Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taza Chocolate

Taza Chocolate may be the greatest chocolate in the world.

And it's made right near me, in Somerville, MA!

I discovered this stuff last night. Why is it so great, you ask? Well, it's 100% organic and stone-ground. Not that I care so much about the "100% organic" tag, but in this case, it means the chocolate is made from the best ingredients. The best cacao beans, the best cane sugar (real sugar and not beet sugar or corn syrup), real vanilla and cinnamon (most of what we think of as "cinnamon" is in fact cascia, but that's another post).

They use authentic Oaxacan stone mills to grind the beans, instead of steel refiners. It's minimally processed, and they don't conch. "Conching" is a process that gives chocolate its characteristic velvety mouthfeel. Taza Chocolate, because it's stone-ground, has a unique texture--almost sandy, because larger particles of chocolate and sugar remain. That's actually good, because the larger particles pop in your mouth, making the flavor much more explosive.

They also light-roast the beans. Most chocolate, like most coffee, is dark-roasted, to disguise poor-quality beans. That bitter, heavily-roasted aftertaste you get from Starbucks? That's from crappy coffee beans. It's like cooking a poor-quality steak to well-done, to disguise the poor-quality meat. (Which is why you should never order a well-done steak in a restaurant, but that's another post, too.) Most dark chocolate tastes sort of, you know, dark. It's faintly bitter, which is why a lot of people don't like dark chocolate. That's because of the dark roast. Taza's light roast allows the true flavor of the cacao to shine through. In its un-messed-with state, it's almost fruity.

So, to sum up: this chocolate tastes like (and is) real chocolate, and not like a Hershey's milk-and-sugar bomb.

Basically, this is really, really good chocolate. It uses the best ingredients, and they don't process the hell out of it. This is chocolate the Aztecs would have recognized. Go buy some and eat it.

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