Cacao -VS- Caffeine. The New Lockdown ‘Hug in a Mug’?
We will all remember 2020 as the year that we got a taste for what it’s like to lose some of our freedom. We had to face an unprecedented situation that very few of us had seen in our lifetimes. Covid-19 became a global pandemic and forced us to retreat into isolation. During this time we had to adapt and change our behaviours and habits in order to stay healthy and happy.
One of the great discoveries I made during this time was the creation of daily routines and ceremonies in order to keep a semblance of structure to my day and to help keep me sane. Ceremonial Cacao became a big part of that routine. I have used Cacao as a food and medicine for many years but this crisis urged me to change my relationship with it and it became one of ceremony and reverence.
In the same way as the Chinese use a tea ceremony as a form of meditation, I began to turn my morning cup of Cacao into a sacred ceremonial meditation and this is simply the best start to the day that I could ask for. Ceremonial Cacao is different to regular cacao powder or even 100% dark chocolate. It’s chocolate in its most raw and unprocessed form and that keeps all of the beneficial flavonoids and mood enhancing compounds intact. It doesn’t taste like any other form of chocolate. There’s a richness to the flavour that is quite unique. Not only that but it has a strong stimulating effect on the cardiovascular system and this helps to warm and open the heart.
Where does Cacao come from?
Cacao was considered to be the “food of the Gods” by the indigenous tribes of Central America. The scientific name of the Cacao tree is Theobroma Cacao; coming from the Greek word “Theo” meaning God and “Broma” meaning “drink”. It was treated as precious and was truly treasured. So much so that it was even traded as a commodity. As with all plants, it is believed that the tree has a spirit and according to archaeologists the spirit of the Cacao tree was regarded as one of the most powerful deities in ancient Mayan tradition.
Ceremonial Cacao is pleasing to all of the senses. It feels great to touch, it has a smooth texture and solid weight to it. It looks fantastic; rich and enticing in colour and shape.
How to create a personal Cacao ritual?
For me, the morning part of the day is about meditation. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning I go straight into a 30 minute meditation while I’m still laying in bed. After that I shower and keep that meditative state going while I’m showering. Then I begin my Cacao ceremony.
Ceremonial Cacao is pleasing to all of the senses. It feels great to touch, it has a smooth texture and solid weight to it. It looks fantastic; rich and enticing in colour and shape. It smells heavenly, deep chocolate aromas with a hint of fruitiness and vanilla overtones. And then there’s the taste! Simply delicious in every way. Ceremonial Cacao is naturally a little bitter, it’s not like eating store bought chocolate that has milk and sugar added to it. It’s certainly an acquired taste but like a fine wine, once you become accustomed to it, it will send you to heaven and back with one mouth-watering piece.
As I open the bag the aroma hits me and I just allow that smell to just engulf me. I close my eyes and take it all in. I keep my focus on the present moment and just relax as I’m taken on a sensorial journey. I take the huge chunk of Cacao out of the bag and place it on a cutting board. I take a sharp knife and begin to cut a piece, taking time to be completely present with the current action I’m taking. Feeling how the knife feels in my hand, feeling the sensation as I cut into the solid block, feeling the slight resistance as the knife slowly makes its way through. I then put a small pot on the stove and set it to a low heat. I place the chunk of Cacao in the pan and watch as it slowly starts to melt. I use the knife to move it around the pot allowing all of it to be exposed to the heat. As it begins to melt I allow myself a little treat and scoop up a small amount of the melted chocolate with a spoon and have a taste. I close my eyes and savour it.
Once the cacao has melted I take some almond milk and add a small amount to the pot. I begin to mix it thoroughly until all of the Cacao is dissolved into the milk.
I take a small glass and pour the mixture into it. I like my cacao drink to be thick so I only use a small amount of milk. I like to think of it as a Cacao Espresso. This is not a full ceremonial dose so not much milk is needed. I take a sip and then take my glass ove