This raw, vegan fig chocolate mousse uses natural ingredients like avocado, coconut milk and cacao for a healthier dessert to eat while you learn about IACP's recent food conference.
It seems hard to believe that I've been doing this Tasting Page thing now for over 3 years. When I returned to LA after living in Paris, I started Tasting Page because I got pretty used to writing about every food and drink item I put in my mouth, and evidently a few people seemed interested as well. So I continued to write about eating and drinking, but now it was with ingredients I could pronounce and in restaurants where I didn't need google translate by my side. A short while later, a few advertisers approached me to try their products, and it was then that I realized that there could be something to this food blogging thing, but it was hard to know where to start. Luckily there are groups like IACP, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, that have created a forum to share information within the food and beverage community. And believe it or not, this will end up tying into a recipe for a creamy vegan fig chocolate mousse.
IACP hosts an annual conference where the food world gathers to exchange ideas and inspiration on how to succeed in the culinary business. I had been thinking about attending an IACP conference for years, but what finally put me over was when I received an opportunity to cover the social media for the conference with Kitchen Play. All I had to do was get myself to Hollywood and Highland each day and tweet out some of the highlights with a team of a fellow bloggers. Check out #TeamIACP for some of that coverage.
Sessions were chock 'o block around the clock Friday - Sunday, and even into the wee hours with a Night Owls session for those looking to milk every last drop. You could learn about podcasting, YouTube, how to work with brands and how to grow generate multiple revenue streams for your blog. You bet I was in there taking names and notes!
The sessions were led by big names in the industry and I often found myself sitting next to someone whose book I read or whose daily email inspiration I receive. The opening keynote was by local KCRW Good Food host Even Kleiman who did her show live with many notables like Nyesha Arrington (chef at Leona and Sambar) who talked about all the new food mash-ups, and then there was LA food expert Jonathan Gold who gave some of his favorite restaurants in the neighborhood like Jitlada, Musso Grill, Loteria, Baroo.
Faith Durand from The Kitchn gave a food trend report with highlights from Instagram in 2015 including some of my favs like cauliflower, coconut and zoodles. In 2016, cabbage is the new kale, turmeric is everywhere and nut milks are all the rage, so glad to see that Tasting Page is on point!
In fact, clean eating was a hot topic of discussion as people are (finally!) looking at their diets as a way to stay healthier since well, food tastes better than pills, and it often has much better results. There were great perspectives from doctors, nutritionists, advertisers, consumers, writers and other influencers. It would have taken me weeks to have read all of that information from each individual on the web, so it was nice to have it all condensed over 3 days in 1 place.
The IACP conference offered strong business building ideas, information on emerging trends in the culinary space and a really nice way to network with fellow movers and shakers. There were plenty of breaks, long meal times and hosted happy hours to talk to others, and of course, eat and drink. Many hot LA restaurants were on site keeping us very well fed, including local produce friends at Melissa's Produce, as well as California Figs who had a really interesting vegan charcuterie spread, featuring the mighty fig.
And that brings me to my fig chocolate mousse. CA Figs handed out some delicious dried Mission figs and I thought they'd be a welcome addition to a healthy, raw cacao, avocado mousse. I've made banana chocolate mousse, but I decided to mix things up with the jammy figs, and adding some coconut milk made it even creamier.
You can play with the amount of liquid to adjust the consistency. If you want more of a thicker pudding-like texture, use less liquid and more will give you a lighter, whipped texture.
It's a healthy, sweet treat that made for a nice dessert after all the learning that went down at IACP. Mark your calendars for next year's IACP conference being held in Louisville March 3 - 5, 2017.
Vegan Fig Chocolate Mousse
Makes about 1-1/2 cups
- 1/2 cup of chopped, dried Mission figs
- 1+ cup of full fat coconut milk (look for BPA-free can)
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled with core removed
- 2 tablespoons cacao
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 drops of stevia or sweetener of your choice
- Salt to taste
- Optional nut topping
- Put all ingredients in a Vitamix or high speed blender and process until smooth. Add more milk or water if you like a lighter consistency. Salt to taste and top with walnuts if desired. Mixture will thicken when refrigerated.
Looking for more healthy desserts? Have a look at these.
*I received free admission to the IACP Conference, but all opinions are always my own.