Legend has it that the Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 small cups of cocoa a day as an aphrodisiac and to boost his energy. I figure at least some of this had to be consumed at breakfast. Of course, that was 500 years ago and cocoa was so expensive that only kings could afford this excess. When chocolate was first introduced to Europe it was mainly consumed in the evening as a decadent after-dinner drink. Still, there were eventually signs of more creative use of chocolate like this:
“When you have breakfasted well and fully, if you will drink a big cup of chocolate at the end you will have digested the whole perfectly three hours later, and you will still be able to dine..Because of my scientific enthusiasm and the sheer force of my eloquence I have persuaded a number of ladies to try this, although they were convinced it would kill them; they have always found themselves in fine shape indeed, and have not forgotten to give the Professor his rightful due.”
Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)
The Physiology of Taste (1825)
We’ve come a long way since then and today chocolate is relatively inexpensive and accessable to all. So the time has come to enjoy organic chocolate at breakfast and I’m not just talking about hot chocolate.
Here are some ideas for the creative use of cocoa nibs at breakfast. If you recall, cocoa nibs are the coarsely – ground bits of roasted cacao beans that are bitter, nutty and full of true minimally processed cocoa flavor. I tasted some organic chocolate covered nibs from Pacari earlier this year and loved them, but you don’t want to use coated nibs . You want to use uncoated nibs like the Taza organic cocoa nibs I used to make an organic chocolate martini.
Organic Cocoa Nibs on Granola
This is real simple:
- 1 cup of granola
- 1 -2 tablespoons cocoa nibs such as Taza’s organic roasted nibs.
Toss the nibs around with the granola, add milk or soy milk and enjoy. Most pre-boxed granolas have enough sugar in them to balance out the astringent bitterness of the nibs, and you will enjoy a real lively contrast to the run of the mill granola (I think that was a pun). I found the nutty texture and the cocoa aroma that came up from the bowl rather pleasing. Of course you can get decent granola at any good market or mix your own to avoid the added sugar. The website MixMyGranola.com lets you design your own mixtures or order premixed cereals.
Oatmeal with Organic Cocoa Nibs
Another civilized and healthy way to get your organic chocolate in the morning is to mix it with oatmeal. I stopped adding dark chocolate chips to my oatmeal (a tradition introduced by my own mother, no less) when my wife insisted that I was setting a bad example for the kids, but in my mind this discussion is not over. At any rate, if you put a small cocoa nib into a child’s mouth, they will soon spit it out, so there is no worry that they will be begging for nibs every morning. This will make two servings:
- 1 cup organic oats
- 2 cups water
- 2-4 tablespoons organic cocoa nibs
- Butter to taste (optional)
- Brown sugar to taste (recommended)
Mix in the nibs after the oatmeal is cooked. I like the granola, but I liked this even better. The nibs are subdued and coated by the oatmeal and the contrast between the soft oatmeal and the nibs is much more dramatic than with oatmeal. Something about the warmth of the oatmeal and the aromatic nuttiness of the organic nibs makes this an exotic comfort food.
So break out of your morning routine and add some excitement with chocolate – the breakfast of champions.
Notes:  Actually, you can try it if you want. I haven’t tried it with coated nibs, but the coating would certainly melt away in oatmeal, so it seems like a waste, right?  I paid for all of the ingredients myself.