In spite of the name, Taza is an American company manufacturing, among other things, Mexican-style stone-ground chocolate. Yes, that’s just what it says: the chocolate, from organically grown cacao, is ground between mill stones. Founder Alex Whitmore first ran across stone-ground chocolate on a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, and was so taken with the flavor that he apprenticed with a molinaro in Oaxaca to learn how to make the mill stones and grind the chocolate. In 2005, he opened Taza.
This particular version — Super-Dark, 85% cacao — comes two discs to a package; the discs are scored to enable you to break them into wedges (theoretically: it doesn’t always work out that way).
Color is very dark, and texture is, not unexpectedly, brittle: it really is 85% organic cacao, and 15% organic cane sugar. That’s it: no other ingredients, although the label does specify that it contains traces of almonds, coconut, and hazelnuts.
The mouth feel is somewhat grainy, not unexpectedly, and the flavor is overwhelmingly chocolate. There’s just a hint of bitterness, barely even noticeable unless you’re looking for it, and not much in the way of other flavors — just a bit of earthiness in the aftertaste .
I have to admit I was somewhat surprised at this one: the strongest chocolate I’ve ever had was 70% cacao, and I was thinking that 85% was really pushing it, but quite frankly, for us certified chocoholics, this is a real treat. The texture is somewhat exotic because of the graininess, but rather than being a drawback, it sort of made me wonder what I’d been missing all these years.
Taza is online here. You can find a catalogue of their other products and, happily, retailers that handle Taza products.