It took some time for us to reflect on our visit to SRSLY Chocolate, and our lesson on what it takes to make a quality bar of chocolate from owner Bob Williamson. Now that we've had sometime to let it all soak in, here's what we've come away with.
First, SRSLY Chocolate is the real deal. Bob obviously takes his ingredients seriously treats his beans with respect. The smell of the raw cocoa in his factory was amazing, and it even seemed almost heavy with aroma. There were bags of delicious beans stacked everywhere, just waiting to become nibs.
Next is where "the magic happens" Bob says with a gleam of childlike delight as he let's the beans sift through his fingers. It's definitely registered that this man is enjoying his work. It's almost erotic.
He shows me his heated auger that is squeezing the butter out of the beans, the scent intensifies. I can taste it subtly in the air, it's chocolate time. Although there are a few more steps before it becomes a chocolate bar, this is the point that SRSLY Chocolate send us the ingredient to be made into balms, lipsticks, and butters.
It's un-bleached, un-deodorized, and as close to raw as it can possibly be. Perfect for your skin, and full of delicious nutrients to help replenish even the most hearty dermis.
5 BENEFITS OF RAW ORGANIC CACAO
1. 40 TIMES THE ANTIOXIDANTS OF BLUEBERRIES
Raw Organic Cacao has over 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Yes 40 times! It has an amazing ORAC score of 98,000 per 100g, vs blueberries at a mere 2,400. ORAC scores measure the ability of antioxidants to absorb free radicals (that come from pollution and toxins in our environment), which cause cell and tissue damage and can lead to diseases such as cancer.
2. HIGHEST PLANT-BASED SOURCE OF IRON
On a plant-based/vegan diet and looking for iron? The search is over! Cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron known to man, at a whopping 7.3mg per 100g. This compares to beef and lamb at 2.5mg, and spinach at 3.6mg. Note the iron in cacao is non-heme (as is all plant-based iron), so to get the maximum benefits you'll want to combine it with some vitamin C. Think oranges, kiwifruit, superfoods like gubinge or camu camu (which have 40x more vitamin C than oranges), or try out my Choc Orange Smoothie recipe for a Jaffa-tasting throwback.
3. FULL OF MAGNESIUM FOR A HEALTHY HEART & BRAIN
Raw Organic Cacao is also one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in the Western world. Magnesium is important for a healthy heart, and helps turn glucose into energy enabling your brain to work with laser-sharp clarity and focus. The reason why you might turn to a bar of chocolate during an all-nighter at your desk!
4. MORE CALCIUM THAN COW'S MILK
Raw Organic Cacao has more calcium than cow's milk would you believe, at 160mg per 100g vs only 125mg per 100ml of milk. Time to switch out the trim latte for a couple of squares of dairy free raw chocolate.
5. A NATURAL MOOD ELEVATOR AND ANTI-DEPRESSANT
Cacao is a great source of four scientifically proven bliss chemicals - serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine. These neurotransmitters are associated with cosy feelings of wellbeing, happiness, and can even alleviate depression. A natural, healthy, delicious (and legal) way to get your happy buzz on.
4 WAYS TO USE RAW ORGANIC CACAO
1. BREW UP A HOT (OR COLD) CHOCOLATE MILK
Add 1 Tbsp of raw cacao powder to a mug, pour in 1c of warmed plant-based milk, and add 1-2 tsp of natural organic unprocessed sweetener such as yacon syrup, agave syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, or maple syrup. Or for a super easy version, try myWarming Hot Cacao Chocolate recipe.
For a cold choccie milk, add 1 Tbsp of hot water to the raw cacao powder and sweetener first to dissolve, then add 1c of cold milk and a couple of ice cubes (or try this Chocolate Milk recipe).
Note: some studies have shown that dairy products block the absorption of antioxidants and calcium in cacao, so save the cow's milk for the calfs.
2. WHIZZ INTO A SMOOTHIE
Add 1-2 Tbsp of raw cacao powder or nibs to your regular smoothie. Or try out our Rich Chocolate Smoothie, or Choc Orange Jaffa Smoothie for an added vitamin C boost. When you're done, sprinkle raw cacao nibs on top for crunch factor and to make it look all pretty.
3. RIP OPEN A BAR
No cooking here - just grab a bar of raw organic chocolate, break into squares, and serve with some organic nuts, dried fruit, herbal tea, and a whole lot of love.
4. "BAKE" A RAW BROWNIE
Try your hands on our Raw Brownie, which includes cacao powder and cacao nibs, and will be sure to quench any chocolate cravings in a second (100% guilt free). It's also gluten free, wheat free, sugar free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan and paleo, so everyone's invited to the party.