There is a special place that each of our cacaos holds in our hearts, and Oaxacan Spice has its place as part of our origin story.
It is deeply woven into the fabric of Ora Cacao's beginning. It all began with a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. Jonas headed there in May 2012 with his then partner, Lena, who was really interested in indigenous handicrafts, especially natural dyes. Upon arriving in Mexico, they got pretty sick and had to rest for a few days in their hotel. On their first day venturing back out, they headed to the zocalo for a meal, where the adventure truly began.
A man named Felix approached them with his naturally dyed and hand-woven fabrics, which sparked conversation. They were so blown away by his intricate work, that Felix, noticing their great interest, invited them back to his village where they could learn more. There, Jonas and Lena were graciously welcomed by Felix and his wife Christina, where they set up camp. For a week, they immersed themselves in traditional small Oaxacan village life, and they got to learn about the village's work with natural dyes and weaving. There are many incredible artisans in this part of Mexico!
Felix at his loom pictured below :)
A Life Changing Invitation
Towards the end of their stay, Christina wanted Jonas and Lena to meet her mother, Maria. Maria, of Zapotec descent, showed them around her permaculture garden and shared how she lived and the foods she was working with; along with that came cacao.
Before Jonas could even tell her he'd never prepared cacao, Maria was grabbing cacao beans and all her tools to prepare cacao the traditional way, this was Jonas's first experience making chocolate!
She showed them how to sort the beans for quality, toast them (though she didn't let them fully help in this since it's such a delicate process), and then as they shared laughter and stories, they hand-peeled the cacao beans until they were ready to be stone-ground which they then mixed with some local honey.
The recipe behind Oaxacan Spice honors this time in Oaxaca with our elder Maria. Many ancient cultures drank cacao hot and spicy, so while this recipe is not from her directly, it honors the tradition of pairing spices with cacao. This recipe originally took the form of a dark chocolate bar that Jonas would melt down to make his very first cups of ceremonial cacao before he even knew this would become his path. Oaxacan Spice cacao is one of our long-standing favorites both of the story behind it and because it brings connection to the heart, represents the healing power of community, and carries some fantastic healing benefits.
Let's take a look!
Benefits of Oaxacan Spice
- Improves circulation, oxygenation, and digestion
- Provides anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal benefits
- Lowers bad cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk of metabolic disease (diabetes, heart disease)
- Reduces (menstrual) pain
- Protects neurons and improves motor function for those contending with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
The next time you drink Oaxacan Spice, may you remember that you are connecting to the old ways of the ancestors of the Americas and are supporting the legacy of elders such as Maria.
Jonas with Maria & her husband :)
Cacao for the Heart & Community