Chocolate and sunshine are for sure two of my favourite things and they first came together for me last year when I had the opportunity to visit Fond Doux Estate in St. Lucia (and we'll be going back if you join me on my winter retreat!) Before this visit, I don't think it actually ever occurred to me to wonder about chocolate and where it came from.
I certainly didn't think it grew in pods such as this one. But it does. And so began my interest in chocolate, mainly in raw cacao and the many wonderful things that can be done with it (such as tossing some in my Morning smoothies, making a Raw Chocolate Pudding and my Superhero Balls).
My go to source for fair-trade raw cacao in Toronto is, of course, ChocoSol. If you have been to any farmer's markets around Toronto (Sauraren on Monday's, Riverdale on Tuesdays, Dufferin Grove on Thursday's) you have seen the guys from ChocoSol whipping up the best chocolate drink you've ever had- blended together with their peddle powered blender.
When I heard that they were having a little street fair last weekend, you know I turned up.
It was a sweet afternoon and everyone was there- Slow Food Toronto, Not Far From The Tree, Retire Yoru Ride and even a guy singing some hippie songs about sustainability and growing your own food. I also sampled some of ChocoSol's freshly mixed up chocolate drink (dairy-free of course). So delicious.
ChocoSol points out that their chocolate products are not candy. They are foods that contain the many wonderful benefits of cacao including flavanoids and antioxidants, theobromine- a mild stimulant, only minute traces of caffeine and many essential minerals including magnesium (keeps us calm), calcium (keeps our muscles in good form), and iron (for healthy blood). Mustn't forget to mention the vitamins too- Vitamin A (fat soluble vitamin that helps keep our vision sightly), B1, B2, B3, and B5 (all necessary for energy production and keeping our nerves in check and PMS at bay), vitamin C (boosts immune function and reduces allergic sensitivities), and vitamin E (tissue healing and repair as well as nervous system balance).
Isn't that a tasty bit of chocolate health food? I happily replenished my stores of raw cacao beans and picked up a little sampling of their freshest chocolate creation: raw cacao and vanilla bean. I put it all in my basket and enjoyed the rest of my ChocoSolicious day.
Chocolate pod image courtesy of: http://www.rausch-schokolade.de