Spice up your cocoa – Part 2
This will make you fresh and lively!
Mix your own cocoa – the invigorating effect of aromatic herbs and spices – Part 2: Spring/Summer
Clear head cocoa with maca. Cocoa with ground ivy, lavender, nettle and other garden and medicinal herbs. Ice cocoa with hibiscus. Hot chocolate with medicinal mushrooms. – Find out in this article how you can mix your own exciting new cocoa creations with our pure Becks cocoa fine cocoas! So that you start the day and the pleasure joyful, fresh and lively. We have also put together a small herb and spice guide for you.
Come with us on a journey into the world of cocoa, herbs and spices – with a good pinch of freshness and cheerfulness!
The stinging nettle is a great plant. In 2022 it was chosen as the medicinal plant of the year. Depending on where it grows, it is rich in iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin C, among other things. Unlike other medicinal herbs, it can be eaten daily like a staple food. In the past, when times were hard, the nettle, which grows almost everywhere, even partly ensured the survival of the population. And, properly prepared, it is also a culinary delight. It is not without reason that many star chefs serve it to their guests in the most diverse variations. Already in the first days of spring you can find the fresh leaves, collect the seeds in summer or use nettle powder (either homemade or purchased). A little melted coconut oil and toasted almond flakes are fine with it. You don’t have to worry about the stinging hairs: Just wear gloves when harvesting. Then just wrap the clean leaves in a cloth and roll over them a few times with a rolling pin. Or wring them out in a damp kitchen towel. This way, the stinging hairs break and are no longer active.
You can find the small Gundermann flowers and its leaves almost everywhere in the garden and on the meadow from spring on. If you are not (yet) well versed in wild herbs, it’s best to have a herbalist accompany you. Gundermann, which tastes a bit earthy and tart, is a great companion for cocoa. Just add, to taste, a few finely chopped leaves and 5-10 of the fine flowers to your warm cocoa. If you like the typical taste a little more intense right from the start, you can lightly crush the leaves in a mortar.
When the various berries from the bushes in the garden or from the fruit shelves light you up in spring and summer, it’s the time for fruity cocoa. Our spring-summer tip is hibiscus flowers and cacao. From the hibiscus you can use either the dried flowers or the ground powder (available in stores). Our recipe with hibiscus and berries is delicious: With coconut milk, hibiscus powder, pure Becks cocoa cocoa powder (e.g. cacao especial no 3), a little coconut blossom sugar, fresh berries and ice cubes, you can create a refreshing ice cocoa cocktail.
Lavender is said to have a soothing, relaxing, balancing and cheerful effect. For your homemade lavender cocoa, use either fresh or dried, but in any case the real organic lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). You can also use high quality organic lavender oil, here you can even find essential oils specially made for cooking in stores. Remember, lavender is very intense in flavor. Similar to rosemary or nutmeg, its aroma can quickly be too much in food or drinks. Therefore, feel your way to the taste that is right for you. Start by adding just a drop of the essential oil, a few young leaves and/or freshly blooming lavender flowers to your cacao cup, along with some raw cane or coconut blossom sugar.
Native to the Andes, these nutritious tubers from the cress genus have been prized as a food and medicinal remedy in South America for about 2,000 years. Since its discovery by the Chinchay culture in the South American Inca Empire, the maca plant has been used as a fertility agent, aphrodisiac, and to boost vitality. Maca powder is wonderful to add to your hot chocolate (or even a cocoa smoothie).
Yes, you can eat rose blossoms!* The blossoms of old rose varieties such as the Damask rose (rosa damascena) and the wild roses dog rose (rosa canina), potato rose (rosa rugosa) or vinegar rose (rosa gallica) taste especially delicate and slightly sweet. If you want to be safe, use organic dried rose petals for tea. You can also experiment with organic rose water, traditionally used in the cuisine of India, Persia or North Africa, and fine organic rose oil for cooking (preferably from Damascus roses). With a few splashes of the water or a drop of the oil and a few rose petals you create a delicious rose cocoa.
*Note: Only the true wild and cultivated roses of the Rosa genus are edible! Other plants with “rose” in their name, such as Christmas roses (Helleborus niger), peonies (Paeonia), peasant or hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), for example, are not edible and some are poisonous.
Of course, you can also combine different spices and flavors – such as rose and cinnamon or lavender and rose or ground ivy and coconut oil or pepper and chili. Just try it out – there are no limits to your imagination.
Little spice and herb lore: Here’s how to do it right!
1. the correct handling of fresh herbs
Flowers, herbs and plants are very delicate when fresh and their essential oils are very sensitive. To preserve their aromas, it is important that you handle them sensitively. Process herbs as quickly and fresh as possible. Most fresh herbs should be added just before the end of cooking and allowed to steep over a mild heat. For savory: Fresh sage, thyme or rosemary, on the other hand, need a little more heat to develop their full flavor.
2. store spices correctly
To ensure that spices retain their aroma and color, they should always be stored in an airtight container in a dark, dry and cool place. Then they will retain their intensity and typical aroma for at least two years.
3. make dried spices fragrant
Whole, dried spices such as anise, fennel, cumin, allspice and coriander can be roasted in a pan without fat. This creates nutty nuances. When heated, the spices begin to shine slightly due to the essential oils that escape. Then you can either use them directly whole or crush them in a mortar. And add them to your cocoa!
You want to know more about our cocoas? HERE YOU’LL FIND a lot of valuable information about our pure fine flavoured cocoas!
Cocoa with vital mushrooms – Reishi, Chaga or Cordyceps
Mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga and Cordyceps are called vital or medicinal mushrooms and have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries. They are said to have a positive effect on us humans. Very briefly (there is a whole library of books on medicinal mushrooms!): Cordyceps is said to give energy and stamina and be good for concentration. Powdered and mixed with cocoa, the vital drink is considered by many to be an invigorating, stimulating coffee substitute that also offers many health benefits. The nutrient-rich chaga mushroom is said to balance the immune system. And Reishi may be calming and relaxing. Just give it a try if it appeals to you, you’ll find the right mushroom and blend for you and your Becks cocoa cacao.
Our recipe for your vital mushroom cocoa
300 ml almond milk (or another plant milk)
4 tbsp Becks cocoa pure cocoa powder
1 tsp Reishi, Chaga or Coryceps powder
possibly 1/2 tsp. ashwagandha powder (see: LINK TO CONTRIBUTION NO 1!)
1 tbsp. coconut oil
a mini pinch of salt
a pinch of real vanilla or Ceylon cinnamon
Mix milk and mushroom powder in saucepan, add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Heat slowly and carefully. To sweeten, you can use, for example, xylitol (birch sugar) or maple syrup. If you like it creamier and creamier, add 1 tablespoon coconut cream at the end.
How do you refine your pure fine cocoa? What spices do you use? Do you have a specific ritual? What effect do you notice? Do you have a special recipe you’d like to share? Tell us about your favorite cocoa spices.