Monday, February 28, 2011

Taza 60% Cocoa Bar:

One unique bean-to-bar chocolate maker that is headquartered in Somerville, MA – not far from where I lived when I was in grad school, is Taza Chocolate. They’re unique in that they use a stone-grinding method for their chocolate production, which reflects a traditional Mexican style instead of the European preparation methods that (usually and hopefully) result in super-smooth chocolate.

They offer many chocolates in varying cocoa percentages and also offer several discs with flavor enhancements. Though I’ve picked up several Taza products, I elected to start my tasting adventure with their 60% Cocoa Stone Ground Dark Chocolate Bar.

In addition to the stone grinding approach, a neat feature of this bar comes from the packaging, which informs the consumer that the beans are sourced from the Dominican Republic.

Knowing that the bar maker is closely associated with the sourcing of the beans they use in production, I was left to do more hands on research, and opened the wrapper. I was greeted with a very fruity aroma.

There is certainly a hint of cherry in the taste, as well as some coffee. But what about the texture resulting from stone-grinding? It’s very, very different from most fine, artisan chocolates, in that it is gritty, but it is not grainy; further, it’s obvious that high-quality cocoa butter is involved, as the bar is quite soft. As coarse bits of cocoa float throughout the bar, the flavor comes across even more intensely, and I can see the appeal of the stone-grinding approach even if I enjoy smooth chocolates myself.

Have you had stone-ground chocolate before?

15 comments:

  1. I've, once again, never even heard of that type of chocolate.....it sounds very interesting though. I wouldn't mind doing a side-by-side test of a european chocolate with a stone ground chocolate....=D

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  2. There's actually several of us smaller chocolate makers who employ stone grinding to grind chocolate, but Taza is unique in the type of grinder they use. They use a traditional mexican molino grinder in which the cocoa mass passes between two rotating stones, while most use a stone melanger in which the chocolate is ground under stone wheels rolling on a stone base.

    This picture shows the chocolate coming out of the bottom of the molino:

    http://bit.ly/ign1pD

    This picture shows a large melanger (much, much larger than the ones I currently use):

    http://bit.ly/goD1qM

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  3. Haha, I'm with fitchocoholic, we should do a side-by-side comparison of european chocolate vs. stone ground chocolate. Personally, I'm a fan of smooth chocolate with a crunch (like Toblerone chocolates).

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  4. I have been eating Taza Chocolates for a couple years now & really like them. I especially like the round disks of chocolate they sell - and vanilla is my favorite flavor.

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  5. I've never heard of stone ground chocolate before - - it kind of sounds like using a mortar & pestle for herbs?

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  6. Oooh I've not heard of stone ground choccie before either! Sounds good!

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  7. As you know, I recently reviewed Taza's Yerba Mate and would love to try more, but alas! Neither Taza nor any other stone-ground chocolates are available to me in Australia. I do love reading your reviews though :)

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  8. I've never heard of this type of chocolate before, but it sounds awesome! Will have to keep my eyes open for it :)

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  9. See, I totally didn't get on with this bar at all and gravitated to the Soma Old School bar over this one. I just could not get on with it at all. Mayve I'll do the 70% you reviewed at the end of the month but... Mmmmm...

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  10. @Ben Thanks for the info - I noted it in my review of their 70% bar.

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  11. @Jessica I love the discs too - those reviews are coming up over the next few days, so you'll find out my favorite :).

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  12. @Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin Yes, it's a very similar effect - I think it draws out the flavor a bit better, too. Ben's description is helpful.

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  13. @Mostly About Chocolate Blog I actually think the 70% had the best flavor of all their bars. Go for it.

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