The weather is getting colder, we have survived our first snowfall and the holiday season is in full swing, so I have a nice, relaxing concoction for you: Incan Warrior Hot Chocolate. This velvety hot chocolate, full of Incan (and Mayan) super foods will warm your soul. It will help you de-stress and energize and lift your mood.
The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The administrative, political and military center of the empire was located in Cusco in modern-day Peru. The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century, and the last Inca stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572.
From 1438 to 1533, the Incas used a variety of methods, from conquest to peaceful assimilation, to incorporate a large portion of western South America, centered on the Andean mountain ranges, including, besides Peru, large parts of modern Ecuador, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, north and central Chile, and a small part of southern Colombia into a state comparable to the historical empires of Eurasia.
The official language of the empire was Quechua, although hundreds of local languages and dialects of Quechua were spoken. The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu which can be translated as “The Four Regions” or “The Four United Provinces.”
Many local forms of worship persisted in the empire, most of them concerning local sacred Huacas, but the Inca leadership encouraged the worship of Inti—the sun god—and imposed its sovereignty above other cults such as that of Pachamama. The Incas considered their king, the Sapa Inca, to be the “child of the sun.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Because the Incan civilization stretched across many different regions, there was a great diversity of plants and animals used for cooking, many of which remain unknown outside Peru. The most important staples were various tubers, roots, and grains. Maize was of high prestige, but could not be grown as extensively as it was further north. The most common sources of meat were guinea pigs and llamas, and dried fish was common. (Spruce: Wikipedia)
While my Incan Warrior Hot Chocolate probably wasn’t around when the Incan civilization was thriving, it does contain two Incan super foods: Maca and Lucuma Powder, which is how the name is derived.
Maca is an ancient superfood of the Incan Empire. Maca is the powdered root of the Lepidium Meyenii plant. This superfood, whose taste closely resembles that of a graham cracker, is grown in the high Andes mountains in Peru and is packed with vitamins, minerals, proteins, tannins, complex alkaloids and other phytochemicals. Maca was prized throughout the Incan empire for its adaptogenic-like qualities that enable it to nourish and balance the body’s delicate endocrine system, and to help cope with stress. It also energizes naturally, without the jitters and crashes of caffeine. However, Maca is probably best known for its libido enhancing activity. Maca helps to recharge sexual performance. In fact, recent sexuality tests with animals have been quite dramatic! Maca extracts were fed to mice, none to control mice. Control mice had sex 13 times in three hours… the Maca mice had sex 67 times in 3 hours! Wow! Maca was used by ancient Incan warriors to build strength and increase energy, though, quite interestingly, Incan soldiers were forbidden from using Maca after they were done fighting because it increased their libido too much.
Lucuma was viewed in the ancient Peruvian cosmic vision as a symbol of fertility and creation. It has been honored spiritually and culinarily since ancient times. Traditionally known as the “Gold of the Incas”, the sweet orange and yellow pulpy Lucuma fruit (Pouteria obovata, or Lucuma obovata) creates a rich and creamy texture and imparts a subtle maple and sweet potato flavor. Lucuma is often touted as a rich source of nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin B3, iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals. It also contains protein, antioxidants, and dietary fiber. The Lucuma fruit is naturally sweet, but low on the Glycemic Index, making it a healthy choice for individuals seeking to decrease their sugar consumption. , Lucuma is commonly found at the burial sites of indigenous people, and it is often incorporated into the ancient Incan artwork. Even today, Lucuma is Peru’s most popular ice cream flavor, trumping both vanilla and chocolate.
So, are you ready for the recipe? Below makes two hot steamy mugs full of the most decadent, rich (and healthy) hot chocolate. Note: this recipe was conceived by me. It contains Cacao (see my earlier blog post: http://100lbstoboudoir.com/2014/09/05/cacao-cacao-cacao-what-is-the-difference-between-cacao-and-cocoa/, which is a Mayan superfood and makes the hot chocolate rich, much more akin to a dark chocolate.)
Audrey’s Incan Warrior Hot Chocolate
Serving Size: 2 Mugs
4 Tbls. Raw Cacao Powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
2 Tbls. Maca Powder (I used Gaia Brand)
2 Tbls. Lucuma Powder (I used Navitas Naturals)
32 oz. Vanilla Almond Milk (give or take)
Crushed Candy Cane (I used organic, Trujoy Sweets Peppermint Candy Cane)
1/2 Mini Marshmallows (I used Elyon brand)
Blend Raw Cacao, Maca powder, Lucuma powder and vanilla almond milk in blender. Transfer to saucepan and heat constantly whisking. Pour into two mugs and top both with marshmallows and candy cane. You can omit marshmallows and candy cane and/or add cinnamon stick, cayenne pepper, cacao nibs… let your imagination soar.