Tag Archive: Chocolate


Engage your senses – The Hindu. – Excerpt 

Most of us are so caught up with the need for speed that we find ourselves mindlessly grabbing some food and quickly swallowing it to satiate our hunger pangs. Of course, the very act of eating remains just an act. It is not a complete experience. Simply throwing food into your stomach is not enlightened eating. It is mindless gobbling.

Also, when we dump food into our stomach, we do not give our bodies and senses time to register the eating process. Our brains need at least 20 minutes to register the ‘enough’ feeling. As a result, when we eat mindlessly and quickly, we tend to be overweight. Eating right is an art all of us are born with. Just as we are born with food preferences.

…………….Eating, just like everything else you do, can be meditative too. As we eat, we engage all our senses. There is no such thing as multi-tasking, which is simply a rapid succession of activity. When we eat, we engage the senses of smell, touch, sight, sound and taste. You see a luscious red apple. Your fingers touch its smooth skin before you hear the crunch of your bite. You can smell the juice as it trickles into your mouth. You chew slowly, relishing the sweet taste in every bite. The experience is complete.

Ayurvedic eating is all about engaging your senses with the food. It means eating with enlightenment. Sounds simple? It really is. In the olden days, people in India did not know about dining tables, forks and spoons. To them, eating was a simple ceremony. It meant sitting on the floor, with legs crossed. Food, cooked with love, was served fresh and hot. Every bite was always chewed slowly, relished and enjoyed. All the senses were engaged. Children were chided if they spoke while eating. It was the tradition to eat in reverent silence. Each meal was a means of meditation. The entire process of preparation and consumption was considered to be next to actually praying. This is not difficult to do now.

First, engage the sense of sight. What does the food look like? What colour is it?

Next engage the sense of smell. How does it smell? Delicious? Pungent? Bitter? Fresh?

Touch it with your fingers. Experience its texture. How does it feel? Rough? Slippery? Smooth? Grainy?

Does your mind desire this food? Is it really what you want to eat? Will you, at some level be satisfied by consuming it?

Chew slowly. Listen as you bite into the food. How does it sound? Crunchy? Soft and slurpy?

Experience the saliva mixing into the food before you swallow. Ayurveda says, “Drink your food and eat your water.” Roughly translated, this means chew the food well and don’t guzzle water down. Once you get used to eating as meditation, your body is programmed to do so at every meal.

The Art of Tasting Chocolate Mindfully 

Excerpt – LEO BABAUTA

We’re often asked if there’s a right way or a wrong way to taste chocolate. I don’t like to overthink it — if tastes good to you, then it’s right. However, there are a few tips on how to taste chocolate mindfully.

 

The first step is to slow down. Before you rip apart the packaging and dig in, take a moment to read about the bar……………….

…………..After that, gently unwrap the bar and take a look at it. Flip it over, look at the sides. Does it have a nice shine? What about its color? Is the back smooth or rumpled? Do you see any wavy patterns which might indicate that the bar didn’t release properly from the mold?

 

Next, break off a small piece and note the snap. Does it crumble or pop? Is the break clean or ragged? The snap indicates the temper — the alignment of the crystal structure in the cocoa butter –and a poor snap can often mean a mistake or improper storage, or even a different style choice.

 

Now place the small piece in your mouth. Take a tiny bite to break it into a few pieces. Let it start to gently melt on your tongue. Now move the chocolate around your mouth and coat your tongue, but avoid chewing. If you eat it quickly, you’ll miss the tasting experience that makes each bar origin unique.

 

Within a second or two, the chocolate will melt more and you will begin to taste flavor notes beyond just the bitter, cocoa rush you tasted at the first moment it hit your tongue. Look for various notes and see if you can identify them. Do they come in all at once, or do they evolve as the chocolate melts? Where do you taste the chocolate — near the front or back of your mouth? Are the notes like a single, clean instrument or more like a symphony? Or worse, like a cacophony of flavors that don’t mesh?

 

Once you’ve listened for these flavors, swallow and wait a few seconds. Notice what tastes linger — how does it finish? Is it pleasant or harsh? Does it leave you wanting more or wishing you had some water to wash away the aftertaste?

 

And that’s it — it’s best not to overthink it, just taste slowly and mindfully. Chocolate makes people happy and if it’s too cerebral, you may be missing the experience. And once you’ve tried some chocolate you like, try other origins, chocolate makers, and percentages. Many makers, especially the new, small American ones, have their own distinct styles, techniques and point of view. And if you don’t find interesting flavor notes, the first time, don’t fret and try a different maker. Most industrial chocolate has been made to have one plain, monotone cocoa note, so make sure you try a bunch of different companies and different types.

 

 

 eclecticpandas:karenhurley:om nom nommmm yes

 

Writing on chocolate

Boost your spirit with cocoa nibs

Writing on chocolate | The HinduExcerpt:

Although I have been seeing nibs on menu cards for a while, I only took note of them when I tripped upon a bag at an intriguing coffee shop in Auroville. We were in the kitchen with Marc Tourmo, a Spaniard who relocated to India to start one of the country’s first new wave coffee shops in 1995. Determined to be at the helm of what he’s convinced will be a huge food trend, Marc’s been studying Indian cocoa nibs and their uses. He opens a bag and poured the fragrant, jagged little bits into my palm. “Eat this, and you’ll be in heaven,” he chuckles.

What are these mysterious nibs anyway? Well, they’re basically raw chocolate. The cacao bean goes through many stages of peeling, roasting and prepping before it’s ready to be turned into a bar of chocolate. Cocoa nibs are the final stage, before the addition of sugar, milk and flavourings. With a delicate crunchy texture, and a rich, earthy and slightly bitter taste, this the purest hit of chocolate you’ll find. Admittedly, it does take some getting used to. Mostly because our taste buds are trained to expect sweetness from cocoa.

To learn how to enjoy its intense flavour, you can start by sprinkling it over cookies, cakes and granola, so you get used to the flavour, while enjoying the familiar aroma. Then, experiment with incorporating it into regular recipes. Celebrity chef and food writer David Lebowitz makes his Banana Bread with three tablespoons of cocoa nibs, for added texture. His blog also lists recipes for ‘Shallot, Cocoa Nib, Beer and Prune Jam.’ Proving that nibs don’t necessarily have to go into desserts, he also uses them in his pizza, adding the nibs for what he calls a “nice savoury crunch, as well as a bit of chocolate flavour.”

An animated discussion on Chow Hound (the community for the food obsessed) is rife with suggestions on ways to use them — ranging from sprinkling them over brownies for a ‘grown up’ dessert to adding them to cereal, smoothies and ice cream. For people who just want the flavour, you can steep the nibs in panacotta, ice cream or custard and then strain out the pieces. Alternatively, use it as a rub when creating a marinade for meat.

Why bother? Well, if you’re a chocolate addict (and let’s face it, most of us are), this is a great way to get all the benefits of cocoa without the calories of sugar. According to FitDay, an online diet journal, one ounce of cocoa nibs has 130 calories, 13 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbohydrates and three grams of protein. They state that it’s “one of the best dietary sources of magnesium as well as a good source of calcium, iron, copper, zinc and potassium.” They add that these nibs also have higher antioxidant levels than blueberries, red wine and green tea.

Marc loves them for their abilities to boost your energy and spirits. (Cocoa is well-known for its ability to release endorphins.) He’s found an easy way to get his fix. “I roast the raw cocoa like peanuts in a pan, then peel the skin and take out the crunchy bean. I take a full date, and put the bean in it. It’s sweet, delicious and healthy. Since the market is still young, Marc’s only selling beans right now, so customers have to do the roasting and peeling themselves. “When you crush cocoa, it begins to oxidise very fast. So it’s safer to sell the bean whole. But it’s quick and easy to roast and peel,” he says, adding with a grin, “just like peanuts.”

(Marc’s cocoa beans cost about Rs. 360 for 250 grams and are available at auroville.com)