Instead of a box of chocolates from the drugstore, make your own cacao-covered strawberries.
Are you shopping for a family member, spouse, or significant other who has a sweet tooth? If your sweetheart’s love language isn’t food, you might want to think outside of the chocolate box when it comes to gift ideas. Consider other expressions of your affection such as writing a heartfelt love note or taking them on a memorable date.
If your Valentine IS a chocolate-lover, a cocoa-based gift is probably the way to their heart. Just be aware that much of the chocolate sold commercially contains too much sugar, milk, and other additives to be regarded as truly healthy. Dark chocolate that is healthy and vegan will only contain cocoa, cocoa butter, and sugar.
Not All Chocolate is Created Equal
Working to improve the livelihoods of those responsible for sourcing our food, as well as improving their communities and the landscapes in which cocoa is grown is at the heart of sustainable cacao farming efforts. Show some love to your Valentine and the planet by making sure that the chocolate you buy is both healthy, and derived from cacao that is ethically sourced and sustainably grown.
Ethically-sourced, sustainable chocolate is better for both you and the farmers and farming communities who work hard to grow the cacao. At Bee Boys, we source our chocolate from Puna Chocolate, a local company that grows and roasts its own cacao seeds.
Look for chocolate with a Certified Naturally Grown label, which is a certification for small-scale farmers who distribute their products through farmers’ markets, farm-to-table restaurants, food cooperative outlets, and grocery stores with local produce. The Certified Naturally Grown label will help you select ethically-sourced products and locally-grown produce.
If your sweetheart is committed to minimizing their environmental impact, melt their heart with chocolate products supporting small-scale farmers that focus on conservation.
Think Outside the Chocolate Box
Instead of a box of chocolates from the drugstore, make your own cacao-covered strawberries. This is both a thoughtful and healthy alternative to mass-produced chocolates, since consuming cacao can help to fight an array of risk factors for disease.
According to research, cacao and dark chocolate have been proven to decrease inflammation. They can also reduce your chance of blood clots, which are often linked to stroke and heart attacks. And of course, chocolate is beneficial for your mental health, as it can encourage the release of dopamine and minimize stress hormones.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing a delicious, healthy recipe for chocolate-dipped strawberries that boosts the health factor by featuring Bee Boys cacao honey. The raw honey in this recipe is simply infused with Hawaii-grown cacao and is also Certified Naturally Grown, so you know it’s free of chemicals and pesticides.
Raw honey makes a welcome alternative to the refined sugar that most chocolate-covered strawberry recipes call for. Avoid herbicides, pesticides, and other chemicals by choosing organic strawberries when preparing this treat. Strawberries contain sufficient amounts of potassium and folate (vitamin B9) and are an incredible source of manganese and vitamin C. They are also packed with antioxidants and plant compounds, which have both been shown to help with blood sugar control and heart health.
It may take a little more effort to make your own cocoa-covered strawberries rather than buying chocolates from the store, but it’s a labor of love that will make your Valentine feel extra special.
Recipe: Cacao Covered Strawberries
- 20 fresh, organic strawberries
- 1 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cacao honey
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup cocoa
- Make sure your coconut oil is liquid. If it is solid, warm it by setting it out on the kitchen counter for an hour or two, or warming it in the microwave.
- Wash the strawberries and their leaves in cold water and pat dry. Set aside. (Do not remove the strawberry leaves).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the chocolate dip
- Pour the vanilla and the cacao honey into the coconut oil, whisking until mixed thoroughly.
- Add the cocoa into the coconut oil mixture slowly and stir the chocolate dip until it is completely smooth.
- For sweeter tasting chocolate dip, add additional cacao honey.
- For a thicker chocolate dip, place it in the refrigerator until it begins to thicken (about 5 minutes).
- Before dipping, stir the chocolate once more.
- Then, hold each strawberry by the leaves and dip it into the chocolate.
- Wait for it to drip before placing the strawberry on the parchment paper to solidify.
- For a thicker layer of chocolate, dip the strawberry in the chocolate again after a few minutes. Refrigerate until the chocolate is solid!
- Optional: Sprinkle chopped mac nuts or coconut flakes onto the chocolate-covered strawberries before the chocolate is done setting.
This Valentine’s Day, skip the typical purchase and surprise your sweetheart with a thoughtful, simple, and delicious declaration of love!
Keep spreading the Aloha and living the sweet life!
∼ Ryan Williamson & Kevin O’Connor (Bee Boys)
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