What is taza chocolate?
Most of us raise an eyebrow at this question. The most exploratory will tell you that they have already tasted Taza chocolates. Yes, the brand with Mexican accents, but which is actually American. Except no, it's not about this producer. I want to talk about chocolate à la taza, with particular emphasis on “à la”.
Old world tradition
Spanish speakers will no doubt have translated taza into cup, which already lifts the veil a little. So it’s chocolate in a cup. If you've ever had breakfast in Spain, it's the same cup of thick chocolate in which it's customary to dip your churros.
In addition to its deliciously regressive side, this tradition of thick chocolate in a cup is a historical heritage. Indeed, before being transformed into a bar by the Englishman Francis Fry in 1847, chocolate was first consumed in liquid form. We then prepared chocolate in a chocolate maker. A pleasure that is lost and of which a vague echo remains in the form of hot chocolate. Likewise, as rare as they are, chocolate parlors offer none of the institutional panache of Spanish churrerías.
In addition, hot chocolate should not be confused with the famous taza. If hot chocolate comes in various forms and its main controversy comes from knowing whether it should be prepared with milk or water, it has nothing to do with it in terms of consistency. The taza chocolate must be much thicker and without foam.
A legal standard for taza chocolate
The cultural aspects of this way of consuming chocolate go beyond curiosity and debate among gourmets. A standard even exists to describe this chocolate. Just like the legal percentage of chocolate , the definition of taza chocolate comes from the European Union and therefore also applies in Switzerland. Adopted in 2000, the directive states:
Refers to the product obtained from cocoa products, sugars and wheat, rice or corn flour or starch containing not less than 35% total cocoa solids, including not less than 18% cocoa butter. cocoa and not less than 14% defatted dry cocoa and not more than 8% flour or starch.
If traditional recipes seem to agree on the use of starch or corn starch, another heritage from the New World brought back by the Spanish, the European legislator allows the use of wheat and rice to thicken the mixture. Also note that it is also necessary to use low-fat cocoa and sugar. However, nothing about adding milk or water to serve it in your cup.
Beyond definitions, what makes a taza chocolate quality are its ingredients. Less sugar, a hint of corn thickener and above all quality chocolate. Accompanied by a glass of water and in good company, there is no doubt about the validity of this Iberian tradition.
A Taza chocolatier, Taza
At Taza Chocolate, the company makes stone-ground chocolate. The flavor of cocoa is so complex that the team wants to let it express itself loud and clear. This is why less processing is favored to offer more to customers. Organic cocoa beans are stone-ground to create perfectly unrefined chocolate, exhibiting bold, unrivaled flavor and texture.
Alex Whitmore, founder and CEO of Taza, experienced his first stone-ground chocolate during a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. This experience of rustic intensity inspired him so much that he decided to establish his own chocolate factory in Somerville, Massachusetts. He learned to hand carve granite wheels to create less processed chocolate, showcasing direct trade cocoa. In 2005, together with his wife, Kathleen Fulton, who serves as Taza's design director and designed all packaging, he officially launched Taza.
Taza is a pioneer in ethical cocoa sourcing. The company was the first American chocolate company to implement a direct trade cocoa certification program, certified by a third party. Direct relationships are maintained with cocoa producers, and a premium above the fair trade price is paid for their cocoa. Taza only works with cocoa producers who respect workers' rights and the environment.