The Original Chocolatiers (and a recipe for truffles)

I can remember my very first alchemical experience being with food. Specifically the day it dawned on me that growing from seed and harvesting and cooking it had layers of transmutation I never thought of.

From using chemical leavening agents like baking soda to trapping wild yeasts in the air for sour dough, the culinary and patisserie world houses so many altered states of change and transmogrification.  But the most interesting and all encompassed natural plant that shows the power of alchemy in action is Cacao. With 60 different micro and macro minerals, chocolate also has 20 times the antioxidant strength of green tea. Theobroma Cacao regulates peptide reactions to those who imbibe it creating extended enhanced neuro networking in the brain.

The bean is what makes chocolate such a catalyst for transformation on a molecular level. Half its weight is cacao butter. Cacao butter acts as a good delivery system for herbs and medicine by creating a slow release reaction, allowing an uptake of harder to absorb nutrients. Transference of the essence of herbs and roots in the case of chocolate drink is more bioavailable than capsule supplements and therefore the better method. Many recipes that come from this land teach chocolate drink to be filled with many jungle plants used by both Aztecs and Mayans. This history started when Quetzalcoatl came from the stars and offered these people the Cacao Pod.

A Dutch chemist in the 17th century invented the chocolate bar. Tempering chocolate has several types of elongated fat crystals that play your taste buds like a cellist dancing a jig. The particles create layers of flavours that fade and melt at different temperatures releasing the tastes and textures we know as chocolate.

The Spanish detested the bitter drink when they occupied Mexico. Sugar was added changing the course of confectionery. Now giant industry enslaves the Ivory Coast and parts of Ghana in the name of candy bar plantations. People living on these farms have minimal rights and live in some of the worst food insecure regions.

The Maya were the original chocolatiers who perfected this system of herbal delivery.  Xocoatl (meaning bitter drink) was a drink consisting of water and chilies and Cacao ground on a volcanic stone grinder that took many hours. This is tied into the people’s daily ritual. It not only provided physical sustenance, but acted as a monetary system.

Recipe for Chocolate Truffles:

200 g untempered 99% Cacao chocolate

100g Cacao butter

¼ cup sucanat (raw sugar)

1- 2 tsp vanilla

3-tblsp water

Pinch of La Paludier sea salt

2/ ½ tblsp Maca root powder

1 tsp Cayenne powder

2 tblsp Beetroot powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Sugar and beetroot powder for rolling.

  1. Take a pot, fill it halfway with water and use a bowl that just sits in the pot (called the double boiler method). Let water come to a simmering boil and maintain.
  2. In a saucepan, combine vanilla extract, water and sucanat and cook until water is reduced to syrup using mild to moderate heat. Break up the untempered chocolate and the Cacao butter into smaller pieces. Place chocolate in double boiler.
  3. Combine cinnamon, beetroot, Maca and salt and set aside.  Slowly melt chocolate and butter together constantly keeping the temperature regulated by lifting the bowl from the pot and stirring it off the heat. The chocolate should become glossy but not greasy.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the chocolate and the sugar syrup and stir until combined again being aware of temperature. The resulted concoction should be a fudgy type texture.
  5. Roll out desired size balls and coat in sugar and beetroot powder…..Tahhhdaaa!!