There are few things quiet as pleasurable as the rich, luscious, sweetly bitter taste of deep, dark chocolate. It’s synonymous with Valentine’s Day and a known key to a woman’s heart. But how? First, a reminder: the darker, the better. In order to soak up all the delicious goodness, you’ve got to go straight to the source – the cacao bean pod. They grow on Theobroma cacao trees, which actually translates to “cacao, food of the gods.” The Aztecs and Maya placed great value on the beans, exchanging them for…passion. Why? It’s now believed that this is due to two key components – phenethylamine, a stimulant that ignites passion, and tryptophan, which produces serotonin for a natural high.
Some studies claim that chocolate’s aphrodisiac qualities are purely psychological, and that’s fine too. I love that a food can ignite pleasure while still having some pretty intense nutritional perks too:
- It’s a superfood among superfoods, rich in protective antioxidants and good for your heart
- It’s packed with magnesium, which naturally calms the mind
- It’s a rich source of minerals like iron, zinc and copper
It’s no wonder chocolate gets you in the mood. And really, could there be a better food for lovers?
I’m sharing a few of my favorite cacao recipes to add some extra sweet, sweet love to savor on your Valentine’s Day. These will be making an appearance in my own kitchen:
Creamy Cacao Pudding
- 1 rip avocado, peeled and pitted
- 6 Tbsp. coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. cacao powder
- 1 tsp stevia, optional
- Pinch of sea salt
Simply place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until creamy. Top with whatever you’d like – I’m a sucker for coconut cream!
Cacao Goji Hearts
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- Soak cashews and almonds several hours or overnight.
- Combine cashews and almonds in the food processor, then add other ingredients and combine.
- Line a small baking dish with parchment paper and transfer the mix into the dish, flattening to distribute.
- Place in the refrigerator or overnight, then use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create deceptively decadent sweets for you and your sweet. Store in the refrigeration for up to a week (as if they’ll last that long).