Saturday, May 5, 2012

Taza Chocolate Mexicano Guajillo Chili

2.7oz (77g) in two disks
Ingredients: Organic cacao beans, o. cane sugar, o. guajillo chili powder

Corporate Info: (Altered from 8/27/11) Taza Chocolate is pretty lovely. The chocolate comprises only organic ingredients, sources its cocoa beans using a variation on fair trade principles called Direct Trade, was made in the U.S., and is wrapped in recycled paper (and foil) or just old-school wax paper. It's neat tasting, too: Rather than being smooth throughout, the chocolate is made from stone-ground cocoa beans and not conched, both of which make for a gritty chocolate with discernible sugar crystals. Taza produces dark bars; Chocolate Mexicano Discs that are just sugar, cacao, and flavorings; and baking chocolate and other items, including a neat Chocolate Mexicano Extract.

This Bar: In the past I've only had Taza's plain bars, but I saw a (fairly minor) sale on the Chocolate Mexicano Discs and use it as an excuse to finally buy several. Today's “bar” contains guajillo chili, which one site says has “either a green-tea or fruity flavor, with hints of berries”; Taza claims the disk has “powerful notes of citrus and smoke, with a slow-to-develop heat that's assertive but not overwhelming.” Oh, and this bar is lower than my usual cacao requirement, only 50%.

Appearance: Rich, orangey-brown with slight gloss.

Smell: Beany, a little roasted, almost coffee-ish. I don't smell chili.

Taste: First, Taza's signature gritty, stone-ground texture. As for flavor, for me, sweetness can often get in the way of discerning other elements, and this is indeed sweet, but it still has a really dark quality, probably because of the rawness and roasted flavors. The chili is super-integrated, more like an enhancement of the chocolateyness: I do get a little tart, rounded fruit, and smokey vibe, and just a little warmth on the back of the throat—I wouldn't even call it spicy, only warm. Unless you're super sensitive to heat and chili flavors, you might not even notice the chili, just thinking of the chocolate as really complex and sour-fruity-earthy-toasty. Very cool.

Conclusion: Despite its relatively high sugar level and added chili powder, Taza Chocolate Mexicano Guajillo Chili just tastes like a super-complex, tart-fruity-earthy-roasted, close-to-the-tree chocolate.

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