Naked Treats for Valentine's Day

Just chai and resist this cupcake.
Make no mistake about it: I love the raw foods at Thrive, including the raw zucchini pasta, but what I love even more is sweets. And while I detest the term raw food movement for its geopolitical undertones, I am definitely an advocate for eating pure, uncooked foods every now and again (hey, I'm eating the 12-egg omelet at Beth's tomorrow morning. I've got to keep my insides clean today, at the very least!). I've been a fan of Thrive since discovering their raw ice-cream sundae last October, followed by their raw Coconutty shake in December. Since then, they're my go-to place for raw and vegan meals as well as decadent desserts.

Exhibit A: Thrive's raw cupcakes ($2.99/ea). The current flavor is Chai Chocolate--a dense treat made from cashews, chai tea, almonds, agave, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, salt, coconut oil, dates, cacao powder, and almond milk. The tiny, two-bite cupcake tastes more like a mousse cup than a cupcake. As you can imagine, there is no gluten in raw foods, so anytime you are presented with the promise of "cake," you should expect a very dense coconut/date mixture, flavored accordingly.

Not surprisingly, the coconut flavor is the most prevalent in these cupcakes. The "cream cheese" frosting is a close second, and by far the best part for me because it honestly tasted like cream cheese, complete with tang. But even more fabulous than the faux-cream-cheese part of my Valentine's Day treat treasure trove was something more heartfelt.

Eat your heart out.
It was a little heart-shaped raw cookie called a Superhero Heart ($2.99). It too was incredibly tiny, but had the texture and taste of a traditional cookie. The Superhero Heart is made from sprouted pumpkin and sunflower seeds, vanilla extract, and other raw things before raw chocolate is drizzled on top. (UliMana and Chocolatl are both examples of extraordinary raw chocolate, in my opinion). The chocolate tasted so good with the ground-nut mixture that I propose the Thrive staff start dipping those hearts in chocolate in addition to drizzling them with it.

What I found surprising about these Superhero Hearts was how moist they were. I fully expected a bunch of sprouted nuts to taste dry and crumbly, but the one I had was soft like any other freshly made cookie should be. Instead of the oven, this heart-shaped treat came fresh out of the refrigerator, and tasted like a cross between a chocolate-chip cookie and a pecan-sandie shortbread.

Thrive is filled with raw treats for Valentine's Day. The cupcakes are selling out, but there is literally something for everyone on your sweet-tooth list, whether it be chocolate-dipped strawberries, chocolate truffles, or individual slices of pie. The beauty of all this natural, non-toxic, non-hydrogenated, non-bloat-inducing naked food is that you won't actually mind getting naked after you indulge. Both food and sex should be raw once in a while, right, Jay Friedman?

UPDATE: I was just informed by Thrive management that those were not chai cupcakes as I had been led to believe, but banana walnut cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Besides the obvious banana and walnut, ingredients include dates, coconut oil, vanilla extract, almond, cacao powder, cashew, agave, lemon, and lecithin.

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