When you get the invite to explore a chocolate farm in the middle of the Caribbean you don’t think twice. When we landed on the island of St. Lucia earlier this month, it was half to explore the island’s wild beaches and half to venture into the ordered acres of cacao farm that belong to the world-renowned, sustainable Jade Mountain Resort.
Jade Mountain is the tropical resort our Chalkboardiest dreams are made of. We’ll be talking more about the award-winning design-first property after the New Year, but for now, we knew we had to share this brilliant raw cacao truffle recipe before the holidays. These truffles are ultra-simple, decadent and packed with vibrant nutrition. Since there are so few ingredients (just three!) aim for the best quality you can find and you’ll be impressed by how incredible these heavenly bites truly are.
On the farm, chocolate is harvested from the tree, dried and fermented. In the kitchen, it is ground, roasted and tempered in a seductive process that brings the raw cacao into it’s full glossy glory.
For most locals on the island, chocolate is best enjoyed as cocoa tea – a superfood drink we were shocked we’d never heard of. In St. Lucia, most homes have their own way of making cocoa tea, but it is some version of raw cacao rolled like dough with local spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
A chunk of the cocoa tea is used at a time, boiled in water and mixed with coconut cream or sipped straight for some of the darkest hot chocolate you’ve ever tried.
This simple truffle recipe was just one of many chocolate recipes we made with the culinary team at Jade Mountain led by James Beard award winner, Chef Allen Susser. After touring the property’s cacao farm (over 600 acres!) and harvesting cacao pods fresh from the tree, we walked through the intense process that chocolate goes through to be ready for consumption. These truffles were one of our favorite rewards of the day…
Raw Chocolate Almond Butter Truffles
2 cups 70% or more dark chocolate, chips or chopped
3/4 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp coconut cream
3/4 cup raw almond butter
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
Create a double-boiler by placing a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. Be sure to leave space between the water and the bottom of the bowl.
Add the chocolate and coconut cream to the bowl. Whisk until the chocolate melts into the cream. Continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Add the almond butter and whisk until combined. Remove from heat.
Allow the chocolate mixture to cool and solidify slightly. Line a sheet pan or plate with wax paper. Roll the mixture into uniform balls – about 1 tablespoon each – and place onto the wax paper. If desired roll in the cacao powder. Refrigerate until solid. Enjoy!