Get yourself a little dirty with this loaded up chocolate bar from Yes CaCao. Don't worry—no beets or grit are involved, just earthy and grounding ingredients that will connect you to the essence of joy in the midst of anything the day can throw at you. Sure, chocolate can be mellowing on its own (and it is certainly a powerhouse of antioxidants already), but with botanicals like tulsi and reishi mushroom and maca, this bar takes chocolate to a whole new level. My daily dose of the dark stuff suddenly got a lot more cozy, like a fluffy blanket with a water bottle underneath.
"Dirty" is a loaded term, changing meaning throughout our lives. As a kid it's something to simultaneously avoid and revel in; as an adult the word can indicate risk or grown-up fun. To paleo adults, dirt is suddenly hip: exposure to natural dirt is healthy and downright good. We need exposure to dirt to balance out all that cleanliness modern society wants to foist upon us, all that sanitizer and antimicrobial soap and stuff. The aspect of dirt or being dirty is one way to embrace—temporarily—our naturalness. Whoa. That's pretty deep . . . maybe a bit far for a chocolate bar taste testing, but perhaps not.
This chocolate bar, the Dirty Botanical Bar from Yes CaCao, is a delicious chocolate bar in and of itself with vanilla and ethically sourced cacao beans and coconut sugar for sweetness. And yet, it is filled with goodness and botanicals that make me feel like I'm at home on the earth. It's like walking around barefoot on grass, even if just sitting calmly on that office chair that you didn't choose, taking a break from all of those emails. Or, it's the bar you enjoy when you are already in a happy place, like taking a walk or sitting in the sun. No matter where, the little flavor of peppermint and fennel mellow the tummy while the reishi mushroom and tulsi work their magic on your mood. Maca has also been added to enhance those feelings of well being, and a blend of minerals called Shilajit rounds out the flavor profile. So, yes, this bar is complicated. But not complicated like your ex's in-laws holiday cards to you; rather, it's complicated like a gorgeous weather system rolling over the mountains.
There is, of course, a story. It starts with how chocolate was consumed hundreds and thousands of years ago: as a supplement, not as a treat. Chocolate DOES things to you, and those things are good: it's a vasodilator, meaning its chemical compounds expand the blood vessels. That’s part of the reason you can FEEL chocolate. Instead of using refined sugar, processed emulsifiers, and conventional preservatives (which all penetrate the body with less-than-healthy consequences), it's a better idea to use chocolate as a delivery system for organic herbs, teas, flowers, and superfoods.
Yes CaCao's bar called Dirty is a bar that will never challenge your apprehension for "fancy" chocolate. Why? It starts with a base of seriously amazing dark chocolate: cacao beans plus a sweetener, without any bitterness. And then botanicals are added to the mix to set your neurons a buzzing. Here are some of the highlights:
Yes CaCao sources beans with a team of over 450 wild harvesters throughout Ecuador, in a truly unique system that benefits the soil, the cacao trees, the ecosystem, the workers... all the way to you, goodness through and through. This wild variety is call Arriba Criollo, regionally specific to the Ecuadorian Andes, and known for its exceptional flavor. Our preference for wild cacao stems from our trust in the knowledge of nature. The true aim of organic and biodynamic methods are to emulate the wisdom of the wild. Wild cacao means there are no farms and no plantations. All our beans are sourced from seed propagated trees, thriving in diverse ecosystems, fed by rain and spring water. Supporting this cacao preserves and protects the heirloom varieties we wish to share with our next seven generations and beyond.
Reishi was dubbed "the Medicine of Kings" for its history of treating a variety of health conditions, from fatigue, altitude sickness and coughs, to liver health and insomnia. Reishi has been used in traditional medicine for over 2000 years and it is considered a cardiotonic herb, often prescribed for people with stress and heart conditions.
According to Ayurvedic tradition, tulsi is one of the best herbs to prepare the heart and mind for spiritual practices, treat colds and flu, relieve various skin conditions, and reduce fever. Research on tulsi (aka: holy basil) suggests that it contains powerful antioxidants and may provide protection to the liver. Also, early studies are looking into tulsi's effects on ulcers, blood sugar levels in diabetics, anxiety/stress, cavity prevention, and changes in immune response.
Maca is traditionally known to support hormone balance, and increase libido and energy (similar to ginseng and other adaptogenic foods). This amazing superfood comes from the hardy maca plant, which thrives high in the rugged Andes Mountains. Maca has been a traditional Peruvian health and vitality secret for thousands of years.
The benefits of raw chocolate (compared to cooked) include: much higher levels of antioxidants (oligomeric procynanidins, resveratrol, and the polyphenols catechin and epicatechin) as well as the preservation of vitamin C, phenethylamine (PEA, the feel-good neurotransmitter responsible for the feeling of love), omega 6 fatty acids (which when heated become rancid and cause inflammation), tryptophan (a commonly deficient amino acid in those who consume a diet of mostly cooked food) and serotonin (a neurotransmitter that makes us feel goooood.)
For thousands of years sugarcane was considered a medicinal plant. What? Sugar? Medicinal? Yes. Sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum) is in the grass family of plants, and is very proficient in mineral absorption from the soil. When sugar is commodified and grown in large plantations, the nutrition of the soil is depleted quickly and the sugar cane becomes "hollow", only containing artificial fertilizer "minerals". They source their Sundried Cane Juice Crystals in Ecuador, with producers that champion non-plantation styles of farming. This allows the highly mineralized volcanic soil to allocate nutritional density into each sugarcane stalk. Once the sugar is harvested, the canestalks are juiced in a press, then sundried until crystalized to preserve enzyme activity. With an abundance of organic minerals and available enzymes, this sugarcane honors its historical medicinal nutrition profile.
Yes CaCao uses chocolate as a delivery system for botanical medicine, a vehicle for education, and a reason to praise with a big smiling “Yes!”. The Dirty bar can be enjoyed at any time of the day or night. I'd honestly go through one every single day if left to my own devices and if some magical fairy was delivering them by the caseload. As it is, I enjoy every single little morsel whenever they are around.
Q: What is the recommended serving size of this amazeballs chocolate bar?
A: The serving listed on the wrapper is one bar. Use you own reactions and body to decide how much you'll enjoy at a time.
Justin Frank Polgar: The Minister of Chocolate. Is an an alchemical chocolate technologist!
Focusing his chocolate innovation toward education in the holistic health and wellness category, Justin reallllllly loves chocolate. Making chocolate with Willy Wonka style, he is an inspirational cheerleader for everyone to find their YES.
When he is taking a moment away from his educational art project Yes Life Foods, you will find Justin chanting “YES!”, dancing like a wild child, concocting in the kitchen, getting praisey with Zoë, drinking tea, adventuring to foreign lands, and engaging plant medicine of the old pharmacopoeias. Contact Justin by email at Justin@yescacao.com
Zoë Segal: Director of YES
The muse maker for all our chocolate inventions, and our organizer extraordinaire, Zoe’s passion for YES CACAO is fueled by a deep desire to give the ritual back to cacao. She takes the -Make a Wish and Take a Bite- invitation very seriously and is daily singing YES songs in support of all your chocolate wishes coming to fruition. She leans into the mystery with adventurous curiosity, thriving in depth-filled conversation. Her YES is Justin, dance as prayer, singing nonsense, collecting spoons and overflowing tiny tiny tiny tea cups. She is the Mary Poppins of this chocolate show. To Contact Zoe email: Zoe@yescacao.com
What you see and what you taste is a hand crafted labor of love. Enjoy and remember to..... Make a Wish, then Take a Bite.