The markets were on when we were there, and I was over the moon when I found a lady selling raw chocolate bars, blocks and pieces, along with cacao pods and nibs - from AUSTRALIAN CACAO FRUITS!
I'm not suite sure why I never stopped to think whether cacao could or was being grown in this beautiful country of ours; assuming it was all overseas. So you could imagine my excitement! I have since found out that there are 4 or 5 plantations of cacao up here, all making their own chocolate. HELLO WILLY WONKA!! We'll definitley be planning a little adventure trip to suss them all out soon enough that's for sure!
But when I saw that this woman was selling cacao beans that she had herself taken straight out of the cacao fruit, and dehydrated to dry... I was sold. The fleshy fruit was still hanging on the outside of each bean. And this makes for a totally incredibly different taste sensation on eating...
It's fruity and tropical with hints of sweetness and tang. But once that disappears you're left with the bitterness of the cacao bean. It's Mother Nature's perfect combination...
And afternoon tea's perfect snack.
The following week my partner went on his own adventure up to the Daintree and brought me back that big cacao fruit above. Indeed. Yep. A whole fresh intact cacao fruit. In it's entirety. In Australia! I was speechless! Well no not really, that's a lie. I was jumping up and down in excitement (once again - could I really be that predictable around food?).
This is what it looks like inside - incredibly soft flesh and not much of it. Enough to keep the beans soft and moist. When you bite into a bean when it's like this, it is not hard as you may have had before. It's almost a little chewy. But a little powdery too. I know how odd that sounds and no doubt hard to imagine, but trust me, its' delicious.
The beans are purple inside, not chocolate brown, and you would be hard presed to just sit there and eat many more than just a few. We had fun adding them to smoothies too, believing we were getting an even better, fresher, bigger, richer hit of antioxidants from these babies! Hehe.
So I will be sure to keep you updated on our cacao hunting trips up here! In the meantime, I'm keeping myself very busy with work at the health food store which is great, college work piling up on me as I was in bed for about a week with what I think was a nasty case of influenza running around up here, and trying to rest and get myself back to my usual bubbly self :)
Peace, Love and mung beans xxx