Friday, January 1, 2010

Taza Chocolate Stone Ground Organic Chocolate 80% Dark

3oz (85g) bar
Ingredients: Cacao beans (Dominican Republic), cane sugar, cocoa butter, whole vanilla beans. (All certified organic.)

I found this bar at a specialty chocolate shop, and at $8.00 ($2.66/oz) it was one of the most expensive I’ve considered. (I later saw it for a few cents less elsewhere.) I was able to taste it in the store, and I elected to buy it despite its high price because of the stone-ground texture, which was unlike that of other chocolate I’d eaten.

Taza Chocolate’s 80% bar is gritty and almost dusty; whatever roasting and other processing may go into it, to me the texture makes it taste more “raw” than smoother, creamier bars. The flavor is also somewhat challenging, because it has a clear sour note, coming across as bright rather than deeply fruity, with a bit of a bitter aftertaste. (I’ll be interested to see if this flavor profile will show up in other single-source bars from the Dominican Republic.) Because of the texture, the sugar's sweet counterpoint is distinguishable from the sour and bitter flavors—it’s almost as though the bar's flavors sit side by side in a mixture rather than being melded into one taste experience.

Conclusion: Taza Chocolate’s 80% bar is challenging and relatively expensive, so it’s not for everyone and won’t be a Chocolate Basket staple. On the other hand, if you’re interested in trying something different I’d recommend searching it out. Besides, it’s just a chocolate bar--it’s not like you’ll have to skip a car payment for this sort of luxury.

*You can read more about Taza Chocolate’s bean-to-bar process here.

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