A number of pesky health troubles over the last couple of years have led me recently to look at nutrition and diet as a means of improving my lot. The advice out there sounds pretty bleak: no wheat, no dairy, no saturated fats, no sugar, no caffeine, no alcohol, or – to put it bluntly – no fun.
“Just how,” I reflected miserably, “am I meant to glean the tiniest shred of enjoyment from a life where there is brown rice instead of spaghetti? Water instead of wine? Vegetables instead of steak? And organic fruit instead of sticky toffee pudding? And, more to the point, who the heck is going to want to read about it?”
This latter point troubled me somewhat (and explains to some degree my lack of blogging over the last couple of weeks). But puritan culinary purgatory is, I’m discovering, not as bad as all that, and this is thanks chiefly to something called Raw Choc Pie.
Wheat-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free, this delectable chocolate seems completely sin-free, and yet is some of the best, most indulgent, rich, sumptuous chocolate I have ever eaten, even if you’re not on The No Fun Diet.
Made by hand by a tiny company called Living Food of St Ives, based in Cornwall, Raw Choc Pie “pies”, or bars, are concocted from ground raw cacao, which is then added to coconut butter, agave nectar (the sap of cactus), carob flour, and ground almonds before other ingredients, such as ginger, chilli, goji berries and other (strictly organic and Fair Trade) health zingers, are thrown in the mix.
Carob flour is an interesting ingredient. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, Carob grows as a plant that bears dark brown pods, rich in sucrose and protein, which can be ground into flour and used as a cocoa substitute, and it’s this that gives Raw Choc Pie bars their dark, intense flavour – not quite like anything you have tasted before.
Apparently carob has one-third of the calories of real chocolate, is virtually fat-free, stuffed with vitamins A and B, and has no oxalic acid, which interferes with the absorption of calcium*. So it’s pretty super really and I’m not surprised to learn that those infinitely wise old Ancient Greeks were all over it.
The good news is that this marvellous little Cornish company is utilising this ingredient and making its fabulous products available across the UK (see stockists), so that, whether you’re living with diabetes, celiac disease, food intolerances, or other health complaints that may be addressed through strict diet, there can still be patches of chocolatey indulgence between the water, the brown rice and the veg. What a relief!
My favourite Raw Choc Pie pies so far…
Ginger & Orange Zest – ginger bread condensed into chocolate form.
Chilli – a chocolatey extravaganza, followed by a fiery kick of chilli.
On my hit list…
Pink Himalayan Salt – Crunches of salt in choccy heaven? Yes please.
Cardamom & Apricot – I’ll have this with my morning coffee, oops, I mean herbal tea.
WHERE TO BUY RAW CHOC PIES
I get mine from:
266 Portobello Rd
T: 020 8968 9133
*Information taken from Carobana.com