Raw Chocolate Mousse & Berry Parfaits (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Creamy, thick chocolate mousse piled and layered with berries freshly picked and still warm from the sun. The mousse has a milky, almost malt flavor. The crunchy cacao nibs on top are acidic and dark. Sweet and bright, cream and malt, acid and crunch. Although I ate this in my skivvies in front of my blowing A/C, I was imagining that I was digging into it on the beach with a pint of nectarine prosecco sangria -- shaded by a big umbrella and listening to the waves loping on the shore.
Our power is out. I'm writing this in a cafe because we have no wifi at home. Last night we heard a loud POP like a gunshot and about half of the street shut down. I watched from the window as the neighbors walked out on their porches, looking around to see who else had gone dark. Logan and I shrugged and went out for sushi and overpriced cocktails. It would come back on soon, right? We came back, flicked the switch for the fan -- which didn't turn on -- and proceeded to fill the living room with glowing tea candles. So much for my plans to make brownies.
I lied on the floor, splayed out like a starfish in my underwear and a long shirt. It was humid and the post-rain breeze coming through our windows pooled on the floor before slowly rising up to cool the room. Logan played guitar, stared into the dim room, sipped a beer.
There's a street light outside of our house that spills orange light over the pavement and into our space, so for this night only out of all of the other nights we've lived in this house we had total darkness. We could sense the natural blue hue of the air, the moon like a glowing biscuit in the freckled sky. We slept as though off-the-grid (which we were) -- that is, without any electrical disturbances entering our deep dream states.
An unexpected vacation from the digital, the electric. So today I pleasure read. I finally started writing in the beautiful leather journal my dad got me for Christmas (the sort of thing I tend to reserve for special thoughts). I made an excessively luxurious breakfast of coffee, french toast and crepes with fruit and all the fixins.
Who are we, separate from our digital lives? Do you ever take time to think about it? Are we writers, friends, comedians, photographers, lovers, movers, shakers? Or are we staring at the ceiling, laying on the floor just to feel the breeze? Are we staring at the stars? Are we travelers, homebodies, bakers?
I ask this as I sip a green tea in a bustling coffee shop surrounded by folks plugged into their devices. And all I know is that I feel most free when my cell phone dies, or when I can't connect to the internet let alone the lights. My whole body seems to exhale a big sigh of relief that there's nothing digital to check and that the only people I'm obligated to connect to are those physically around me.
So I've made this mousse with the intention that it be eaten unplugged, slowly, staring at the stars. If you can manage it, it tastes great with some toasted marshmallows topping it off if you just so happen to find yourself around a campfire. This dessert travels well, so find yourself a respite (beach, mountain, forest, rooftop) and dig in. You can portion out mason jars of it and pack it up for your venture, but it's best when very cold, either straight out of the fridge or straight out of the ice chest.
- 1/2 medium ripe avocado
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 4-6 soft medjool dates pitted
- pinch Celtic sea salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 vanilla bean scraped of its seeds OR 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 cups berries, depending on your preference (I used blueberries and raspberries and strawberries, but it would be excellent with sliced fresh figs, blackberries, and/or sweet cherries)
- cacao nibs, to top
- In a blender, combine the avocado, coconut milk, pitted dates, sea salt, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Blend until the mix is smooth and creamy.
- Refrigerate for 3 hours up to overnight or so for a thick, mousse-like texture (you can eat it immediately for a more pudding-like texture).
- Layer with berries in your serving glasses.
- Top with cacao nibs. Serve!