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According to History.com, chocolate can be traced to the ancient Mayans and was revered as a medicinal and ceremonial beverage that had bitter undertones, unlike the sweet bars we know as chocolate today. Chocolate comes from the fruit “pods” of cacao trees, native to Central and South America. The seeds inside the pods are fermented, dried, and roasted to create cocoa beans. The exact moment that cacao appeared in history is unknown, although some believe it arrived around 1500 B.C. Archeologists have discovered ancient Olmec pots from that time period with traces of theobromine, the stimulant compound found in both tea and coffee. Regardless of the timeline, there’s no denying chocolate’s power in popular culture. Keep reading to meet one chocolate company creating modern treats inspired by ancient tradition.
The History of Taza Chocolate
Taza Chocolate CEO Alex Whitmore discovered stone ground chocolate while on vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico. The intense flavor surprised him, and ultimately inspired him to establish a chocolate factory in his home of Somerville, Mass. Before committing, Whitmore became an apprentice under a molinero in Oaxaca (a “miller”) to learn the art of using hand-carved granite mill stones. Whitmore and his wife, Kathleen Fulton, who serves as the brand’s chief design officer, launched Taza Chocolate in 2005.
Taza Chocolate Company Mission
In addition to crafting exceptional chocolate, Taza believes the farmer and chocolate maker should share the reward of creating a great product. The brand is an example of how ethical cacao sourcing can be successful, and was the first U.S. chocolate maker to establish a third-party Certified Direct Trade cacao program.
Benefits of Taza Chocolate
Taza exclusively uses unrefined, stone ground chocolate in its factory in Somerville, Mass. Minimal processing is a hallmark of each bar, which lets the bold flavors of the organic and Direct Trade Certified cacao stand out. The unique process involves traditional Mexican stone mills—called molinos—to grind the cacao using hand-carved stones that help preserve the bean’s fruit-forward flavors and add a rustic quality that’s unmistakable. Taza’s third-party Direct Trade program is the first of its kind in the chocolate industry. The program eliminates middlemen, generates in-person relationships with farmers, and respects both the environment and fair labor practices, providing wages that are even higher than fair trade standards.
Top Taza Chocolate Products
Indulge in Taza’s organic bars, discs, and bark anytime you’re in need of a chocolate fix.
Organic Sea Salt and Almond Chocolate Bar
Almonds and sea salt make a classic combo for chocolate bars, but Taza’s is extra special, thanks to the texture of stone-ground dark chocolate.
Organic Pumpkin Seed Dark Bark
Bite into this crunchy dark chocolate bark for an explosion of textures from stone-ground chocolate, pepitas, and quinoa.
Vanilla Chocolate Mexicano Discs
Each package has two discs of stone-ground, organic, Mexican-style dark chocolate scented with real vanilla bean.
Chocolate Benefits and Recipes
We probably don’t have to twist your arm to convince you to try a bar of chocolate, but here are some extra tidbits about this favorite indulgence.
All About National Chocolate Day
Yes, National Chocolate Day is a thing, and you can bet we celebrate every year on October 28. Check this post for has ideas on the best bars to buy when this festive food holiday rolls around.
Milk Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Differences
Curious about what makes milk chocolate and dark chocolate different from one another? This blog post goes over the basics, and includes our favorite brands for both!
Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Chocolate Bites
Here’s a recipe for the perfect sweet ending to your meals—which also happens to be dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and made with cacao, creamy peanut butter, and chlorella for a nutritional boost.