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No Longer just a Guilty Pleasure…

This brand delivers some of the most incredible cacao and chocolate you can possibly imagine and is set up by a chap called Willie Harcourt-Cooze (we kid you not — that is his real name!) He is utterly obsessed with the stuff and appreciates cacao in the way some people learn about wine, coffee and cheese. Much of this brand’s range is vegan approved as well – so it is suitable for anyone who is following that way of eating and/or cannot tolerate dairy products.

What does this cacao mean for a chocoholic? It means that you get the most sublime, chocolate fix possible and,  because of its purity, a little goes a very long way. It is so intense that it is virtually impossible to binge on it, which does make it a healthier choice. You won’t have those awful feelings of “why oh why oh why oh why oh why oh why did I just eat 2 bars of milk chocolate back to back without even stopping to breathe?!”

100% cacao is totally unsweetened and is available in different single origin varieties –all of which deliver an intense, chocolatey hit packed with goodness. Initially 100% might be too intense for some people, and the adjustment to no sugar could take some getting used to — but you can start with a good 80% variety and then begin to work your way up as your tastebuds begin to acclimatise to the intensity of this exceptional product.

Unlike regular chocolate bars, high percentage cacao can quite proudly wear its underwear on top of its trousers… not because it is some sort of weird exhibitionist but because it really is quite the culinary Superhero. You’ll find that Cacao is increasingly being referred to as a “superfood” because of its composition of antioxidants, minerals and “feel good” compounds which can leave you pleasantly energised and with a nice sense of well-being.

Cacao contains many things — Antioxidants which keep us looking young and beautiful, Phenylethylamine which elevates the mood gently and Theobromine which is a mild stimulant and helps with the “feel good” factor and will increase your energy levels (some research also suggests it can also help the body push out toxins more efficiently too.) Cacao can also increase our serotonin levels which can help with anyone who is feeling a little down and/or low in energy. On top of all that, it also provides magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, manganese and vitamins A, B1/2/3, C and E.

Cacao is a hugely versatile ingredient and can be used for baking, chocolate truffles, adding to smoothies and also, because it is unsweetened, can be added into casseroles, sauces and gravies to provide a really deep, background flavour which is absolutely delicious. One of the quickest ways to enjoy this though is just to make an incredible hot chocolate — grate it into hot water (you don’t need milk but could use it if you wanted to), stir it over heat, flavour it with anything you like (chilli, cardamon, orange zest) — or have it plain — and then, if you want to, add honey/stevia/unrefined sugar. Then sit somewhere quiet, turn your phone to silent, come offline and drink every last drop of it!

Priya drinks hers unsweetened and it really is like drinking a great espresso — the flavour is just as powerful but it is also mellow and rounded and it definitely leaves you with a nice buzz of energy. Just a word of caution, cacao does contain caffeine — and so too much of it is going to take you from feeling nicely energised to bouncing off the walls like a squash ball. So be sensible.

We’re not telling you to suddenly start eating huge quantities of this stuff — we’re telling you that you can eat a better quality of product, enjoy it in moderation, reap some super health benefits from it and not have to feel quite so guilty about enjoying it. They key is moderation and a healthy approach to this. We’re just showing you that a healthier life does not mean a life without the chocolatey loveliness of cacao. Thank God.

Check out the range at www.willieschocolateshop.com

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