Taza Chocolate is one of the newer chocolate makers here in the United States, and they have a really impressive idea and method behind their chocolate. Taza obviously takes great pride and care in their work, so the chocolate is not only organic, but it’s also made bean to bar using traditional methods from Mesopotamia America, where chocolate originated. How cool is that? Each bar is handmade in Somerville, MA where the factory headquarters are located. They even have a virtual tour on the website so you can see exactly how your chocolate is made. If that’s not interesting I don’t know what is, as I’m fascinated with everything chocolate and I love how they allow a peek into their processes.
I found these three bars, er, one bar and three discs in Chelsea Market on a recent trip to New York City. I was pretty excited to have found them, as I’ve heard so much about Taza chocolate and I meant to talk with them during last year’s Fancy Food Show, but missed the opportunity. Now at least I have some experience with their chocolate, so I don’t feel so out of the loop anymore.
I want to mention that the process of Taza chocolate that makes this chocolate taste like how our ancestors probably ate it for centuries before the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s. It was at that time machines were made to create enough pressure in the making of chocolate to fully pulverize the sugar crystals in the chocolate to give it that silky, extremely smooth texture we’re used to today. Taza grinds it by stone, so that the chocolate has a more gritty texture than what we’re used to. It didn’t matter much, as chocolate was still consumed as a drink before the advent of machines.
Taza Stone Ground 70% Dark Chocolate:
The bar comes in a simple, yet smart bright red wrapper. On the back there’s a batch # number and location of the cacao beans’ source, in this case it’s Dominican Republic. The ingredients read as: beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole vanilla beans. So simple, I love it.
The chocolate is wrapped beautifully in sturdy silver foil and wax paper. The bar is very dark with a gorgeous red undertones and a very, very subtle gloss. It smells extremely fruity of red berries, citrus with hints of coffee and vanilla.
The break is hard, but not clean, which is expected due to the unique conching process. The chocolate looks very gravelly and evenly textured.
The flavor is awesome. It starts off a little mild and dry, but very sweet with dominant notes of vanilla. Then the flavors creep out toward the middle with strong cherry and strawberry notes, none of which get too strong or powerful, but instead deliver a good tartness that balances with the sweetness. These flavors remain constant until the finish, where you get one last burst of tart from the berry and then a kiss from the sweetness to end it all. The aftertaste is fruity and lingers a little before disappearing.
The texture doesn’t seem too odd for me. Yes, it is a teeny bit sandy in my mouth, as I do get a little grain from the sugar. Overall, I didn’t pay much attention to it since it feels really natural, smooth and creamy to me. Nothing at all like Ibarr or Don Puglisi, which are two other chocolates that have this traditional texture. It’s very nice, but again, not terribly noticeable.
Taza True Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano Disc:
This disci is just like the Mexican classic Ibarra chocolate. Chocolate mixed with cinnamon and sugar that’s formed into tablets for hot chocolate or eating. Even the style of the tablets are similar, as they’re split into pie wedges with the letters of the Taza name falling onto each.
It smells deep and roasted with notes of cocoa and coffee and a little earthiness. Then comes the spice, with the cinnamon smelling fresh and strong. The color of the chocolate is very deep with beautiful red tones and a attractive gloss.
The break is not as hard as most, and the texture is quite sandy, but not anywhere near as textured as Ibarra, where the sugar granules were as big a the ones in your mom’s sugar jar.
The flavor is very complex: it starts of sweet with notes of caramel and cream, then blossoms into extremely fruity flavors of red fruits and citrus. The finish is very tart from the fruit notes, yet mellows a little with some sweetness. All along this ride, the cinnamon delivers a constant sweet spiciness that compliments, rather than overpowers, the chocolate.
Oh, and as a drink, it’s lovely too.
Taza Vanilla Bean Chocolate Mexicano Disc:
Same signature texture here as the other two bars. The flavor is lovely, as it’s very earthy with a strong cocoa flavor with notes of caramel, strawberries, cream. Surprisingly, I don’t get much vanilla flavor in here at all. It’s horribly addictive, so much so that I ate it all as is, and didn’t get to test it as a drink. Oh well, guess I have to buy another!
I loved these bars and the textural differene the stone ground method really keeps this chocolate fresh and exciting. It was like eating a piece of history for me. I am really eager to try the rest of their product line, but I’ll have to be patient as I can’t find them in stores around me. Let the hunt begin!
Rating: Will Buy Again
Links Taza Chocolate