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2 Lawson Street
Byron Bay, NSW, 2481
Australia

+61 2 6685 7974

LOVE BYRON BAY ....SPECIALISTS IN INTERNATIONAL AND LOCAL CHOCOLATE.

Love Byron Bay creperie and chocolate boutique is dedicated to sourcing, creating and sharing a quality chocolate experience from Byron Bay, Australia. We'll cultivate your understanding of cocoa, stimulate the palate with a discerning appreciation, fire the imagination with unique chocolate encounters and share the passion for this legendary food of the gods. Exceptional chocolate infused with delicious flavours, irresistible aromatic characteristics and high quality cocoa. 

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Choc Recipes, Choc Facts, Choc Travels and our regular Chocoholic-not-so-Anonymous feature. All this and more in our weekly blog.

Filtering by Tag: cacao

Choc Recipe: Easy Vegan Chocolate

Alison Campbell

EASY VEGAN CHOCOLATE

Easy, 3-ingredient vegan chocolate! Naturally sweetened, customizable, super velvety and rich, and seriously good for you!

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PREP TIME: 20 minutes

COOK TIME: 3 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely chopped cocoa butter* (packed)
  • 3-5 Tbsp maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or cacao powder*
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • pinch sea salt (optional // plus more to taste)
  • cacao nibs (optional // for topping)

 

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Instructions

  1. Arrange 14 (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size)mini cupcake liners on a small baking sheet. Set aside.

  2. Add 2 inches of water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Then set a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl on top, making sure it's not touching the water (this creates a "double boiler").

  3. To the mixing bowl, add finely chopped cocoa butter and let melt - 2-3 minutes.

  4. Once melted, add the maple syrup or agave nectar and use a whisk or wooden spoon to mix until fluid and thoroughly combined. Remove bowl and set on a flat surface. Also, turn off stove-top heat and set saucepan aside.

  5. Add cacao or cocoa powder, vanilla (optional), and sea salt (optional), and whisk to combine until there are no clumps.

  6. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. I added about 3 Tablespoons agave total and a pinch more salt (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size), but it’s completely up to how sweet you prefer your chocolate.

  7. Carefully pour chocolate into 12-14 mini cupcake liners* (or 7 large cupcake liners // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and top with more sea salt or cacao nibs (optional).

  8. Transfer chocolate to the freezer or refrigerator to set - about 10 minutes.

  9. Enjoy straight from the freezer, refrigerator, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer up to 1 month.

Source: minimalistbaker.com

Choc Boss: Trudy Cockroft, Chow Cacao

Alison Campbell

Jam packed with antioxidants, magnesium and a heap of goodness, Chow Cacao is a dark delicious and nutritious chocolate handmade in Byron Bay. The Chow Cacao magic started with two tropical ingredients - carefully sourced, organic and Fair-Trade raw cacao from Peru and coconut sugar from Indonesia. We talked to co-founder Trudy Cockroft.

What was your favourite chocolate treat as a child? 
The Whittakers 25g Dark Sante Bars… The really skinny chocolate bars! My mum always put one in my lunchbox as a treat.

How did you end up becoming a chocolatier?
I’ve always had a passion for food, and in the last 5 years have been obsessed with creating my own recipes and creations. I started making chocolate about 3 years ago, and fell in love with the process and creating my own version of chocolate with a healthy twist. I was fortunate to get a part time job at the Love Byron Bay Crêperie and Chocolate boutique when I moved to Byron Bay, and my chocolate journey continued there!

White, milk or dark?
Definitely dark! I love the high cacao content. The intense flavours and variety of aromas you can experience from different origin bars really interests me. 

Describe your favourite chocolate in three words....
Smooth, Rich & Aromatic

Tell us about your most memorable chocolate experience?
I was at a cacao plantation in Indonesia about 4 years ago and I tasted for the first time the fruity, nutrient dense pulp that surrounds the beans within the cacao pod, amazing! The funny thing is I didn’t know at this point I was going to be a chocolate maker

Where is your favourite place to indulge your choc-habit?
Any place that is quiet & cozy.

Secretly solo or shared indulgence?
A self indulgence is always great.

What's the most unusual chocolate you've ever tasted?
A chocolate covered sun-dried tomato…. very interesting, a puzzle for the palate.

What is the mark of an exceptional chocolatier?
I imagine they have inquisitive minds who like to push the boundaries with the thousands of flavours found in chocolate.
I’m no exceptional chocolatier… I’m still learning everyday, but I love it.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Just do it! I didn’t go to chocolating school. I taught myself and therefore I learn something new everyday. If you have the love for it then thats all you need.

Trudy Cockroft is co-founder of Chow Cacao (seen here with partner Will Heringer).
Chow Cacao's delicous range is available from our Love Byron Bay Boutique,
or from our online store... love-byronbay.com/chocstore.

Choc Facts: Cacao vs Cocoa...what you need to know.

Alison Campbell

On initial impressions it might seem like the only real difference between cacao and cocoa is the spelling. But there’s a little more to it than that…

What is cacao?

Cacao can refer to any of the food products derived from cacao beans – the seeds or nuts of the cacao tree. These include cacao nibs, cacao butter, cacao mass or paste and (probably the most common) cacao powder.

Cacao v cocoa powder

Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa. 
The cacao fruit tree, also known as Theobroma Cacao, produces cacao pods which are cracked open to release cacao beans. From there, cacao beans can be processed a few different ways.
Cacao butter is the fattiest part of the fruit and makes up the outer lining of the inside of a single cacao bean. It is white in color and has a rich, buttery texture that resembles white chocolate in taste and appearance.
Cacao butter is removed from the bean during production and the remaining part of the fruit is used to produce raw cacao powder.
Cacao nibs are simply cacao beans that have been chopped up into edible pieces, much like chocolate chips without the added sugars and fats. Cacao nibs contain all of the fiber, fat, and nutrients that the cacao bean does.
Cacao paste comes from cacao nibs that have been slowly heated to preserve the nutrients and are melted into a bark known that is a less-processed form of dark chocolate bars. Cacao paste can be used to make raw vegan desserts or you can just eat it as an indulgent snack by itself!
Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact. 

Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Surprisingly, it still retains antioxidants in the process and is still excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels. But roasting does change the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.

So what are the health benefits of cacao?

Cacao powder has been linked to a variety of benefits:

  • Lowering insulin resistance.
  • Protecting your nervous system: Cacao is high in resveratrol, a potent antioxidant also found in red wine, known for its ability to cross your blood-brain barrier to help protect your nervous system.
  • Shielding nerve cells from damage.
  • Cutting your risk of stroke.
  • Lowering blood pressure.
  • Reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease: The antioxidants found in cacao help to maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the body. Although NO has heart-benefiting qualities, such as relaxing blood vessels and reducing blood pressure, it also produces toxins. The antioxidants in cacao neutralise these toxins, protecting your heart and preventing disease.
  • It guards against toxins: As a potent antioxidant, cacao can repair the damage caused by free radicals and may reduce the risk of certain cancers. In fact, cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. Antioxidants are responsible for 10 per cent of the weight of raw cacao.
  • It can boost your mood: cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being. And the same brain chemical that is released when we experience deep feelings of love – phenylethylamine – is found in chocolate.
  • It provides minerals: magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese.

If cacao is more beneficial than cocoa because it’s raw, what happens when we cook it?

There is no current research on whether or not heating raw cacao destroys its antioxidant level, making it more akin to its heated and processed cousin cocoa. BUT, starting off with the product in its raw form, has to be more beneficial than starting with an already heated and processed equivalent.

Browse our range of raw cacao products by clicking on this link. Or pop into the Boutique where one of our staff will be able to talk you through our range. 

Sourcesiquitsugar.com and onegreenplanet.org

Choc Recipe: The Best Paleo Chocolate Brownie Cake. Ever.

Alison Campbell

Treat the one you love this Valentine's Day with the best paleo chocolate brownie cake. Ever. :)

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato, grated (2 cups)
2 eggs
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup dates, chopped finely
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 cup of raw cacao powder
2 tbsp coconut flour

Method

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 22cm square cake tin. Place the grated sweet potato, eggs, chopped dates, vanilla, maple syrup and coconut oil into a food processor and quickly pulse to mix and combine.  Turn into a bowl. Add bicarbonate of soda and baking powder as well as the raw cacao powder. Stir in the coconut flour. Pour into the prepared cake tin and cake for 25-30 minutes.  You want the brownie to feel moist in the center, but not wet.  After you take it out of the oven it will firm up in the tin/tray. When you remove the tin from the oven, allow to sit for 10 minutes before you turn the brownie out so that it has the chance to firm up a bit. Serve with fresh cream or coconut cream, fresh strawberries and cherries. 

Serves 12.

Source: thewholedaily.com.au
Photos: Alice Nicholls

Choc Facts: why bother going organic with your chocolate?

Alison Campbell

Who on earth cares about organic chocolate?

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Chocolate is sort of an indulgence after all and not eaten in pounds per week like apples or tomatoes, so do I really need to worry about which chocolate I put into my body?

Cacao pods (a.k.a. cocoa pods) grow on trees found almost exclusively in the “cocoa belt,” a band 20 degrees north and south of the equator.   From these pods come beans that are fermented, dried, roasted, and transformed into that smooth, luscious solid we all know and love.

No one wants harmful pesticides in their food, but the benefits of organic chocolate go well beyond the obvious.  Cacao trees are usually found in lush rain forest environments that are homes to monkeys, sloths, wild birds and other unique creatures.  The use of pesticides endangers the rich biodiversity of these eco-systems.  If that’s not bad enough, some companies will clear cut the jungle first in order to plant cacao trees in neat rows – a procedure that is completely unnecessary to grow cacao.  The canopy trees that would normally form a natural habit for jungle animals is destroyed.

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Not only are rain forest animals at risk from chemical exposure, but also humans – the plantation workers.   

In some cocoa growing regions such as West Africa, where most mass-market cocoa is grown, there are fewer controls on the safety of farm workers.   

When companies seek the lowest cost beans from the global commodity market, they are blind to the social issues connected to their chocolate. 

So how can you be sure you’re getting the organic stuff? 

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It’s easy to pick out an organic chocolate bar from the crowd:  just look for an organic seal on the label.  

In Australia, organic certification is performed by several organisations that are accredited by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) under the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce. The big ones are NASAA Certified Organic  Australian Certified Organic (ACO)  and the Organic Food Chain

With so much excellent chocolate coming from Europe, you may see organic seals from France or Belgium. In the US, the USDA Organic Seal is well known. You can be confident that any of these seals is credible evidence that basic organic practices are followed.

Some have criticized organic labeling as a marketing ploy that only larger companies can afford since the certification and associated inspections cost money.  But  in our mind, organic certification leaves the details to the experts and hands us the answer in an easy to understand format.  That can’t be a bad thing.  

If you’re lucky enough to find an artisan making organic truffles, there’s a good chance that only some of the ingredients, say the chocolate shell, are organic.  Have a conversation with the proprietor and understand where their chocolate comes from.  Is it organic? Is it fair trade?  If you can find such a shop, you’ve got a gem since bulk organic chocolate used for making confections is in short supply.  That's where Love Byron Bay can help. Our website specialises in organic and fair trade chocolate, and all of the brands featured on this blog post are certified organic.

Does organic chocolate taste as good as “conventional” chocolate?

Yes, of course it does!  The flavour of the chocolate has to do with the variety of cacao, the diligence of the farmer and the skill of the chocolate maker.   Cacao farmers using pesticides and other chemicals can get more pods from their trees and improve profit, but this won’t help the flavour of the chocolate one bit.  In fact, organic chocolates are less likely to contain ingredients that have no place in high quality chocolate such as chemical additives or vegetable oils.  These ingredients only distract from the true flavor of the bean.

 

Assuming the bar is not flavoured with fruits or nuts, you should see at most four ingredients in a chocolate bar:  cocoa mass (or cocoa liqueur or cocoa solids), sugar, vanilla and soy lecithin.  That’s it.  So keep it simple – look for a simple ingredients list, look for organic certification and ask us for more information on the organic brands we carry in store. 

 

 

Source kokobuzz.wordpress.com

Choc Recipe : Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Truffles

Alison Campbell

The season of jolly and complete indulgence is upon us. Yey! Here at Love Byron Bay Creperie and Chocolate Boutique we are BIG fans of chocolate truffles. So, let's kick off a month of festivities with these delicious spicy pumpkin chocolate truffles from the lovely Sophie at The Green Life. If you aren't following her blog you should be. Deets below. :) 

Ingredients

For the Filling
1 cup raw cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours and then rinsed well)
10 large Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (if your dates are not soft enough, soak in water for about 10 minutes to soften)
¾ cup pumpkin puree*
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon + more for sprinkling
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ginger powder
A big pinch of sea salt

For the Chocolate
100 g. quality dark chocolate, chopped – I used 80% cacao (about ¾ cup chopped)
1 tbsp coconut oil

Method

Place soaked cashews in your food processor and blend for a few minutes, until you get a creamy consistency. Add chopped dates and blend again. Then add pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and a good pinch of sea salt. Blend until all the ingredients are well combined and you get a creamy paste (it might take a few minutes).

Transfer the mixture into a small bowl and place in the freezer for 30-45 minutes, or until very firm.

When the paste has firmed up, take it out of the freezer. Scoop out mixture using a ½ teaspoon and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you are able to shape balls by rolling the mixture between your hands, do so. If it’s still too sticky and soft at this point, that’s ok. Simply form little mounds and set the tray back in the freezer for another 30 minutes, or until the mounds are firm enough to roll.

Place a double boiler (or a stainless bowl placed over a pot of water) on low heat and bring to a simmer. Add the coconut oil and chopped chocolate and whisk. Let melt slowly until you have a thin chocolate sauce.

Remove the tray from the freezer. Roll each mound between your palms to form little balls. Using two forks, dip each ball in the melted chocolate, until completely covered. Scoop the ball out with the fork and let the extra chocolate drip off.

Gently place each truffle back on the parchment lined sheet. Set the tray back in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, or until the chocolate has firmed up. Dust with extra cinnamon before serving. Store in the refrigerator.

* To make pumpkin puree, slice a pumpkin in half, remove seeds, and place the two halves cut side down in a baking dish or baking sheet. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes at 400F (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your pumpkin), or until the flesh is really soft. Scrape flesh and place in your food processor or blender. Pulse until you get a smooth puree.

Makes 20 truffles.

Sourcethegreenlife.ca
Photos: Sophie Bourdon

Choc Travel : Mexico

Alison Campbell

Historians disagree over where exactly in Mesoamerica cacao trees first appeared, but what they do agree on is that people first began to prepare cacao for human enjoyment in Mexico.

The most popular use of the cacao bean in pre-European Mexico was to produce a chocolate drink. To make the drink, producers fermented, toasted, and ground the cacao bean into a powder which provided the drink's base. Often, people used different spices such as chillies, anise seed, allspice, and vanilla to add flavour. 

Once the secret of chocolate got out, other places started cultivating it. Today more than 80% of cacao is grown in Africa and Indonesia. Less than 2% is grown in Mexico. But the vestiges of the cacao culture remain, and there's an effort to make the Yucatán the center of the chocolate world again.

Top Picks for Mexico Choc Travels

What better place to start your choc trip than the Yucatán Peninsula, a part of Mexico that's closer to Cuba than to Mexico City and is still home to the Maya, the people who made the world a happier place 2,500 years ago by cultivating cacao.

There are Maya ruins to explore, working sisal plantations from the 19th century, yellow-painted cities that shimmer under the tropical sun, coastal wetlands so dense with flamingos the water looks pink and park squares where costumed women dance with glasses of water on their heads. But mostly it's about the chocolate.

Next stop the MUCHO Museo del Chocolate ....a chocolate museum, cafe, and artisan chocolate factory located in the Roma District of Mexico City. The chocolate museum is housed in a beautiful historic house of 1909 in Colonia Juarez on the Milan street corner Rome. Its facade and interior were carefully restored, and the museum is the perfect blend of history and contemporary culture. Visitors can learn about how cacao or chocolate have impacted the local culture and economy. 

 

MUCHO Mundo Chocolate is the name of the brand of chocolate confections made at the artisan chocolate factory attached to the museum. The chocolate is made from cocoa beans from two regions: that of Tabasco, and Chiapas. Traditional Mexican chocolate is made using a blend of cacao beans mixed with vanilla beans, chili de arbol, (hot chilli peppers) and a touch of cinnamon and salt. This mixture is conched (mixed together) for 24-45 hours to get the desired consistency before it is made into chocolate bars.

Closer to home...Taza chocolate

Modern Mexican chocolate still retains many qualities of its predecessor. Makers still use some of the same spices as the Aztecs, as well as cinnamon and sugar to produce a chocolate with a unique flavor, texture, and aroma. It provides the base for hot chocolate beverages and serves as a key ingredient to several Mexican dishes such as Mole. Mexican chocolate is best recognized when sold in the form of small solid discs. The Spanish began the practice of storing chocolate in the shape of discs in the 1500s, and it continues to today.

Taza founder Alex Whitmore took his first bite of stone ground chocolate while traveling in Oaxaca, Mexico. He was so inspired by the rustic intensity that he decided to create a chocolate factory back home in the US. Alex apprenticed under a molinero in Oaxaca to learn how to hand-carve granite mill stones to make a new kind of American chocolate that is simply crafted, but seriously good. In 2005, he officially launched Taza with his wife, Kathleen Fulton.

Taza is a pioneer in ethical cacao sourcing. They were the first U.S. chocolate maker to establish a third-party certified Direct Trade Cacao Certification program. They maintain direct relationships with their cacao farmers and pay a premium above the Fair Trade price for their cacao. You can find their delicious chocolate discs available both in our Byron Bay boutique, and our online store. Bringing the taste of Mexico to you! Happy choc travels. :)

Source: mucho.org.mxchocolatestore1.blogspot.com.au, , lattimes.com
Photo Credits: Austin Andrews, wordonthebird, John Muncie

Choc Recipe : Paleo Chocolate Granola

Alison Campbell

Yes, you heard that right.... paleo chocolate granola. Guilt free choc brekky. Yey! This granola is made with puffed amaranth and puffed buckwheat. Both of these are seeds, so they are safe for gluten or grain-free eaters and are packed with all essential amino acids, a hefty amount of protein and wonderful cardiovascular benefits. Get amongst it LBB folk. :)

Ingredients

2 cups puffed buckwheat
1 1/2 cups puffed amaranth
1 cup organic shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely shopped almonds (or nuts or seeds of your choice)
10 dates chopped finely (optional)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
3 tbls melted rice malt syrup (optional)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Method

Preheat oven to 150C. In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients (only the coconut oil should remain). Slowly pour your melted coconut oil (and rice malt syrup, if using) over the mix and stir with a big-arse spoon until you’ve dispersed it through your mix. Tip the mix on a large baking tray lined with baking paper and pop into your oven for roughly 15 minutes.  You may need to stir it once during this time. Make sure you check the bottom isn’t burning.  The puffs will still feel soft but after they cool they will go hard and crunchy. Serve with the milk of your choice.

Serves 4

Source thewholedaily.com.au
 

Choc Recipe: Vegan Champurrado (Mexican Hot Chocolate Atole)

Alison Campbell

We've had our first few chilly nights here in Byron Bay, so it feels like the perfect time to be brewing up a few new hot chocolate style recipes. Champurrado is a chocolate-flavored version of atole, a warm, drinkable pudding of sorts made from sweetened milk and corn flour. Hot chocolate pudding in a cup. Yum. This vegan version is made with almond milk which creates a light base and allows the flavours of chocolate and spice to sing. Enjoy. :)

vegan champurrado

Ingredients

For the Hot Chocolate
1/4 cup masa harina (or corn flour)
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp muscovado sugar
2 tbsp cacao powder
1/4 tsp cayenne or dried chipotle powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups (475ml) water
2 cups (475ml) almond milk
120g bittersweet chocolate (65-72% cacao mass), roughly chopped

4 cinnamon sticks

For the Whipped Coconut Cream
2 small cans (160 ml) unsweetened coconut cream, chilled at least 2 hours and up to 1 day
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
chocolate shavings, for garnish

Method

In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom, whisk together the masa harina, muscovado sugar, cacao, chilli powder and salt. Whisk in the water until fairly smooth, then add the almond milk, cinnamon sticks and chocolate. Place the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue simmering and stirring until the mixture is smooth and thickened to your liking, 10-15 more minutes. Taste, adding more spice if you like. Serve immediately, or remove from the heat and let stand until ready to serve; the champurrado will continue to thicken as it stands and the flavor of the cinnamon will deepen. Thin with almond milk or water if needed. Meanwhile, make the whipped coconut cream. Without tipping or shaking the cans, remove the coconut cream from the refrigerator, open the cans, and scrape the thick cream from the top of the cans. Place in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with the icing sugar and vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form, 2-3 minutes on medium-high. Taste, adding more sugar or vanilla if you like. Ladle the champurrado into cups, top with a dollop of cream, a sprinkle of chocolate shavings, and serve immediately.

Top Tips: be sure to chill your coconut cream for at least 2 hours before making. Extra champurrado can be chilled for up to several days and reheated with a little extra almond milk if needed to thin the drink. If dairy isn't an issue, this can be made with cow's milk and regular whipped cream. If you want to booze it up, add a splash of dark or spiced rum to the champurrado or coconut cream.

Serves 6

Source bojongourmet.com
Photo Alanna Taylor-Tobin