Not only can you make a healthier version of hot chocolate, you can make a difference in the lives of the farmers who produce the cocoa. Especially around this time of year, helping those less fortunate should be on our minds. That's why I purchase fair trade cocoa.
90 per cent of the world's cocoa comes from small producers in third-world countries such as Ghana. Fair trade insures farmers receive a reliable and living wage for their work. They also get a social premium to invest back into their communities for much-needed projects.
Sometimes we forget the power behind our purchases. Next time you're shopping notice why do you choose the products you do. Is it based on price? Nutritional value? Social/environmental impact?
Camino is one of my favourite brands. They're a Canadian fair trasde company that supports over 36,000 family farmers in 9 different countries. I also buy their muscovado sugar. If you're going to use cane sugar, you may as well use the least unrefined sugar you can get.
Hot Chocolate Recipe:
2 Cups Almond Milk
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
2-3 Tablespoons of Muscovado Sugar
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon and.or Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Heat almond milk in a pot on medium heat. Whisk in all ingredients until blended and warm.
Let's talk marshmallows, probably the best hot chocolate accompaniment. Take a look at the ingredients in store bought marshmallows: sugar, sugar, more sugar plus artificial flavours and preservatives. I've seen homemade marshmallow recipes, but haven't tried them. The "fluff" to me seems easier to make, it has less ingredients and above all, tastes like marshmallows!
2 Eggs Whites
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Teaspoon REAL Vanilla Extract
1 Pinch Sea/Himalayan Salt
Using a mixer, beat egg whites on high until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes). Slowly add in the other ingredients and keep beating until fully incorporated. Use immediately since I find after sitting for a while, the maple syrup seems to settle on the bottom. If that happens, just give it another quick stir. it still tastes delicious.
Add a dollop to each mug of hot chocolate. Sprinkle with cocoa or cinnamon (optional). Serves 2.
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.