Note: elephantjournal.com received these review items for free, in return for a guarantee that we would review said offering. That said, we say what we want—good and bad, happy and sad.
My kids and I spent the whole weekend eating chocolate spread.
I found myself practically licking the jar to get the last smears of yumminess out before recycling the bottle.
Like many families, we love a bit of chocolate spread…well, chocolate anything really. But most supermarket-grade chocolate anything comes with a hefty dose of nasties.
This spread is unlike anything I’ve ever (guiltily) bought in the supermarket for a few reasons, including the incredible flavour (which I’ll get to) but mainly this: I feel good about giving it to my kids.
As many mamas will know, this trumps feeling good about eating it myself, which I do, because I’m even more conscious of what I feed my little guys.
Normal chocolate anything is infused with sugar, not to mention dairy for those who prefer to avoid it, and the processes the cocoa it’s made from undergoes mean it loses the inherent goodness of the raw ingredient: the cocoa bean.
Raw cacao is different. Worlds apart.
The Criollo Cacao used in Raw Ecstasy’s Activated Almond Chocolate Spread lends a deep chocolatey-ness to it, without any of the super-sweetness of your garden variety choc spread. And that’s not even the main ingredient.
The name gives it away. The real depth of flavour in this little jar of heaven comes from the activated almonds.
It’s like the best almond butter you can image to the power of chocolate to rock your world.
Excuse me while I grab a teaspoon, or maybe a tablespoon and just eat it straight out of the jar.
Activated nuts are big news in the raw and vegan food movement.
As the lovely folks from Raw Ecstasy, Prem and Charlot, put it:
“Activated nuts are effectively fermented, germinated or sprouted nuts. In nature nuts experience being soaked in rainwater which triggers their germination process.
Nature’s defence mechanism for nuts and grains includes nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances (found for example as the bitter aftertaste of walnuts) that can be naturally removed by soaking. These toxic substances include enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins) and goitrogens. Soaking nuts in warm water will neutralize these enzyme inhibitors and also encourage the production of beneficial enzymes. In turn these enzymes can increase vitamins, especially B vitamins.
Activated nuts are remarkably less bitter, taste sweeter, deliciously more-ish and feel lighter in your digestive system.”
Apparently, the ancient Aztecs learnt their technique of activating nuts by observing how birds pre-digested them before eating. Inspired by their practice of soaking nuts in seawater, Prem and Charlot soak their almonds in a natural solution using Himalayan salt. They then slowly dehydrate the nuts at below 47 °C/117°F to ensure their gentle preservation and a crunchy texture.
They use a stonegrinder to make the spread. It protects the rawness of their ingredients and allows them to achieve the unique texture of their spread. It’s beautifully smooth but somehow has an underlying fine graininess which means you can almost feel the handmade-ness of it in your mouth.
Here Charlot speaks about how they do this and shows us around the kitchen they’ve since outgrown as their small business gathers momentum.
The only other ingredients in this spread are coconut blossom crystals and himalayan salt crystals which give it the perfect balance of salty and sweet for me, and four thumbs up from the kids.
The other delicious product I, well mostly my eldest son, got to sample was their Himalayan Salted Activate Almonds. I literally had to wrestle the bag from him and he’s not the biggest nut fan. He gobbled these down.
My husband and I did manage to have some too and we both agreed that their texture was noticeably lighter than the usual almonds we eat quite a lot of. It’s pretty subjective I know but they sat lightly digestively too. And more-ish doesn’t even cover it.
These are just two of their range of items all of which I’m probably going to have to sample now. For the kids’ sake, you know.
There is one little downside, which Prem acknowledged when I spoke to him about it: the packaging of the nuts. While the spreads come in a little glass jar which is handy to reuse or easy to recycle, the nuts are packaged in plastic that you can’t recycle which is a bummer considering these guys are so eco and ethically minded.
The problem, Prem says, is quantity. It’s challenging for a small business like them to find an effective, eco and sustainable (financially) way to package these products. It’s something they’re working on, he assures me.
**An update from the Raw Ecstasy team: “I just wanted to let you know though that Prem was mistaken saying the packaging isn’t recyclable. It is recyclable, just not biodegradable/compostable.
I think we would go down a storm in the US. Which leads me to the fact that we actually are available to ship to the US, people would just have to send an e-mail to [email protected]tasy.co.uk with their order and billing and delivery details and we can organise shipment directly with them.” (Charlot)
They do a whole range of herbal tinctures and some other cool stuff too.
But the wholesome goodness these guys are so passionate about producing outweighs the obstacles they face to being 100% eco.
Not only did this chocolate spread keep my kids happy, but it nourished them too as they munched it on seeded toast. That’s enough for a big seal of approval from this mama. It’s my family’s new non-guilty pleasure.
Bonus, more information on activated nuts from Charlot:
Head on over to their website to find out more.
Author: Khara-Jade Warren
Images: Author’s own & courtesy of Raw Ecstasy