Food of the Gods: cacao – But what about carob?

I bet some of you had heard cacao being called “food of the Gods” already before reading that post title. At least I had came across this nickname multiple times, yet I didn’t know where it really came from. Well, of course, most people agree on the delicious heavenly taste of cacao and thus might like to call it “God food”. What makes cacao even more heavenly, is that the least processed (raw) cacao products derived from the fruit of the cacao tree contain significant amounts of antioxidants and magnesium as well as high amounts of iron, chromium, zinc, sulphur and copper, vitamins E & C + those little building blocks that help our brain in vibrating happy feelings. Where the nickname really comes from, however, is simply the binomial name of the cacao tree “Theobroma cacao”, the first part of which is derived from Greek and literally means food of the Gods (“theo” for God and “broma” for food). “Cacao” comes from “kakaw” – the name that among others Mayas used of this plant they actually believed to be discovered by their gods.

So now that you know the simple history behind the bombastic nickname of cacao and also might’ve learned some other facts about the fruit, I’d like to introduce you to something very similar to cacao: carob. Carob tastes almost like cacao (more caramelly but not as smooth in my opinion) and is sometimes treated only as a lower-fat, lower-calorie option to use instead of the food of the Gods, but actually carob has quite an improving nutritional content itself. Yes, carob really has 1/3 less calories and 17 times less fat than cacao but that’s not all. Carob contains high amounts of vitamins B1 and A and niacin, some vitamin B2, calcium (three times what cacao has), magnesium and potassium as well as traces of iron, manganese, chromium and copper. Moreover, carob contains approximately 8% of protein and is a great source of fiber.

Personally, when imitating the taste of chocolate in my breakfasts, smoothies, snacks or other creations, I like to mix together equal amounts of cacao and carob to give a little twist to the “plain cacao or carob” taste and to get the most of both of these wonderful plants’ benefits. I adore the taste of both these two ingredients and especially together with the dates in the following recipe, they create a super delicious chocolatey-caramelly-fudgy feel that I hope you’ll love as much as I do. However, if you don’t have both cacao and carob on hand or don’t want to buy both, you can easily substitute one of them by doubling the amount of the other since the taste is pretty similar at the end.

Enjoy these little bites as snacks or a healthier dessert!

Snackbites of the Gods

makes 8 balls

What you will need:

8 big Medjool dates

0,25dl almond flour

0,25dl shredded coconut

1tbsp raw cacao

1tbsp raw carob

1/2tsp vanilla powder

1/2tsp cinnamon

pinch of Himalayan salt

0,25dl water

chia seeds, coconut, cacao powder for coating

How to do it?

  • Mix all your dry ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Remove the seeds from your dates and then slice them into thin slices first lengthwise then crosswise. It should become a sticky mess.
  • Add your date pieces into your dry ingredients and start working the dough with your hands. Add the water and work until you have a smooth dough.
  • Split your dough into eight even pieces and roll the pieces into balls.
  • Roll the balls in chia seeds, coconut, cacao or your other preferred topping.
  • Refrigerate the snackbites for at least an hour before serving – they are best enjoyed cold.

Note: you can skip phases 2 & 3 by using a food processor but if you wish to save yourself from removing those sticky date pieces every other second from the processor blades, I suggest you just follow the instructions above.

xx a

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