So, I love chocolate. Specifically dark (like 75-90%) chocolate. But I also have read that cocoa will be endangered soon if civilization’s chocolate consumption continues as it has. I also have been trying to eat locally and sustainably, and for someone living in upper Michigan, chocolate doesn’t fit that bill at all.
But, I just roasted some chicory root to use for tea this winter and my wife and I both agree that it smells almost exactly like chocolate. Just fantastic, like warm chocolate brownies fresh out of the oven. I know chicory has some bitterness, but so does cocoa. I know using roasted chicory root as a drink has been quite popular for a long time but can’t find any information about using it as a cocoa substitute. Aside from sometimes being difficult to mill into a fine powder, I see no reason this cant be done. It would be perennial, local, native and sustainable. The entire plant is edible, bees love it and it looks beautiful in flower.
I may have a business idea brewing... haha
Does anyone have any information on if this is being done or, if not, why not? I cant be the first person to think of this!
I suppose it depends on what uses you want to substitute for. The limiting factor would seem to be fast and solubility. E.g whole cocoa beans have the fatty to make all sorts of candy that's solid at room temperature yet melts in your mouth. Chicory will not easily mimic that. However, maybe you could tinker with various cakes and brownie recipes to get baked goods with a "chocolately" flavor from chicory. Its already popular as a coffee filler-- classic Cafe du Monde.
Weeds are just plants with enough surplus will to live to withstand normal levels of gardening!--Alexandra Petri