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I was doing a little research about chocolate, in order to write this post (don’t say I come unprepared), when Google showed 128,000,000 results for chocolate but 103,000,000 for fruit. I think our preferences are clear.
But let’s go back to the origins. Chocolate comes from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millenniums in Mexico, Central and South America, although the world's top producer of cacao beans nowadays is Africa.
The Mayan civilisation worshipped the Cacao Tree and it was believed it was of divine origin. The Mayas referred to cocoa as the god's food and it was often represented in religious rituals. The Aztecs considered chocolate a luxury good and even used it as currency (one turkey cost one hundred cacao beans). Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cacao tree.
When the Spanish conquered the Aztecs chocolate was introduced to Europe. Christopher Columbus brought some cocoa beans to show Ferdinand and Elisabeth of Spain and it quickly became a court favourite.
Among many other health benefits, dark chocolate has been found to have anti aging properties, due to the amount of antioxidants that help to reduce the formation of free radicals, which makes chocolate a perfect beauty treatment.
Cacao Sampaka is a little paradise dedicated to this god's favourite, where chocolate comes in different forms and flavours, from chocolates with herbs and flowers, to chocolate jam made with blackberry.
There is also a cosy café where it is possible to enjoy a delicious hot chocolate with a piece of cake.
Travelling around the world? No problem, you will also be able to find Cacao Sampaka in Dubai and Tokio!
After years of investigation I find myself in a position to conclude that chocolate is de-lys-ious in any shape or colour. Any chocolate bought in Cacao Sampaka you will enjoy enormously, but just in case you are one of those who like cooking, please find below a chocolate recipe that I got from a book that my French friend S. brought me from France.
Marisa de Lys
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CACAO SAMPAKA MADRID
C/ Orellana, 4 • 28004 Madrid
Tel. 91 319 58 40 Fax 91 308 37 45
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Truffes au Chocolat (Chocolate Truffles)
* 400g high quality dark chocolate
* 150g butter
* 3 egg yolks
* 30cl crème fraîche
* 200g powdered sugar
* 1 glass cognac (alternatively rum or whisky)
* 80g unsweetened cocoa powder
* Break the chocolate into small pieces and melt it on low heat using bain-marie technique, while stirring to help the process.
* Remove from the fire and add the egg yolks, the crème fraîche, the powdered sugar and the alcohol and mix well.
* Allow to cool and then cover and refrigerate over night or for 12 hours.
* The next day, using a melon baller, scoop the chocolate into balls. Or just scoop out spoonfuls of the chocolate and quickly roll in your hands to make a ball. Roll the balls in the cocoa and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
* * * These truffles are the most delicious bites and go great with a cup of tea. They also make a very "sweet" gift for your dearest friend - and believe me, you'll be adored for that!