Chocolate Lovers

Valentine's Day is approaching. It's a day where people show their affection for someone else by sending cards, flowers and chocolates along with messages of love. With around 150 million cards sent annually, it is the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. 

Valentine's Day brings with it either squeals of delight and intense planning....or a breakout of nervous sweating and fear of all things flower-and-teddy-bear related

St Valentine of Rome is said to be the reason behind this day of love. In his time, soldiers were forbidden to marry as it was thought by Emperor Claudius II that single men made better soldiers than family men. St Valentine continued to marry these Christian couples in secret and when he was found out he was sentenced to death. According to legend, during his imprisonment before his death, St Valentine fell in love with the blind daughter of his judge and restored her eyesight. Before his execution, he wrote her a farewell love letter and signed it "Your Valentine" 

Gods and saints are kept busy in their after life. As Freya is the Goddess of love, beauty, fertility, death and war...

St Valentine is the patron saint of love, epilepsy and beekeeping, as well as the plague, fainting and travelling

And it's these things I think make holidays special. The history and the tradition behind it all. Whether you buy into it or not, it's nice to take a moment to remember a life once lived, and whether you are single or a couple, it's lovely to show yourself or your loved one a little extra love. 

Valentine's Day is also a great excuse to make a delicious chocolate dessert

maybe even as a trial run for Easter! And this dessert can be served in multiple ways. A sharing plate or a parfait if sharing isn't your thing! The parfait is also perfect for indulging in on your own....at least then you don't have to put on any airs and graces, you can sit in the corner making as much mess as you like! 

Chocolate mousse sharing platter with chocolate soil, cherry jam and salted chocolate truffles

Ingredients 

Chocolate Mousse: 

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 banana 
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or your choice of sweetener, to taste)
  • 1 tsp mesquite (optional, but adds a delicious caramelly depth)
  • Generous pinch Celtic Salt (it makes the cacao sing!)

Salted Chocolate Truffles: 

  • 4 dates 
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp maple or coconut syrup
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch vanilla salt 
  • Water may be needed
  • Chocolate for coating (either homemade or use a dark sugar free one) 

Chocolate Soil

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
  • 1/4 cup cacao 
  • 2 heaped tbsp coconut oil 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 heaped tsp mesquite
  • Pinch of Celtic salt

Cherry Jam

  • 12 cherries pitted
  • 2 tbsp water 
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • Dash of maple syrup to taste

Method

Chocolate Mousse:

  • Blend everything together until smooth and gloriously thick
  • Leave in the fridge to set for an hour
  • If you want to make this and eat it straight away, have the fruit cold, or even better frozen

Variation:

Use 2 mango cheeks instead of the banana for a lighter fluffier mousse. Beautiful especially at this time of year when mangoes are in season

Salted Chocolate Truffles: 

  • Blend everything together in the food processor until well combined
  • Tip: soak your dates first to make sure they are lovely and soft
  • Roll into small balls and place on a parchment lined tray into the freezer to harden
  • Melt your chocolate on the stove
  • Take the truffles from the freezer and drop a couple at a time into the chocolate
  • Roll around to coat using two forks. Lift out and allow excess chocolate to drip off then place on the tray and sprinkle straight away with salt before the chocolate sets

Chocolate Soil

  • Mix everything together in the food processor until combined
  • Lay out on a lined tray and bake in 160C oven for 20 minutes stirring occasionally
  • This makes a generous amount and keeps for months in an airtight container

Cherry Jam

  • Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over a low flame
  • Allow to simmer for 15 minutes, until the cherries have broken down and it all starts to thicken
  • Taste before adding sweetener - in season cherries can be naturally wonderful and sweet, it may not need more

Variation:

If cherries aren't in season you can use any berry - fresh is best but frozen works well too

These quantities are enough for the main even plus leftovers. The truffle recipe makes about 20 depending on what size you roll them and can be stored in the freezer (and are actually delicious eaten frozen too!) The jam and the mousse will last at least 4 days in the fridge. 

Chocolate mousse parfait layered with cherry jam, coconut yoghurt and chocolate soil

To assemble the parfait, lay the soil in the bottom of a glass jar followed by the mousse, jam, add a little coconut yoghurt then top with a little more soil for crunch.

Enjoy!

 

I'd love to know, are you a Valentine's Day lover or loather? 


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