Recently I blogged about the excellent Slow Chocolate workshop that I attended in January 2013.
This workshop, run by Seventy Percent in London, shows you how to properly taste fine chocolate so that you can distinguish the good from the not-so-good. According to Martin Christy, founder of Seventy Percent: ‘fine chocolate is a new world of tasting and appreciation similar in complexity and nuance to the world of fine wine’.
You don’t need to spend long on the Sweet Sensations site to realise that healthy eating is pretty important to me. However, I didn’t have the space in the last blog post about the workshop to cover some of the health aspects of fine chocolate, so I’m going to do so here.
Fine chocolate is a hugely growing field, and deservedly so – the quality of the chocolate is excellent, and it also lends itself to small-scale ethical, sustainable production, which the chocolate industry badly needs. But how healthy is it? Continue reading
The other week I spent the whole day at a workshop in central London that was all about how to taste chocolate. A whole day dedicated to tasting chocolate? Sounds like bliss!
It certainly was, though we reeled in shock when we were told at the beginning of the day that we wouldn’t actually be tasting any chocolate until after lunch. Was this some sort of cruel joke?
Instead, we spent the morning learning lots about chocolate (I was astonished to hear for instance that we know so little about cocoa that we still don’t know which insect or insects pollinate it in the wild). Continue reading
Posted in Chocolate Tasting, Fine Chocolate, Origin Chocolate
Tagged amano, chocolate tasting, fair trade chocolate, fine chocolate, michel cluizel, origin chocolate, pacari, seventy percent, sustainable cocoa production
Christmas food can be rather rich and heavy, so I like the fact that these chocolate brownies contain some of the classic christmas tastes – chocolate, orange, spices – but have a refreshing lightness to them as well. The chili/cayenne also gives a bit of a hit, which is kind of nice!
This is a great recipe to try if you don’t eat chocolate or want to have a break from it.
Lucuma is a fabulous and sadly under-used ingredient; coconut oil is a medium chain saturated fat that is said to be more likely to increase your metabolism than be laid down as fat or cholesterol; whilst coconut palm sugar is a delicious caramel-tasting, low GI sweetener. You could use yacon syrup or any other liquid sweetener instead – they’re equally delicious, it’s just that I really like the crunchy bite that coconut sugar gives. Continue reading
This is a great recipe for the blackberry season – the apple and walnut give it a distinctive end of summer taste.
Essential oils add fabulous flavour to your chocolate making, as well as being really easy to use. This is a guide on how to use them in your raw chocolate recipes.
How to use them
Use good quality oils from reputable suppliers (see below).
Essential oils are the last ingredient I add to a recipe – this way I can add exactly the amount required to get the right taste. Some recipes only need a couple of drops, whilst others might need as many as fifteen, so it’s best to start by mixing in one or two drops, having a taste, adding a couple more drops if necessary, and so on. Remember: you can always add, but you can’t subtract!
Raw chocolate is loved by many, but is also well known for its rather over-stimulating properties. I’ve lost count of the number of sleepless nights I’ve had, wishing I’d been able to resist that last raw chocolate treat….
In an ideal world it’s probably best to keep raw chocolate as a ‘sometimes’ treat, eaten in small amounts earlier rather than later in the day. But if you don’t always manage this, what’s the answer?
Funnily enough, I don’t often drink nut milks (or any milks), but having just given a private workshop to a delightful couple who wanted to get some healthy eating inspiration, I have been reminded about just how delicious fresh homemade almond milk is. It is NOTHING like the stuff you buy in the shops.
You can drink almond milk straight, sweeten it, use in in cereals, add fruit to it, use it to make raw soups creamier etc etc.
In the last few weeks I’ve got into making my own pickled vegetables. Cultured/fermented vegetables are unbelievably easy to make and said to be VERY good for you – the process of pickling apparently makes trillions of beneficial bacteria for your gut. Many people swear by cultured vegetables as one of the absolute roots of good health and point to the numerous ways in which humans have incorporated fermented foods into their diets over the centuries.
Now, bear in mind that I’m a recent convert to this, so no expert. However, the process is so easy that I am going to share it with you, and then point you in the direction of the experts. Please excuse any mistakes or misapprehensions I may make along the way due to my inexperience. However, this is the process I use and it works absolutely fine: