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. : cocoa buzz : .

hot chocolate for the... well, everything.

 

Every so often, overwhelmed by a sweet tooth and a singular love and respect of decadence, I'll put away the spicebush, nettle, myrica, rooibos, or whatever tea and make up a big pot of hot cocoa to share with friends. Inevitably, within a few sips someone will be pulling me aside, quizzically asking me, "What did you put in that stuff?"

 

Sometimes, under the spell of mischievous faeries, I sneer suggestively and reply, "Sorry, can't say...", or ask hesitantly whether they've been looking for a job (he he).

 

The real answer, though, is: Cocoa.

 

People no longer remember that cocoa is a powerful, sacred, medicinal and darned tasty plant. The chocolate of mass appeal in our country is but a shadow of true cocoa, being mostly refined sugar, and even the gourmet hot cocoas sold at exorbitant prices abound in artificial flavors and ingredients. Fortunately, anyone can easily, and within minutes, whip up a cup or pot of steaming cocoa that not only tastes better than virtually anything they could buy, it's good for them to boot.

 

Good for you cocoa?

 

Indeed. This simple recipe provides a tasty drink with immune stimulating and even anti-viral/antibiotic properties, and also offers a plethora of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

 

ingredients (for one cup)...

1 spoonful unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably non-irradiated/organic)

1 spoonful local wildflower honey  (ideally raw, ideally local)

Enough hot water to fill a mug

For added antimicrobial effect:

propolis extract (about 30 drops - 1 squirt - or to taste)

 

making a pot?

1 quart water

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 "squirts" Propolis extract

 

to prepare:

Simply combine the ingredients in a pot and warm to just the right drinking temperature (you can adjust the cocoa-to-honey ratio to make the drink more bitter, if you prefer). Try not to let to get too hot; you'll do in some of the virtues of the honey if you do. When reheating, be sure to stir/whisk it up well so the cocoa powder that settled to the bottom doesn't scorch.

 

highly recommended additions...

To this cocoa base nearly infinite embellishments can be made. I very often add marshmallow root to the water (1 ounce dry root infused in cold water for 4+ hours) to make a moistening soothing tea, which renders the cocoa active against the dry respiratory issues that accompany influenza and many common colds. I may also add a spoonful of elderberry syrup per cup of cocoa, which not only tastes good, but possesses the ability to inhibit the reproduction of viruses. Combined with the propolis extract, this makes for a very effective and decidedly delicious immune enhancing hot cocoa that works quite well for colds and flus.

 

If there's lower bowel looseness, the water can be replaced with cinnamon tea, which possesses astringent, demulcent and diaphoretic qualities, and blackberry syrup can further enhance its astringency and the flavor of the cocoa.

 

Traditionally, cocoa was enjoyed with stimulating spices like chili (yup, like in that movie Chocolat!), and a pinch can be added per cup to give the cocoa extra kick.

 

...or for a real kick, add some blackberry liquor. Cozying up in front of the fire with your sweetie? A maybe a few squirts of maca tincture or root powder might be nice…

 

As you see, the only limits on potential is one's imagination.

 

The cocoa (of course) provides the flavor (and the chocolate-euphoria), the honey sweetens it up and possesses antibacterial, antibiotic, antiviral, antiinflamatory, anticarcinogenic, anti... well, the list goes on and on. The propolis is notably antimicrobial (antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiallergenic, antioxidant, antiblah blah blah...) and it's extremely nutritious.

 

An important consideration is, of course, the quality of the cocoa. Hershey's, Nestle and most other supermarket brands do not cut it as good quality (they may not even cut it as actual cocoa). There are a slew of organic cocoa powders from raw to roasted to alkalinized, though sometimes they don't actually taste awesome. Ghirardelli's unsweetened cocoa powder is perhaps the best tasting and most easily found I've tried, but it isn't organic fair trade. Try different stuff. See what you like best.

 

Propolis extract may be available at health food stores (though I recommend making your own tincture of the pure resin in grain alcohol), and in addition to its medicinal virtues acts as a sort or creamer/vanilla substitute, flavorwise. Should you not be able to find it, though, the cocoa is still quite good for you without it, having more of a "dark chocolate" flavor. You can also often find honey with propolis mixed into it.

 

This cocoa (with the propolis) is incredibly good at combating sore throat from colds and flus - even strep - and bringing back your long lost voice... drink it when its easier to croak than talk. And, if you have children who've yet to appreciate the flavor of echinacea, you'll have no problem getting them to slurp down some nice, immune-stimulating hot chocolate. Ditto in regards to adults.

 

You can also make an insanely good "hot fudge" by heating honey over very low heat in a saucepan, mashing up some fresh blackberries (or whatever-berries) in it, and adding cocoa power to taste and desired consistency.

 

Enjoy!

 

jim mcdonald

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