A friend brought this Taza Chocolate bar back from the States and we tried it together in a café, hence me not having any photos of the full unopened bar here. But sharing this particular bar with someone who is just getting into fine chocolate was a great opportunity to get feedback on a chocolate that’s really quite different from other bean to bar chocolate.
Taza make their chocolate by coarsely grinding cocoa beans in granite mills. They don’t refine or conch the chocolate the way most chocolate makers would, so the result is a texture quite different from what you would normally look for in a chocolate bar. Where other chocolate makers look to create the smallest possible particle size so the chocolate melts evenly and has the perfect ‘snap’ when you break it, Taza’s approach is much more minimalistic closer to the chocolate bars we had 100 years ago.
My friend wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. As you can see, the exterior of the bar has a nice finish – aside from the bits that come from carrying the opened bar around in my bag all day. It’s not the glossiest chocolate in the world, but at first glance it looks like any other bar. But bite into a piece though and you can feel the particles on your tongue. And when you take a closer look at the cross-section of a broken pice, you can clearly see the texture, along with tiny crystals of sugar that are still separate from the cocoa.
This chocolate doesn’t melt in your mouth so much as dissolve. It doesn’t coat the tongue the way a normal chocolate does, but as soon as it hits the moisture in your mouth it starts to fall apart before very quickly dissolving to nothing. This process is much quicker than a normal chocolate melt, and the result is that it releases its flavour in a short, intense burst. And it’s a fantastic flavour.
It’s 60% cocoa solids, so it’s quite sweet, but there’s also a natural sweetness from the Dominican Republic cocoa. But the overwhelming flavour is an intense fruitiness that fills your mouth with joy. If you didn’t know better, it’s the kind of chocolate that you might think had added fruit flavours in it. I adore it.
That said, the texture is certainly an acquired taste, but if you approach it with an open mind then it’s a taste you can acquire very quickly. I would have no hesitation putting this bar on my ‘must try’ list for anyone just getting into the world of fine chocolate. Partly because it shows a very different approach to chocolate making, but mainly because it’s one of the nicest cocoa flavours I’ve experienced in a very long time. It’s not easy to come across outside the US, but it’s certainly a bar you should seek out.