HOT CHOCOLATE! A YUMMY & HEALTHY EASTER TREAT!

There is nothing more satisfying then the comfort and deliciousness of drinking a hot chocolate. This decadent drink has a place in most of our hearts as a warming winter treat. A great hot chocolate can range from the velvety potions so sinfully thick that a spoon could stand in the cup, to the creamy and smooth easy drinking chocolate. Hot chocolate powders range from the nutrient packed and healthy, to the not-so-healthy options. This blog has been written to help you identify a healthy hot chocolate and  inspire you create a delicious and indulgent homemade drinking chocolate at home..

Are all Hot Chocolates the Same?
Cacao, cocoa, and drinking chocolate … whilst all of these hot chocolate powders might taste great, there is a big difference between the ingredients and nutrition of a healthy and not-so-healthy hot chocolate variation. Exploring the different ingredients of a hot chocolate blend is the key to creating a healthy and delicious drink at home.

Cacao Vs Cocoa
The star ingredient of a hot chocolate is of course the chocolate and that originates as powder from the cacao bean. Cocoa powder, is also known as a cacao powder and is extracted from the cacao bean. The beans are processed to separate the cacao butter from the cacao bean and once the fat has been removed the beans are milled into a fine powder.  The fundamental difference between cacao and cocoa is the way they are processed:

  • Cacao powder is often referred to as the ‘raw’ chocolate, as it is processed in low temperatures and never heated above 45C. This means that all the natural antioxidants, enzymes and nutrients remain intact. Cacao is considered the healthier option.
  • Cocoa powder is very similar to cacao but has been processed at higher temperatures. Cocoa powders still has some great health benefits but research has shown that once a cocoa has been heated above 70 C, the levels of antioxidant levels are greatly diminished.’

I would recommend using a low heat processed and high quality cacao powder as the base of your hot chocolate. Lower grade powders can be processed in a way that leaves little to no nutritional value left. It is also important to consider the source of your cacao. I always opt for a fair trade and organic powder to get the most health benefits.

Benefits of Cacao Powder:

Cacao is often painted as a hero superfood and rightfully so! This powder is packed with nutrients and vitamins that have great health therapeutics. Some of the health benefits of cacao are as follows.

  • Cacao is a rich source of magnesium – a mineral essential for muscle relaxation, nervous system and cardiovascular health.
  • Cacao is one of the highest containing antioxidant foods in the world. The antioxidant level of cacao can vary depending on the source and processing of the powder.
  • Cacao is a fantastic mood booster. It contains feel good phytochemicals such as theobromine and phenethylamine, that act as mood boosters and anti-depressants.

Hot Chocolate Ingredients: It’s not just about the Cacao
Once you have established the quality of the cacao powder, it is important to turn your attention towards the rest of the ingredients that make up your hot chocolate blend. You can have the finest cacao powder but if it is blended with sugar, artificial additives, preservative and emulsifiers the nutritional value of the drink will be diminished. I encourage you to become a food detective and investigate each ingredient on the label.  Avoid hot chocolate powders with very long ingredient lists or with the artificial or processed ingredients mentioned above.

The Ultimate Healthy Hot Chocolate Recipe
With all this discussion about cacao it is only fair to provide you with a glorious recipe to creating an indulgent but healthy hot chocolate at home. We are using our ORGANIC ARTISAN CACAO POWDER, A rich organic blend of cacao, coconut sugar, vanilla bean powder and Celtic sea salt. A delicious healthy handmade indulgence. Nourishing the soul one sip at a time.

What’s Inside Our Organic Artisan Cacao?

* Raw Cacao is the hero ingredient, an antioxidant rich superfood high in nutrients and magnesium. Decadent but healthy.

* Next is Coconut Sugar, one of the best choices for a little sweetness. Mineral rich and low gi, a great alternative to its more refined sweet counterparts.

* Vanilla Bean is an antioxidant, smooth and luscious. It adds a naturally sweet, heavenly smooth flavour. Therapeutically and historically employed as an aphrodisiac.

* Lastly, we’ve added a little Celtic sea salt, not only is it high in trace minerals, it makes the other ingredients sing.

Organic Ingredients:

* 1 teaspoon Ovvio Organic Artisan Cacao Powder

* 250ml warm of frothed milk or milk

* 1 tablespoon hot water

Method:

  1. Add cacao powder to a cup.
  2. Add a little hot water and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add the milk and stir.
  4. Dust with Artisan Cacao and serve.

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20843086
  2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/331715-cocoa-powder-health-benefits/
  3. http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/files_mf/othman2010.pdf