Thursday, October 27, 2022

Herbal Cacao - Chaga and Cacao Medicinal Drinking Chocolate - Oct. 26, 2022

Chocolate of the Day

Herbal Cacao 
Chaga and Cacao Medicinal Drinking Chocolate
Good +
Weight : .35 oz. (10 g.) / 3.5 oz. (100 g.) in total package
Calories: 60 calories in 1 wedge (1/10 package)
Cost: $19.00 for 1 package
Purchased from: Bar and Cocoa, online order

Welcome to Day #4 of Chocolate and Mushrooms Theme Week.

Today's Chaga and Cacao Medicinal Drinking Chocolate was from Herbal Cacao (Groningen, NL).

Aroma notes for this chocolate blend included: forest (wood), very faint green (stalks, wood), subtle, fleeting diffuse dark red berry, cacao, and vegetable (red bell pepper/ripe red tomato, mushroom red sauce). (Later, after the chocolate sat on a plate in the open air for a few hours, very light spice (cinnamon) and vanilla became more detectable.)

Flavor notes for the chaga,* cacao and spice blend included fibrous plant/wood, dried chilis, fruit (apple), fleeting bitter cacao notes--suffused with a hot, spicy kick (cayenne pepper).

Once melted and whisked, the texture was smoother than expected, almost velvety. (I melted this slowly in a small quantity of warm water.)

The un-sweet chocolate (think a 100% cacao bar or drinking chocolate with flavor inclusions) had an untamed complexity about it that transported me to a Central American jungle in Southern Belize. This was a two forest fiesta. (The cacao was from Belize (warm forest); the chaga* was harvested in Siberia (cold forest.) Ceylon cinnamon, cayenne pepper and vanilla added authentic flavor depth and interest.

Overall, this unsweetened blend grew on me over time. However, sweetening it a bit--with a bite of another, smoother, stevia-sweetened dark chocolate--made the woody and wild notes recede a little, and made the drinking chocolate more approachable. I could see this as a flavorful addition to other items. (While the directions advise against boiling it as some of the health benefits may diminish, perhaps it could be chopped and melted on warm breads or low-sugar brownies.)

Ingredients: Cacao beans, Inonotuus Obliguus (chaga mushroom powder), ceylon cinnamon, cayenne pepper, vanilla

Allergen-related information: (None listed on packaging.)

*Chaga mushrooms are described as having an earthy, slightly bitter flavor; and as containing a form of natural vanilla-adjacent flavor. Some have described them as having a coffee-like flavor.

As with other mushroom flavor inclusions this week, this fungus is non-psychoactive. (Note: chaga mushrooms contain antioxidants and have health benefits, but are also high in oxalates, which are not great for those with kidney issues/prone to kidney stones.)

Chaga is native to colder climates in the Northern Hemisphere (Canada, Alaska, Russia, Northern Europe). It appears as a dark protrusion on (birch and other) trees.

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