and giving me loads to experiment with