“Like Water for Chocolate” and “Chocolat” are two of my favorite movies. There’s just something sexy when chocolate is in a title. Women are naturally drawn to it. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe because it’s orgasmic just thinking about biting into a luscious piece. Eating chocolate can often be better than, well . . . you know. Or anything made from the magical cacao bean including Cacao tea that I first tried on the island of Grenada when I was on a sailing trip in the Grenadines. The Grenadines are in the Caribbean’s West Indies and are islands between St. Vincent and Grenada. Grenada is called “The Isle of Spice.”
I’ve created a cacao tea recipe that’s similar to what I experienced in Grenada and hope you enjoy it. More about our trip below.
- 1 cocoa ball
- 2 cups of water
- splash vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tbsp. sugar
- A ½-3/4 cup of milk
- Dissolve the cocoa ball into a pot of boiling water on the stove top.
- Stir for 4 minutes or more over medium high heat
- Add the milk, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leaf. Cook for about 2 minutes to allow the spices and sugars to blend.
- Strain into a mug.
There’s no reason to feel guilty about eating it, especially if it’s pure and straight from the rainforest.
Our sailboat trip in the Grenadines
We spent 3 weeks in The Grenadines (the lower part of the Caribbean) on a 50-foot sailboat. We sailed from the island of St. Vincent to Grenada. If you remember, that was the island the US invaded in 1983.
It’s hard to believe all that tragedy took place on an island that is so calm and scenic.
Learning about cacao and how chocolate is made
While we were in Grenada, we spent part of the day at the Belmont Estates. (a chocolate plantation)
Our tour guide explained how chocolate is made from raw cacao beans. In the photo below I’m with my friend Marion and our guide helping to crush the beans with our bare feet.
Afterward, we sipped a sampling of their “to-die-for” Grenada Cacao Tea made with shaved cacao, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.
You can find raw cacao balls and other Caribbean products at Purchase Cacao Balls here.
Or, if you don’t want to grind your own, you can purchase cacao tea here.
But here’s the healthy part . . .
Chocolate is made using the fruit pods of the cacao tree. Cacao is the Aztec word for chocolate. (also called cocoa) Cacao is believed to have come from the Andes, in the Amazon of South America. The Spanish started shipping it to Europe from Mexico in the late 1500s. The joy of eating chocolate began to spread throughout Europe. The Spanish also introduced it to the Philippines, the West Indies, and North America.
The minerals contained in chocolate (cacao) include:
- as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, and pantothenic acid.
Cacao has more phenolic phytochemicals and antioxidants than any other food. It’s loaded with flavonoids. You receive the most benefit from eating dark chocolate that’s 70% or higher in cacao.
The Aztecs used cacao to relieve stomach and intestinal problems. Cocoa butter is excellent for reducing the appearance of stretch marks. Drinking a cocoa drink that’s high in flavonols helps to improve your skin’s texture by making it less rough and more hydrated.
Other health benefits from eating chocolate include:
- Heart health – Dark chocolate improves endothelial function and reduces bad cholesterol.
- Diabetes – The flavonols in dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood pressure.
- The antioxidants in cacao help to suppress colon cancer, improve brain function and relieve diarrhea.
Purchase some of the amazing chocolate from the Grenada Chocolate Company.
Sailing the Grenadines
What I loved about our sailboat trip in the Grenadines is that we were able to experience the island in a way most people in cruise ships never do. We landed on tiny islands where we saw plenty of goats, sheep, and Rastafarians. We ate and talked with locals, other sailors, artists, and vendors who came up to our boat selling everything from bread to tee shirts. It was an amazing experience, aside from the fact that I was eaten alive by mosquitos. After flying into Barbados, our Windward island-hopping included Saint Vincent, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union Island, Carriacou, and Grenada.
What’s your favorite way to eat chocolate or favorite brand? Please leave a comment below. We want to eat it!