To'ak Chocolate

To'ak Chocolate is an Ecuadorian chocolate company that was founded in 2013 by Jerry Toth, Carl Schweizer, and Dennise Valencia. To’ak is pronounced Toe-Ahk.[1] To'ak produces chocolate with a variety of Arriba cacao called Nacional cocoa,[2] which some experts formerly believed to be extinct.[3] It is said to have more floral notes and richness of flavors than other cacao varieties.[2][4] The Heirloom Nacional cacao bar produced by To'ak chocolate was dubbed "the world's most expensive chocolate bar" by CNBC in 2017.[5]

DNA verified Heirloom Nacional cacao tree

Chocolate barsEdit

To’ak's chocolate bars are produced using the Nacional variety of cocoa bean, which some experts thought was extinct.[6][3] Groves of cocoa trees producing the Nacional variety were discovered in the valley of Piedra de Plata located in the mountains of the Arriba cacao-growing region of Ecuador, in the province called Manabi. DNA analysis confirmed that the beans were comprised purely of the Nacional genotype.[7]

 
To'ak Chocolate product example

The chocolate bar is handcrafted, and production involves fermenting the cocoa beans.[8] The chocolate bar is composed entirely of the Nacional cocoa bean, with a small amount of added cane sugar. A single roasted cacao bean sits in the middle of the bar to serve as a reminder where chocolate comes from.[9] To'ak chocolate is pure chocolate, and is not embellished with nuts, gold dust, or ganache, which is similar to some of the world's other expensive chocolates.[10]

The company's products include the Vintage 2014 edition that was aged for three years in a French oak cognac cask.[11] The company ages bars in wood casks and empty spirit casks.[12][13] They have been described as a "boundary-pushing chocolate company"[14] for launching a bar of dark chocolate that has been aged for 18 months in a 50-year-old Cognac cask.[15] They have also aged chocolate for two years in a Laphroaig Islay whisky cask.[16]

Regenerative cacaoEdit

To’ak and the rainforest conservation organization TMA (Third Millennium Alliance) jointly manage a regenerative cacao project in coastal Ecuador, specifically with the agricultural communities that surround the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve. The program was designed as a strategy to reverse the trend of deforestation of the Pacific Equatorial Forest (also known as the Pacific Forest of Ecuador).

TMA provides local farmers with start-up capital, seedlings, irrigation equipment, and financial incentives to convert deforested land into regenerative forests. The program is financed by carbon offset revenue, which provides bridge income to the farmers for the first five years, before the cacao trees reach productive age. Once the cacao trees start to produce cacao pods, To’ak offers to purchase the cacao at premium prices.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Welcome to the world of extreme chocolate and the duo that aim to restore the delicacy to its once sacred status". Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  2. ^ a b "What is Heirloom Cacao". hcpcacao.org. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  3. ^ a b "GENETICS – NACIONAL CACAO CONSERVATION". nacionalcacaoconservation.org. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  4. ^ Fabricant, Florence (2011). "Rare Cacao Beans Discovered in Peru". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  5. ^ "This is the world's most expensive chocolate bar". CNBC. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  6. ^ Scheffler, Daniel (September 30, 2015). "Fine chocolates now appreciated by connoisseurs as a luxury product". South China Morning Post. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  7. ^ "This chocolate bar costs $260". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  8. ^ Conrad, Marissa (November 28, 2014). "At $173 An Ounce, Is This The World's Most Expensive Chocolate?". Forbes. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  9. ^ "Fine chocolates now appreciated by connoisseurs as a luxury product". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  10. ^ "Here's what a $260 bar of chocolate looks like". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  11. ^ "Welcome to the world of extreme chocolate and the duo that aim to restore the delicacy to its once sacred status". Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  12. ^ "To'ak Chocolate". Touch of Modern. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  13. ^ "THE WORLD'S FIRST VINTAGE CHOCOLATE Aged for 18 months, launching for Easter 2016 – Luxuria Lifestyle". Luxuria Lifestyle International. 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  14. ^ "THE WORLD'S FIRST VINTAGE CHOCOLATE Aged for 18 months, launching for Easter 2016 – Luxuria Lifestyle Dubai & Abu Dhabi". Luxuria Lifestyle Dubai & Abu Dhabi. 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  15. ^ "Vintage Chocolate by To'ak for Easter". LUXUO. 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  16. ^ "Laphroaig Lore and To'ak Chocolate Contest – Laphroaig". Laphroaig. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  17. ^ "Building a modern business from ancient cacao traditions, the To'ak Chocolate way". Confectionery Production. Retrieved 2022-11-18.

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External linksEdit