One of my goals for this year is to try new things. I have to remind myself that I won't necessarily fall in love with every experience, and that's OK. Learning in itself is fun, and I don't have to commit further to anything unless I really want to.
The raw chocolate class I took last Sunday afternoon is a perfect example. My yoga teacher is also a chef and health counselor, and from time to time she offers workshops on various aspects of wellness. Her chocolate class, held at a nearby inn, seemed like a perfect way to pursue my fledgling interest in cooking and nutrition. She is an advocate of the raw food diet, and uses entirely organic, preferably local ingredients in all her recipes.
At the beginning of class, my teacher explained why she included each ingredient in her recipe, and which varieties of that product were best. This was very useful; I didn't realize that oils readily absorb the chemicals from the plastic bottles they are usually sold in, and will try to buy only glass-bottled oils going forward. I also didn't know that you can buy vanilla in powder form, so as to avoid the alcohol base in the liquid version, and the difficulty of managing the beans in the pod version. After this introduction, she mixed the ingredients together, and this is where things got complicated.
I'm not much of a cook; I experiment with basic recipes, but don't have instincts of any sort when it comes to how much of each ingredient to include. Some people just seem to know the proportions, and, like my teacher, taste as they go rather than use measurements. It would have helped me if she'd given us a basic recipe to start, especially because I've never worked with most of the ingredients in this chocolate: cacao powder, cacao butter, tahini paste, coconut oil...I wrote down the names but knew I'd need to find a recipe on the internet, like this one. (Substitute local raw honey for agave).
Once the ingredients are mixed, all you need to do is to roll small amounts of chocolate into balls and refrigerate them. You can put a dash of sea salt or pepper on the outside to enhance the flavors too.
At the end of class, we tried samples of the chocolate, which was tasty and definitely different from the milk chocolate most of us know and love. The fact that it had such healthy ingredients made it even better! Unfortunately, some of these ingredients are hard to locate, even at natural foods stores. I tried to look up links for the vanilla powder and cacao butter for this post, but without the specific brand names, came up empty.
In my previous post, I shared that while I'm interested in the nutritional aspects of raw food and clean eating diets, the amount of time they would take to prepare doesn't work with my busy life. The class inspired me to make small changes, like glass-for-plastic bottles, but rather than make my own chocolate, I'll continue to enjoy the pre-made Endangered Species Chocolate available in the organic foods aisle of my regular grocery store.
What new things have you tried lately, and how are they working out?