Sunday, December 5, 2010

Synchronicity may have led to chocolate

Written for my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner.

There's a theory called synchronicity, which puts forth that coincidences are actually the universe making necessary connections. I don't know if there's truth to that or if it's just wishful thinking, but lately I've experienced some convenient coincidences.

I'd long been planning a Root Issues food series, and the topics have recently been falling into my lap. A friend is planning to open a local food store. (More on that early next year). Last month, my guest authors sent me a column about global food issues.

Today's coincidence is about chocolate. Not just any chocolate, and certainly not what you buy on impulse as you pass by the checkout counter. No, I've discovered a local (yes!) organic source, and I'm happy to share.

It's called MB Chocolate and it's made this side of Orangeville. It's an artisanal product lovingly crafted in small batches from raw organic cacao. The growing raw food movement recognizes that heat alters or destroys many of the healthiest elements and compounds in food, and seeks instead to preserve them for a healthier diet. This product proves that raw and healthy can also be tasty.

MB augments the natural healthiness of raw cacao with special boosters like an algae called E3Live BrainON, which contains high levels of many very special proteins, enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and essential fatty acids. But their chocolate doesn't taste at all like algae -- it's lightly sweetened with healthy palm sugar and herbal stevia, then flavoured with organic spices like ginger or cayenne and essential oils such as orange, lemon, or mint.

I say lightly sweetened -- this chocolate is far from the sickly-sweet, over-processed confections we often think of as chocolate bars that really don't deserve the title.

No, this is chocolate as it was first conceived, winning favour and acclaim amongst the ancients. This is truly guilt-free chocolate, without the artificial chemicals or processed sugars so common in modern sweets. Those with dietary restrictions can take comfort that it is free of nuts, soy, gluten and lactose. The creaminess comes from cacao butter rather than dairy products.

But back to synchronicity. I would never have known about MB except that they appeared as guests on Rogers Daytime the same morning I was there to promote a community event. I was very interested to learn about their product, and that they were making it near where I grew up, just down the road from my brother-in-law's home.

After trying some samples, I knew I'd have to pass it along. And the good news is that they are ramping up production to meet growing demand. Look for M & B Alchemy at Barrie's own Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, or at their website.

Erich Jacoby-Hawkins is an educator, father, volunteer, and politician.

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