by Genna AlTai
My name is Genna AlTai and I f*cking love cacao. Love it hard. Morning, noon and night.
This bittersweet romance got started in January when I noticed that adding it to my morning smoothies not only gave me that much needed jolt in the morning, but replaced my “miserable train to work” face with “just a little jaded train to work” face.
When consumed in its raw form, cacao packs a serious nutritional punch, filled with vitamins and minerals like magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium and so much more. Not only that, but cacao is a natural mood elevator and anti-depressant. Perfect for those moody Monday mornings.
Add a Little Pow Pow With Cacao
Chocolate, cocoa, cacao; same good stuff, right? Wrong. So wrong.
Cacao beans are roasted and ground to produce cocoa and, after further processing, are the basis of chocolate. When the beans are dried at a low temperature, they are called raw cacao beans.
Centuries ago in Central and South American cultures, cacao was a symbol of abundance. It was used in religious rituals dedicated to Quetzalcoatl – the Aztec god responsible for bringing the cacao tree to mankind. The ancient people of South America were so besotted with cacao, they even used it as cash.
Fast forward to 2017 and cacao might not be the official currency of the United Kingdom, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some East London bar ditched your Amex for these magic
Cacao Curious? Three Ways to Dabble
1. Cacao ceremonies
After being a certified level 1 cacao nut for quite some time, my work friends fed the frenzy and bestowed upon me a gift like no other: a ticket to a cacao ceremony.
I’d definitely recommend Rebekah Shaman’s magical mystery cacao ceremonies, where every participant drinks cacao to, “Reconnect with their deep inner guidance.” While you’re there, Rebekah uses guided meditation to help students “journey deep within to discover more about themselves, release negative blockages and find peace and clarity.”
P.S. After your first cacao ceremony, why not try a sacred cacao gong bath?
2. Rabot 1745
If you like to chase your cacao with something a little stronger, then Rabot 1745 is the place for you. Rabot 1745 in Borough Market offers up a menu of cocktails and dishes that contain both cocoa and cacao. There’s even a cacao burger…
3. Cacao, after dark
Not only do you have the option to eat and drink cacao, but now you can snort it!
This snortable cacao product, Coco Loko, contains mostly raw cacao powder, along with common energy drink ingredients such as gingko biloba, taurine and guarana.
Like most things, this all got started when the kids in Berlin starting ‘doing’ legal cacao in clubs. According to this Dazed article, “Chocolate can apparently help to amplify the partygoers’ experience, rather than dim it.” Quickly following suit here in London, club event Morning Gloryville started offering cacao drinks and cacao pills to a.m. ravers.
Honourable mention: dating, powered by cacao
First, there was the bar hook-up. Then, there was Tinder. Now, we have mother cacao to blame for our messy relationships.
Unfortunately, there are no upcoming cacao-fuelled dating nights, but if this blog post gets shared at least a dozen times, I will single-handedly curate one myself.