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Updated: Jul 23, 2021

Last week I was sent a treasure trove of goodies from Ana Soares from in celebration and support of Maitri Studio Brighton opening THIS week, Friday 27th November. Amongst the box of goodies was some delicious chocolate made by Living Koko.

I was first introduced to the magic of chocolate by the chocolate princess (as she is affectionately known in our family) Nicole Trutanich, in 2011. Prior to this I wasn’t that much of a chocolate fan, and I actually didn’t like chocolate bars as a kid. We met Nicole in Oaxaca, whilst we were traveling around Mexico. Nicole was also travelling through Mexico. She was looking for cacao farmers who work the land in a sustainable manner, through traditional harvesting, fermentation and drying techniques. She was in the early stages of running her chocolate business, Bar Au’Chocolat (based in L.A.). Nicole excitedly educated me and my family on the merits of chocolate. We shared laughs, stories and Dias De Los Muertos celebrations together in Mexico. Most importantly we explored good quality Mexican chocolate together and our friendship was sealed.

True chocolate (not the mass produced, artificial flavoured and coloured confectionary kind) has wonderful healing and ceremonial properties. I have personally found it helpful along my healing journey and I enjoy some good quality dark chocolate daily. I have included my recipe for Chocolate Hazelnut Spread below (inspired by a stay with Nicole in L.A. in 2016).

There is much research now available and continuing on into cacao’s positive healing properties, to highlight just a few -

  • it has been shown to reduce inflammation,

  • is full of antioxidants,

  • it protects the cardiovascular system,

  • it protects the brain (reducing age- and disease-related cognitive decline)

  • and it reduces asthmatic episodes.

I will have some Living Koko cacao husk tea available to drink this Friday, in celebration of the Maitri Studio opening. There will also be other ethical chocolate goodies available to purchase from Living Koko.

I wish you all the best with your practice and chocolate exploration.

x F

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients -

125g good quality roasted hazelnuts

(OR the best option is Italian Piedmont Hazelnut paste)

100g good quality dark chocolate

(I use Bar Au’ Chocolat, Green & Black, or Living Koko 70-80%)

40-50g good quality mild extra virgin olive oil (I use Cobram Estate)

Method -

Place hazelnuts into Thermomix and whiz on speed 9 for 10-15sec, make into a paste, then scrape down the sides and whiz again.

Roughly break dark chocolate up and add to Thermomix (with hazelnut paste). Melt the chocolate by setting Thermomix to 80C, speed 4, 2 minutes.

Once all chocolate is melted whiz ingredients on high again, speed 9 for 10-15 sec.

Scrape down sides of bowl, add olive oil, then mix on speed 4, for 30 sec.

Use a spatula to help pour and scrape every last drop into a clean glass jar and keep in the fridge.

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