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  • HOME
    • LOCAL EATS IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL VALLEY

    • LOCAL LIBATIONS INCLUDING BEER, WINE, MILK & COFFEE

    • FOOD FOR THOUGHT

    • GARDENING. EVENTS. TRAVEL. SHOPPING. MEET YOUR MAKERS.

    • FIND STORIES ABOUT LOCAL FOOD, FARMS, CHEFS, ARTISANS AND MORE IN OUR PAST ISSUE ARCHIVE.

    • FRESH, LOCAL, SEASONAL RECIPES AND KITCHEN INSPIRATION.

    • SUBSCRIBE TO THE MAGAZINE AND NEVER MISS AN ISSUE.

    • WHO WE ARE – HOW TO ADVERTISE – CONTACT US

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NOTABLE EDIBLES

CACAO BLISS

Maker Chelsea Connor pours three cups of her elixir, Cacao Tonic. Photo by Noel Kenny.

Jars of Kismet Cacao’s Cacao Tonic are whopping big—enough for over two dozen cups of the hot, thick, delicious drink. That’s less than a dollar per cup. I’m drinking a cup as I write. There’s a tagline on the label, and on the Kismet Cacao website, “a bliss-enhancing drinking cacao.” I’m feeling it.

The tagline also alludes to nutritional analyses that register the plentiful antioxidants, anandamide (aka the “bliss molecule”), polyphenols, and minerals in cacao. A half dozen ingredients comprise maker Chelsea Connor’s mixture, all organic. In order, these are raw arriba nacional cacao paste, Ceylon cinnamon, Tahitian vanilla bean, lion’s mane mushroom extract, Redmond real salt, and stevia. Connor’s arrival at this combination involved kismet, and a long trail of it. Says she, “There’s been almost no resistance in every part of the process” of bringing her cacao tonic to market.

The process began in 2017, as Connor was finishing up her degree in nutritional science at Cal State, LA. Perhaps as a result of her studies, she seems particularly attuned to how her body and spirit respond to her food and drink. She suspected at the time that she was using coffee and matcha to distract herself from stress she was feeling as a student, rather than looking within to address it, because despite taking in a lot of caffeine, she was exhausted.

She felt remarkably better after just a week without. She found, though, that she missed a warm morning drink and she craved the bitter creaminess of her lattes. She turned to cacao.

One influence may have been the university classes she took that earned her, alongside her degree, a certificate in alternative nutrition, taught by a Chinese biochemist, physician, and acupuncturist, who schooled students about herbs and other functional and super foods. The more her research taught her about cacao, its nutritional and spiritual functions, the more she felt drawn to the plant, with its centuries-long history as a plant ally to humans across cultures. Her studies also emphasized cacao’s nutritional benefits. Her first taste of Peruvian cacao led to an aha! moment, and she’s been drinking cacao tonics daily since.

While she concocts different tonics for herself, for Kismet Cacao, she has fashioned a consistent mixture from the highest quality ingredients she can find: cinnamon from Ceylon, vanilla from Tahiti, salt from an ocean bed in Utah; with all the ingredients, she has assured organic provenance; and, in the case of the cacao, paste from a single origin, family farm.

It’s clear that intention underlies Connor’s mixture. She suggests we likewise drink it with intention, quietly, focused on the act of drinking it, daily or as needed. She has made it to serve you. I took mine today in heated raw milk. When Connor first served it to me, she used coconut milk; her parents add the cacao tonic to their morning coffee—so there seem as many ways to enjoy it as there are people to drink it.

KISMET CACAO is available online through kismetcacao.com, where you can also learn more about the tonic’s ingredients, find various recipes for enjoying it, and read more about how Chelsea came to make the tonic. Also check out her Instagrams, @kismetcacao and @houseofnourishment.