A visit to Oaxaca in 2005 gave Alex Whitmore a chance to discover "the pre-Columbian ritual of “xocolātl” in Latin America, and the customs that surrounded the transformation of cacao into a drink."
The experience led him a year later to start Taza Chocolate with Larry Slotnick.
What attracted me to Taza in the first place was their Coin like Chocolate Mexicano which stands out from the crowd of tablets.
I was curious enough to request a sample as I thought that basing my judgment on appearance only would not cut it.
Of the 3 'Chocolate Mexicano' options I sampled, the 'Guajillo Chili' is my definite favorite. Not overly spicy, just a subtle tease on the tongue.
The chocolate has a granular texture. It kind of crumbles in your mouth.
You have to taste it to feel it.
The other 2 'Chocolate Mexicano' I tried were Cinnamon and Salted Almond. There are 3 more flavors.
To pure dark chocolate lovers, I recommend the 75% Dark Special Edition Stone Ground Chiapan Chocolate, three ounces of pure bliss.
Where is that granular, crumbly texture coming from.
The culprit is the granite millstones with hand-chiseled surfaces that Taza uses to grind its beans.
Imperfections make perfect sense like 'crack, dazzle and pop'.
Oh! before I forget Taza is Organic (USDA Certified) plus Dairy, Gluten and Soy Free.
There is taste and principles at Taza.
They believe in direct trade with farmers (in Mexico and the Dominican Republic) who practice organic and sustainable farming.
They don't like waste so 'cocoa chaff' goes to local organic farms and community gardens.
Customers in Somerville (Massachusetts) where they are based can get bicycle delivery of their treats courtesy of Metro Pedal Power.
Upon reflection, the granular texture of the Chocolate Mexicano reminded me of Italian chocolates by Donna Elvira which I tried at the NY Chocolate Show in 2008.
A friend of mind when she tasted it actually commented that this Italian treat was similar to what she used in Columbia for hot chocolate.
Distant and not so distant cousins I guess.