The perfect cacao shot

My ever deepening love of cacao is no secret. In a ceremony, a chocolate bar, or just as crunchy nibs and beans, the plant is one of my favourite allies and the love goes far beyond mere chocoholism.

This adoration and respect was recently compounded by our third trip to Costa Rica, where achingly delicious cacao shots present themselves at all hours of the day (see recipe below), and the strongest ceremony we have taken part in to date, with Joel and Aiste from Wild Food Cafe (more of which can be read here, along with lessons in letting go of should and opening to the here and now – cacao optional). Recreating this delicious drink which brings us so much joy in the forest has been a great pleasure and something of a necessity when your average smoothie or chocolate bar just won’t do back home in London. Packed with antioxidants, heart-opening theobromine and MAO-inhibitors, raw cacao in high quantities can have real, tangible effects on your mood and your day.

And since I am a big believer in bringing a little ceremony and ritual into the everyday, whipping up some of this and asking it to open our hearts just a little bit more, feels like a fitting way to honour its deliciousness. Or, you can just down it in one like Ben.

The cacao butter isn’t always a usual household ingredient for some people but it really adds the fats and creaminess here and I would recommend tracking some down if only for this magical purpose. And anyway, then the world of homemade raw chocolates opens up to you and cooking begins to take on a whole new dimension…

Makes 2 large cups or 3 shots


2 cups / 500ml water

3 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp cacao nibs or beans

1/2 cup cashews

2 tbsp melted cacao butter

1 tbsp chopped ginger

a pinch of pink salt

1 tbsp honey (or more to taste)

a pinch of cayenne

3 cardamom pods

Blend the water and cashews on a high speed until creamy. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the cacao butter, blend on a medium / high speed and slowly add the butter as you go, until everything is smooth and well mixed. Adjust any sweetness, saltiness or spice to taste and – ideally – chill for twenty or so minutes before serving.

Store in the fridge for up to three days.


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