Do you know what I love most about Valentine’s day?
Grocery stores finally start carrying good-looking strawberries after the winter hiatus.
Strawberry season here in Oregon does not begin until early summer. But you wouldn’t want to use Oregon berries in this recipe anyways. They tend to be very sweet, small, and flavorful, but have a texture that is much less firm than the berries typically found at the grocery store. They’re perfect for snacking, making a berry crisp, or a strawberry rhubarb compote.
The berries in your grocery store in February are likely coming from warm climates such as Mexico. They are large and firm- just what you need for chocolate dipped strawberries.
I absolutely LOVE chocolate dipped strawberries.
But I have several issues with chocolate dipped strawberries available from specialty stores around Valentine’s day:
- They are expensive! I think the last time I bought one the cost was around $5 per berry. That’s just theft if you ask me!
- The berries aren’t organic. Meaning they are grown with cancer-causing chemicals. Did you know that strawberries are frequently at the top of the Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list?
- They may contain milk. This is especially true if they have a white chocolate drizzle since white chocolate is typically made with milk powder. You don’t want to make yourself or your FODMAP-sensitive honey feel ill on Valentine’s day, do you?
A better option is to make this homemade version for your low FODMAP Valentine’s Day treat!
SIBO & Chocolate
If you are following a SIBO diet, it’s possible that you are under the impression that chocolate is off-limits.
But did you know that Dr. Siebecker (SIBO queen and creator of the SIBO Specific Diet), shared at the 2016 SIBO Symposium that cocoa is usually well-tolerated by those with SIBO. But everything in moderation, please!
So what does moderation mean when it comes to chocolate and SIBO?
Well, according to Monash University, 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder is low FODMAP. That means if you stick to a serving size that is not more than 1/6 of this recipe, you will remain well within the FODMAP limits. Basically, if you are trying to be extra careful, indulge in no more than 3 chocolate covered strawberries per sitting.
The other thing to think about besides FODMAPs when it comes to moderation of chocolate is the sugar content. While this recipe contains no refined sugar, that doesn’t mean you are completely out of the water.
Our bodies process maple syrup in a similar way to refined sugar. The difference is that maple syrup contains a little more in the way of nutrition. But too much sugar is still too much sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends that women limit daily added sugar consumption to not more than 6 teaspoons. For men, the recommendation is to limit sugar to not more than 9 teaspoons.
So if you indulge in 3 dark chocolate strawberries, you’ll be getting about 2 teaspoons of added sugar. In my opinion, that’s a healthy balance between mental and physical health.
Chocolate’s Health Benefits
Isn’t it wonderful when something that tastes so good is also good for you?
Chocolate is one of those things- especially if we are talking about dark chocolate.
Let’s learn about chocolate :
- The cacao tree and it’s dried seeds are called cacao before processing and cocoa after processing. When you make food from cacao or cocoa, it’s called chocolate.
- Cacao is unprocessed and more nutritious than cocoa.
- Cocoa butter is the fat found in chocolate. Unlike “butter”, cocoa butter is not a dairy product.
- One of the primary fats found in cocoa butter is oleic acid which has beneficial effects on lipid (cholesterol) levels.
- Cocoa has more flavonoids (a type of antioxidant) than does wine or green tea.
- It is rich in potassium, phosphorous, copper, iron, zinc, and magnesium.
- Cocoa contains stress-reducing valeric acid.
- Higher cocoa intake has been associated with lower rates of heart disease.
- Chocolate promotes serotonin production which can have a calming effect.
- 1-2 lb (*see note) large strawberries, washed & thoroughly dried
- ½ cup (75 grams) raw cacao butter (**I recommend Sunfood Superfoods)
- ¼ cup raw cacao powder (**I recommend Holy Kakow)
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup (I used Costco Organic Amber Grade A)
- Optional toppings: unsweetened cacao nibs (my favorite!), unsweetened shredded coconut, raw shelled hemp seeds, finely chopped nuts (such as pecans, walnuts, peanuts, almonds, or macadamia nuts)
- Find a small metal mixing bowl that will fit over a small saucepan. Fill the saucepan with an inch or two of water and bring to a boil. Place the mixing bowl over the top to create a double broiler.
- Add cacao butter to metal mixing bowl. The cacao butter will slowly melt. Be careful not to let any water drop into the cacao butter.
- Once the cacao butter has melted, whisk in the maple syrup and cacao powder until no lumps remain.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip strawberries into chocolate and transfer to lined baking sheet. Sprinkle immediately with optional toppings.
- Cool in refrigerator at least 1 hour or until chocolate has hardened.
**Quality of ingredients is very important in this recipe. Higher quality cacao powder and cacao butter will yield more robust flavor.
 Latif R. Chocolate/cocoa and human health: a review. Neth J Med. 2013;71(2):63-8.
 Monash University Low FODMAP App. Accessed 02-10-2018.