- On account of it being Organic September, I decided to try a bar of raw chocolate. I chose a bar of Enjoy‘s and opted for their ‘mild dark’ bar. First impressions are that it tastes very similar to regular rich, dark chocolate, but in this instance, (at least it’s claimed) its a ‘superfood’ and therefore, supposedly a lot better for us than regular chocolate. If like me, you select dark chocolate anyway, which is high in antioxidants, raw chocolate in theory, takes it to the next level, which sounds (and tastes) pretty darn amazing so far!
Unlike ‘cooked’ chocolate, the Peruvian criollo cacao used in Enjoy’s raw chocolate does now forgo its nutrients during the cooking process, and thus retains them, which is the basis of the claim that raw chocolate is akin to a superfood. This bar also boast ‘no refined sugar’, instead the cacao has been sweetened with coconut blossom, which according to Enjoy has a GI of 35, which is said to be better for us than other sugars. When chocolate attempts to be sold as a healthy option, it makes most consumers dubious of the claim, and they, like me, will probably conduct their own investigation to uncover why raw chocolate is so hip and happening right now!
The taste factor
Raw chocolate might claim superfood status, but for most consumers, it will still need to taste good enough to eat, that we turn to it for pleasure first, and as a superfood second; because, lets face it, its still chocolate! My previous experiences of superfoods/fads (macca powder comes to mind) prepared me for the possibility that raw chocolate might be a bit overwhelming on the old taste buds; however, I was pleasantly surprised.
I found that when eating this particular bar, was that it was so rich I needed only a few squares, due to its intensity (I did wonder at this point how intense their dark bars might be). On that basis, I guess it hits the spot and is certainly a different kind of satisfying, to chocolate with little cocoa or cacao solids and loaded with refined sugar. The cacao in raw chocolate also gives you a jolt of energy (similar to the after effects of a good coffee) which you might appreciate if you have lots of stuff to get on with, or as like me after a wakeful night while the babe teethes.
So, what is raw chocolate is and how is it made?
Enjoy’s ‘Mild dark raw chocolate bar contains just three ingredients:
- Raw cacao butter
- Coconut blossom sugar
- Raw cacao powder
And is Vegan and soil association approved organic. According to Enjoy:
“The chocolate is “raw” because the cacao is never processed above 42 degrees Celsius allowing the nutrients to remain intact.”
Which means that the nutrient rich beans retain : iron, zinc, magnesium, copper and vitamin C, that ‘cooked’ chocolate doesn’t. Cacao has already been identified as a superfood and is commonly found in energy boosting morning smoothies and chocolate cakes found in health food shops. Combined with the coconut blossom in place of refined sugars, Enjoy have made a compelling case that their bars are a healthier alternative to regular chocolate, and possibly a number of other snacks that contain refined sugars too.
What is coconut blossom sugar?
According to livestrong, coconut sugar is made from the sap of the coconut palm, not the fruit itself. Coconut blossom sugar contains the same number of calories and carbohydrates, but it is thought to have a slightly less dramatic impact on our body’s sugar levels than white sugar. It also contains some trace nutrients, but its not considered a superfood. Coconut sugar contains small amounts of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron and copper. And small amounts phytonutrients, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanidin, and antioxidants, as well as mood-boosting vitamin B. The glycaemic index of coconut sugar is notably low, at 35, while regular sugar ranks between 65-70. This index measures the effect of carbohydrates on your sugar levels. The higher the GI, the higher the sugar rush, so its to aim for foods low in GI if you want to avid the adverse effects of sugar and carbohydrates. Therefore, while it is lower than regular sugar, coconut blossom sugar is still a processed sugar that does not contain any noteworthy health benefits other than carrying a lower GI than white sugar.
Have you tried raw chocolate, and if so do you have a favourite? Let me know!