To'ak Chocolate

To'ak Chocolate is an Ecuadorian company that was founded in 2013 by Jerry Toth and Carl Schweizer. To’ak (pronounced Toe-Ahk).[1]  They created the luxury brand To'ak Chocolate. The chocolate bars are produced with the very rare 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 any other cacao variety.[2][4] The Heirloom Nacional cacao bar produced by To'ak Chocolate is considered to be the most expensive chocolate bar in the world[5]

DNA verified Heirloom Nacional cacao tree

Chocolate barsEdit

The chocolate bars are produced using the rare 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.[6][7][8]

 
To'ak Chocolate product example

The chocolate bar is handcrafted, and production involves fermenting the cocoa beans.[9][10][11][12] It has been considered to be one of the most expensive in the world, with prices ranging from $270-$375 for a 50-gram bar.[9][13][14][15][16][17] The chocolate bar is composed entirely of the Nacional cocoa bean, with a slight amount of cane sugar added.[6][13] In the middle of the bar is a single roasted cacao bean, showcasing the unadulterated flavor of Nacional Cacao and serving as a reminder where chocolate comes from.[18] To'ak chocolate is pure chocolate, not embellished with nuts, gold dust, or ganache, as is the case with some of the world's other expensive chocolates.[19] Each bar of chocolate comes in a Spanish Elm wooden box and has the individual bar number engraved in the back.[18][20]

The company's products include the Vintage 2014 edition that was aged for three years in a French oak cognac cask.[21] The company ages bars in wood casks and empty spirit casks.[22][23] They have been described as a "boundary-pushing chocolate company"[24] for launching a bar of dark chocolate that has been aged for 18 months in a 50-year-old Cognac cask.[25][26][27] They have also aged chocolate for 2 years in a Laphroaig Islay whisky cask.[28][29][30]

In November 2019 To'ak produced the world's first limited edition chocolate bar made from cacao sourced exclusively from the Galapagos Islands. The cacao was from 2 small farms that imported the Heirloom cacao trees back in the early 1900s. The cacao trees are planted in low intensity farming techniques and have supported the clearing of invasive weeds (such as Elephant Grass) and contributed to a return to native flora and fauna.

Socially responsible business modelEdit

 
Piedra de Plata team of cacao farmers
 
Planting "Nacional" cacao saplings in the rainforest preserve

In January 2016, To’ak's cacao was designated Heirloom by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP).[31][32] To’ak also has social and environmental objectives in mind. Their product is organic and fair trade and they partner with the Ecuador-based rainforest conservation foundation Third Millennium Alliance.[3] To’ak and the foundation are currently working together to preserve this endangered cacao variety by DNA grafting and planting of new seedlings in a protected area in Ecuador[31][33] To'ak co-founder, Jerry Toth, has written a Nacional cacao conservation blog which serves as an extensive guide for environmentally friendly cacao cultivation techniques based on permaculture.[31]

Additional activitiesEdit

The company provides lodging accommodations at its rural farm, named Finca Sarita.[9][10][17] The company has also been involved with Washington State University, in a partnership involving the research of tannins.[34]

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 c "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. ^ a b c Scheffler, Daniel (September 30, 2015). "Fine chocolates now appreciated by connoisseurs as a luxury product". South China Morning Post. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  7. ^ Goldberg, Haley (October 31, 2015). "These high-end candies cost hundreds of dollars". New York Post. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  8. ^ "This chocolate bar costs $260". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  9. ^ a b c Kase, Aaron (September 26, 2016). "Stay on the Ecuador farm that produces the world's most expensive chocolate". The Guardian. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  10. ^ a b Kavilanz, Parija (February 12, 2015). "Is this the world's most expensive chocolate?". CNN Money. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  11. ^ Tufano, Lizzie Schiffman (December 2, 2014). "Why Does This Bar of Chocolate Cost $260?". Modern Farmer. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  12. ^ Conrad, Marissa (November 28, 2014). "At $173 An Ounce, Is This The World's Most Expensive Chocolate?". Forbes. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Virbilam, Irene S. (November 26, 2014). "This $260 chocolate bar might just be worth it". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  14. ^ Kitson, Melissa (April 5, 2016). "The Real Cost of Chocolate Is More Than You Think". Vice. Retrieved October 28, 2017.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  15. ^ Karydes, Megy (November 7, 2014). "This chocolate bar costs $260". Fortune. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  16. ^ "The most expensive chocolate in the world". Al Bawaba (in Arabic). February 9, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Would You Pay €315 for the World's Most Expensive Chocolate Bar? | TheTaste.ie". TheTaste.ie. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  18. ^ a b "Fine chocolates now appreciated by connoisseurs as a luxury product". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  19. ^ "Here's what a $260 bar of chocolate looks like". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  20. ^ "These high-end candies cost hundreds of dollars". New York Post. 2015-10-31. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "To'ak Chocolate". Touch of Modern. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "To'ak Chocolate". Robb Report. 2017-09-07. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  26. ^ "To'ak Dark Chocolate, Aged for 18 Months in a Vintage Cognac Cask, Sells for $345 Per Bar". RealClearLife. 2017-02-27. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  27. ^ "Vintage Chocolate by To'ak for Easter". LUXUO. 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  28. ^ "These $365 Chocolate Bars Might Be the Rarest in the World". Tasting Table. 2017-12-13. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  29. ^ Guide, Forbes Travel. "A Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide For Luxury Travelers". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  30. ^ "Laphroaig Lore and To'ak Chocolate Contest – Laphroaig". Laphroaig. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
  31. ^ a b c "ABOUT – NACIONAL CACAO CONSERVATION". nacionalcacaoconservation.org. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  32. ^ "Heirloom Cacao 9 |". hcpcacao.org. Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  33. ^ "Welcome to the world of extreme chocolate and the duo that aim to restore the delicacy to its once sacred status". Retrieved 2017-12-14.
  34. ^ Weybright, Scott (February 10, 2016). "Wine and chocolate, with tannins as cupid". Washington State University News. Retrieved October 28, 2017.

External linksEdit