A few years ago, while walking past a Supermarket, I spotted this unlikely couple on the sidewalk. The raspberry and the strawberry were next to the garbage cans from the store, but, far enough away from other visual disturbances for me to notice them while others passed them by.  I always knew that these two were friends but, was filled with delight to spy them in this intimate public embrace.

In celebration of this week’s Valentine advent and in tribute to berries everywhere, I will be offering two classes this week on remedies for the heart; one on aphrodisiacs and the other on emotional heart support with flower essences and herbs.

I started creating the class recipes a few days ago when NYC was thick with snow, and hot chocolate was on my mind. Cacao is food of the gods and medicine of the heart  and makes a lip-smackingly delicious drink when blended with blood building schisandra berries, turmeric and warming spices, like cinnamon.

In case you cannot make it to class next week and want to pamper yourself with some herbal delight, try this recipe for “Heart Warming Cacao”.

21/2 Tbl raw cacao powder
2 Tsp Coconut Butter, (thicker than coconut oil)
1 Tsp Raw Honey, (add more as you need)
1 1/4 Tsp  Schisandra Berry powder
3/4 Tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 Tsp Cardomom powder
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon powder
Pinch of Cayenne powder
16 oz Favorite Nut Milk

Makes enough for 2 mugs.

Grind the whole herbs in a coffee grinder, before measuring:  Cacao, Schisandra, Cardamom, (without husk) and the Cinnamon are all ground  into a fine powder. Blend with the other powdered herbs. Add the coconut butter and honey and blend into a paste. (Making the paste will allow the herbal powders to be a more integrated part of the drink, rather than just floating on the top).
Add the paste to the nut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir the paste continuously into the milk until its thoroughly melted.  This should take about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and divide into mugs.
Drink while hot!

Some additional recipe notes:

After experimenting with roasting and grinding the cacao and then skipping the roasting part on the second batch to see the effects, I found both versions delicious.  The smell of roasted cacao beans in the oven is pretty intoxicating, but if you want to preserve more of the antioxidant and mineral properties of the cacao, then skip the roasting part. The other herbs were chosen for their blood building, warming, mood elevating properties, and also their taste.

Recipe tip:  Starting with whole fresh spices when you can and grinding them yourself is worth the extra time it takes. Using your herbs in the freshest state possible improves their medicinal benefits.
One last note:  The finished drink is more yellow in tone then chocolate, but don’t let that you throw you, its the gorgeousness of the turmeric overtaking the color of the cacao.