Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Chocolate . . . Again

Having read about Taza Stone Ground Organic chocolate, I was happy to find it recently at Fairway, on New York's Upper West Side (at $5.99 per bar!). My French teacher Caroline (a chocolate expert) and I sampled their 60%, 70% and 80% bars in a recent tasting. She was skeptical because Taza is made by an American company in Massachusetts, not the normal pedigree for a great chocolate.

Our findings: All had an extraordinary granular mouth feel which made the flavor seem to pop more than in conventional chocolate, and also resulted in a very long after-taste. We both loved the 70%, which was beautifully balanced and lingered delightfully in the mouth. The 60% tasted very sweet. The 80% left a bitter after-taste, although the texture was surprisingly good for such a high cacao percentage chocolate.
Taza chocolate does not taste like others. Here is the company's description of why:

"Our chocolate making process is unique. Taza chocolate is stone ground and minimally processed, and we do not conch [a fine grinding process]. We use authentic Oaxacan stone mills instead of steel refiners to grind our cacao. Due to the imperfect surface of a granite millstone, unrefined cacao particles and sugar granules remain in the finished chocolate. These pop with explosive flavor on the palette, lending our bars their distinctive granular texture."

Works for me. But not for everyone: my wife did not like any of the bars we sampled, finding all of them too sweet. Not surprisingly, she preferred the 80%, which I found to be bitter, over the others.

Bobby Jay

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