The first encounter I had with raw chocolate came in a tribal village in Northern Thailand. It was a chocolate tantric meditation session with 30 others: we each took a delicious ball of handmade raw chocolate and, turning to the person next to us, rubbed the chocolate on their lips like lipstick whilst feeling your heartbeat increase with the ensuing endorphin kick.
Since then I’ve experimented with raw chocolate at home and love the gooey texture which comes from the dates, the nutty crunch and the hints of whichever spices you decide to add.
Here’s a very rough guide to making your own raw chocolate balls (lipstick actions not necessary):
Makes 12 small but perfectly formed balls of chocolatey goodness. Choose organic ingredients where possible
Large handful apricots
2 large handfuls dates
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
2 tbsp toasted oats
Small piece ginger
Zest of one lemon and half an orange
2 level tbsp good-quality cocoa powder
2 tsp Extra Virgin coconut oil (cold-pressed) (ginger oil/any nut oil/butter would work as a substitute)
Whizz the nuts and seeds together in a blender until they’re the size of breadcrumbs ¦ Tip into a mixing bowl ¦ Blend the fruit and ginger and add to the bowl ¦ Grate the zest of the lemon and orange into the mixture and mix thoroughly with a spoon ¦ Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the mixture until it’s all covered ¦ Drizzle the oil into the bowl, stirring constantly until the mixture comes together ¦ If it’s too sticky, add more cocoa powder. If it’s too dry, add a few drops of juice from the orange or lemon¦ Take two teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls ¦ Dust with cocoa powder and leave in the fridge to firm for at least two hours.
Doris Fin, raw food chef extraordinaire and originator of the chocolate meditation, has these tips: “if you’re a fan of Christmas flavour I recommend Nutmeg, ground ginger, orange peel, cinnamon, star anise, clove and cinnamon all ground up and some fresh cardamom seed thrown in there for Indian twist. And if you like green tea you can get matcha green tea powder to mix in. Also the almond pulp left over from almond milk (almonds soaked over night, rinse drained 1:2 water then through a sieve/cloth/nut milk bag. Yummy!”