Taza Chocolate

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I’ve been a little lax in my duties around here reporting on chocolate. In my defense, I’ve been sidetracked by bacon, seaweed, and kimchi. But man cannot live by chocolate alone.

Even in Paris.

Speaking of chocolate, when I was doing research for my chocolate book, it was challenging to find people to talk about what they do. I met with one representative from a big chocolate company who said he would only talk to me, and let me visit, if I only wrote about their company in the book. (Uh…sure!)

When I was writing my ice cream book, I called a gelato chain here in Paris, asking if I could come in and see how they make their ice cream to include them in the book. After much hemming and hawing, I never heard back.

It’s always after the book comes out, you become a popular fellow. I seem to be always behind the curve on these things.


Lucky for me, some of the new chocolatiers are sending me bars to taste. (And the dude from the place mentioned above got the boot…) After sampling a few, I must continue to say how impressed I am with the care that these pioneers in the states are taking when crafting these small-batch chocolates.

Mexican-Style Chocolate

Taza Chocolate sent me a bar and included a round of their Mexican-style chocolate, whose instructions said to “grate three wedges…into two cups steaming milk or water.” A bit suspect of those meager proportions, I cut the liquid in half to one cup, and kept grating and melting until it tasted right to me. I ending up using the whole disk. (About 3 oz.) I let the chocolate mixture simmer a bit and got sidetracked reading e-mails (so it was all your fault), and smelled something delicious a-brewing.

“Gee, whatever is it that they’re cooking downstairs, it sure smells good.” And I kept scrolling and reading.

A few minutes later, I’m thinking, “Hmm, whatever it is they’re making down there, I think they’re about to burn it.”

Moments later, they probably wondered what that mad scramble was coming from above, which was me bolting towards the stove: I just barely rescued the pot and the chocolat chaud méxicain from becoming an addition to the grande poubelle de Paris.

The good news is that the hot chocolate was luxuriously thick and rich—and delicious. I don’t know how long it was simmering (…5…10 minutes?…), but it was really much better than had I not cooked it close to the edge of darkness. There was a barely-perceptible hint of cinnamon, which if the tag didn’t tell me was in there, I wouldn’t have known. And it was far, far better than those sweet, colorfully packaged, disks of Ibarra chocolate, whose box is far more interesting than the sugar-laden tablets of chocolate inside.

70% Bar

Later I tore open the 70% chocolate bar I’ve been eying on my chocolate shelf here for the past few weeks, which was decidedly on the fruity side rather than ‘roasty’, like so many other chocolates. This is because Taza light-roasts their organic beans, so rather than having a dominant roasted flavor (like over-roasted coffee, which disguises lousy beans), the fruitiness of the cacao really shines through.

It also wasn’t as dry as some of the other high-percentage chocolates; too much cacao can make a bar too acidic and harsh. This had none of those bad qualities and instead I tasted lots of ripe, lush fruit, mainly raisin, cassis, and dark cherry flavors with a pleasant little crunch of sugar, perhaps because of the organic sugar cane used, which is more stubborn to dissolve than it’s white, refined counterpart. A French friend who tasted it didn’t believe me when I told them there was no fruit added; he was really surprised that the tablet was pure chocolate.

I was surprised I let it sit so long around here without giving it a taste. And now I want more.

Taza Chocolate
561 Windsor Street
Somerville, MA

Related posts…

A Video Tour of Taza Chocolate from the Boston Globe

Visiting Theo Chocolate

Interview with Frederick Schilling of Dagoba Chocolate

My Parisian Hot Chocolate Recipe

Chocolate FAQs

Chocolatiers and Chocolate Makers: My thoughts about who’s making fine chocolate here and there

A recipe for the easiest chocolate ice cream ever!

31 comments

  • I’m so jealous :-) You do receive chocolate by mail. If you have any leftovers I would be more than happy to help you out.
    Happy Easter David!

  • Thanks so much for this review! They are right in my neighborhood! I read about them in the Globe, but then promptly forgot about it. I appreciate hearing your endorsement.

    On another note…would you please do something about that euro so that I can go back to Paris for a vacation? Thanks very much.

  • So, how many cups can I make if I shave off only three wedges at a time as opposed to the whole disc? I want to order it but I also want to know if I can make this disc last.

  • I’ll have to check out the way this thick chocolate is done. I had a few in Palermo and never managed to find a place doing the same thing in France !

  • If you really want more of this Taza stuff, let me know, since I live in the greater Boston area.
    Also maybe, you might want to check out more chocolatiers in this area as well…..I might have to visit them as well…..

  • I’ve been a long time reader of your site, and finally have something interesting enough to leave a comment about! I thought you’d get a kick out of this kid in minneapolis who’s making chocolate *from scratch* (from raw cocoa beans to the finished, beautiful product) all on his own. It’s insane, and just heavenly. He makes every bar at the same percent, but with different, single source beans. Thought you’d find it interesting. Story
    here

  • The link to your apartment slide show disapperaed! Please bring it back!

  • Since I live in Boston, I’ll bring some Taza with me when I come to Paris in June and swap you for some of your caramel fleur de sel hot chocolate if you have any left, been dying to try it! :)

  • Suzy: I read a few write-ups that the tours are a lot of fun. I’d be over there tomorrow morning if I lived in the ‘hood!

    Randy: The slide show at Apartment Therapy is still up. I don’t think they’re quite done with me, yet.

    Mara: People don’t realize they can make their own chocolate. It just takes a coffee grinder. Or for the hardcore, there’s Chocolate Alchemy.

    Sandra: I have a few more bars to get through around here before I can think about adding more to the stash : )

    Suzy: I think you’re asking the wrong person for help on that : (

    Babeth: Bonne pâques!

    Gonzague: It’s pretty simple, and with all the chocolate around here, it shouldn’t be too difficult. (Bonne pâques, aussi!)

  • Have you tasted “Patric” chocolate from Columbia, MO? Would like to read your comments, if you have. Our Slow Food convivium had a presentation and tasting.

  • Come stay with me and we can take the tour together. Or we could swap homes and I’ll eat your chocolate and you can eat mine. Lots of good things to eat in the Boston area.

  • David,

    I’ve been reading for a while, but have never commented. However, I’ve been telling everyone I know about Taza, and I’m glad you liked their chocolate! They’re located just a few blocks from where I work. I went on one of their tours recently, and it was very interesting (and very lo-tech. Until recently, they were roasting the cocoa beans at a neighborhood coffee shop!), and everyone who worked there was very excited about what they were doing. I get a bar of the 60% every once in a while, and it has so much flavor that it lasts me a few weeks.

  • Suzy: I just want to let you know that I’m very crabby in the morning (and sometimes in the afternoon and evening.) Other than that, you’re on!

    Travelberg: Actually, I have 2 Patric bars here that I’m waiting to try and write-up. Look for that in the near future…

  • I am sure your little detours will only broaden your horizons and some of it will enrich your chocolate making in some way!

    Excuses, excuses…. ;)

  • I wondered how long you could cling to rotting cabbage and apartment fame without grabbing for some sugar and cacao.

  • Mmmm…. I made this last night (using a different Mexican hot chocolate bar), and it was delicious. It reminded me somewhat of the Starbucks Chantico drink (I know, sacrilege to compare good food with Starbucks – but they don’t make it any longer).

    So very rich, so very creamy. Thanks for the great idea.

  • Hi David,

    I just took a look at your recommended chocolate list and I see that you don’t mention Michel Cluizel, Vosges or Soma (it’s only here in Toronto so I’m not surprised you don’t mention it – come visit and I’ll take you there personally if you like!).

    These are three of my favorite chocolate houses. If you get a chance, try out their wares (or if you have and they didn’t make muster, I’d be interested to hear your critique of them.)

  • Yep, I think you’re right – we are the same person – because while I’m finally recovering from my woeful, week-long flu *cough* I’ve been crazily craving Mexican hot chocolate!

  • I had Taza chocolate for the first time when I went to a chocolate dinner in Providence, RI that was given in part by the Taza guys. Only one of the two was there, but he was super knowledgeable and interesting…That reminds me, it’s almost time for the olive oil dinner at the same restaurant!

    I make hot chocolate with the “Joy of Cooking” Italian hot chocolate recipe with Scharffenberger cocoa. In my opinion, it can’t be beat. I made it for the first time in a while last night and since you can’t drink very much of it in one sitting, I added the leftovers to my morning coffee this morning. Yum!

  • Back in January, I experimented with Taza chocolate and wrote about it Here

    Thank you for solving the mystery. Perhaps they have redone their instructions. Your version looks so much more decadent than mine.

  • Boy, do I envy your job! I love Mexican choclate, but I’ve never had that brand-I’ll check it out! There is a heladeria we’ll be visiting on our trip to Argentina that serves special hot cocoa in the winter-I can’t wait to try it. (Helados Ferruccio Soppelsa)

  • Rebecca:

    Unfortunately, tasting chocolate isn’t my job.

    But it is one of the fringe benefits!

  • Ahhh….sounds fabulous. Now I’m realizing that I just missed an opportunity in Bolivia to try their hot chocolate. I had dessert, but skipped the hot cocoa. Daggumit!

  • Completely off topic – question for you about a recipe in Perfect Scoop. The Apricot/Pistachio ice cream… do you add all the wine that the apricots steep in into the blender to produce the finished product? 3/4c of wine seemed like a lot to add – would adding that much booze allow the mixture to freeze properly? Thanks for any advice David, sorry for the tangent.

    Hi Erik: Yes, puree the apricots with the wine. The alcohol gives the ice cream a lovely consistency! -DL

  • Oh David – your blog is costing me a fortune! First I read your post about breakfast with Marion Cunningham – and so I had to order one of her books – and then another – she’s an amazing lady and I learned all about her after reading your blog – so thanks for that!

    Now I see I’m going to have to order chocolate, too! Oh well, that will be one bill I won’t mind paying! I put a little blurb about your blog on mine – who knows, maybe all two of my readers will come visit you?!? Thanks for being such an inspiration!! Nan

  • Great review…I’ve heard good things about Mexican chocolate. I’ll have to try it someday.

  • Research for a chocolate book? Wish I could be that student! A woman from Germany told me chocolate there was the best. (After I told her I didn’t like plain chocolate, but with peanut butter). She said this was because I was used to eating the plain chocolate that wasn’t from Germany…

  • vegoftheweek: It’s rather silly to say that one country makes better chocolate than another. I’ve had good and bad chocolates from various countries. I don’t think geographical lines denote where good chocolate is made.

    Although I’ve had lots of good chocolate by large-scale producers, I’m pretty fascinated by small-scale folks, who do the bean-to-bar. (As opposed to buying chocolate in bulk and molding it.) So when people rave about a country whose chocolate they think is good, I try to get the names of some of the artisans that they’re talking about!

  • I have some of those Ibarra discs at home but I do usually tinker with it (usually more cinnamon) to move past the sweetness. The Taza sounds magnificent though.

    And your description of the nearly-burnt chocolate reminds me of almost every time I cook rice – I have this sixth sense that makes me dash to the kitchen seconds before it starts to burn ;-)

  • Off the chocolate topic, it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one who encounters stuck-up PR people and company reps. I just had to deal with a restaurant PR person who refused to let me photograph a restaurant without letter on company letterhead stating why I had to photograph and exactly what kind of article I was writing. It was a very “WTF” moment.

  • David,

    I do agree! (regarding geographical chocolate lines:)