This is a super quick, easy, and delicious traditional Dominican non-dairy hot chocolate that’s sure to liven up your day!
Cacao as a Dominican Staple. Cacao is one of the Dominican Republic’s most prized crops. The country’s official tourism site boasts of its high quality organic and traditional cacao, and artisan cacao balls or powder are available in any and all tourist shops or supermarkets. So it’s no surprise this is a staple.
The country is ranked as one of the world’s top ten large-scale exporters of cocoa because of its high quality organic and traditional cocoa.
And aren’t we glad it is :) If you’re like us and you love chocolate, you’re going to LOVE this one!
The traditional version is a rich and velvety, highly sweet, slightly spicy drink. Too rich for Gabby’s taste, but I rather enjoyed it. We made a few substitutions to the recipe we found on Aunt Clara’s Kitchen, mostly replacing sugar for a mix of raw sugar and organic honey we got on our trip to Finca Taina
Chocolate de Agua Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/8 cup of raw sugar
- 1/8 cup of organic honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- pinch salt
- pinch nutmeg
- mix water, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt
- bring to a coil over medium heat and simmer until 1/3 of the liquid has evaporated
- add cocoa and stir until chocolate has dissolved
- add sugar to taste
- sieve and serve hot
Cacao, food of the gods
You’ll be happy to know that cacao contains loads of delicious nutrition, to name a few: protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, antioxidants, phenylethylamine (PEA) and anandamide as well as fatty acids that may lower bad cholesterol and theobromine that could lead to better cardiovascular health.
But before you go out eating all the cacao you can, note that some of it isn’t so great!
Theobromine is a mild stimulant, not unlike caffeine, and oxalic acid prevents the body from properly fixing calcium, redering cacao’s high content of calcium useless.
Some of these ingredients affect your body in very strong ways, theobromine and anandamide both directly affect your central nervous system. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that gives you a mood boost, and theobromine is a general stimulant that also helps your body create more anandamide. So while eating chocolate will result in an immediate mood-boost, depending on how much you’re eating, you might want to prepare for the upcoming crash (especially when mixed with sugar.)
On top of that if your cocoa is not organic, you’re subjecting your body to lead and other carcinogens that are used in the cheap processing of cacao into chocolate.
For more on the health benefits of cacao, we refer you to Wikipedia the almighty.
So the traditional version of Chocolate de Agua, with all its sugar, might not be the best for your health, but at least–unlike its North American cousin, Hot Chocolate–it contains no dairy and comes from organic raw cacao.
All in all we think a little chocolate never killed anyone (just don’t share with your dog!), and we’re really happy to live in a country where organic cacao is so readily available.
Enjoy This traditional drink at home, or come visit the Dominican Republic!