For the past couple of months I have been avoiding sugar for health reasons, even natural sugars (honey, fruit juices, maple syrup) as best as possible. I am now able to eat smaller amount and I’m enjoying the adventure of trying out alternatives to previously enjoyed sweet treats.
One of my absolute favourite things is hot chocolate – I have long enjoyed a mug of Green’s & Black hot chocolate, and at the start of the year the luxurious treat of Montezuma’s hot chocolate, which is made with real shavings of chocolate. But both of these, despite being great options to conventional hot chocolate mixtures, still contain sugar.
Autumn is arriving in our little town – the countryside smells differently when Buddy and I go out for walks and we have enjoyed sitting by our wood burning stoves a couple of times recently. Working from home I often feel chilly (I’m usually found with a Nepalese blanket flung around my shoulders) and come 4pm I’m in desperate need of a hot drink, and sometimes peppermint tea just doesn’t do it.
So in one of those moments of desperation, I decided to experiment. I warmed up some raw Jersey milk in my favourite little pan (it was Mr Rigg’s granny’s) and added a couple of heaped spoonfuls of organic cocoa powder. The next stop once it was all heated through together was obviously to add a hint of sweetness to it – I chose to add organic maple syrup as opposed to honey, for one it’s less sticky and I could just pour it into the pan.
Adding the sweetness element to the hot chocolate myself meant that I could determine how sweet I wanted it. It wasn’t a premixed powder with sugar added that told me ‘this is how sweet it’s gonna be’ (don’t think I’ve used the word ‘gonna’ since I was in my teens…) This version of hot chocolate or hot cocoa was utterly delicious, it tasted like something almost ancient and healing.
I am totally converted to this. The next day I made a bigger batch to share with Mr Rigg when he got home from work. I used my enamel ladle to spoon it into cups, I felt so maternal in this simple act – sharing something that I’d made from scratch, albeit it very simply. How incredible that the act of cooking can evoke such feelings in you.