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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

IMG_0921Did you know that the Taza chocolate factory is located right in Somerville? You can take a tour for $5!

IMG_0923Tours are educational and last 45 minutes. Groups are kept small, capping at around 18.

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Taza Chocolate Mexicano Rustic, round dark stone ground chocolate discs with a distinctively gritty texture, some sweet, some savory, some spicy. I love the salt and pepper and the cinnamon flavors.

IMG_0916There are samples all around the store!

IMG_0917Chocolate discs retail at $5.

IMG_0914In addition to their extensive selection of bars and discs, they also have chocolate covered treats like chocolate covered nibs and chocolate covered cashews.

IMG_0902We start the tour learning about where the cacao comes from. Cacao trees are found in Central and South America. The seeds of the fruit are used to make chocolate. The pods grow on the trees and they can be all different colors: red, orange or yellow. There are anywhere from 20-60 seeds in each pod. The seeds are moved to a box where they are left to ferment.

IMG_0904Taza has Direct Trade sourcing relationships with growers in the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Belize.  What is Direct Trade? It means they have direct relationships with cacao producers and visit them at least once a year; they pay at least 500 dollars per ton above the NY ICE price for cacao beans; and they source only the highest quality beans.

IMG_0906They used to do this machine’s work by hand…something about a hairdryer….back to the machine – they bought it second hand and they  had to cut in into pieces to bring it back to the US. The machine separates the beans and the shells.

IMG_0907They roast their beans slowly with this enormous roaster.

IMG_0911Founder Alex Whitmore apprenticed for a molinero in Oaxaca to learn how to hand carve these granite stone mills.

IMG_0912It is here where the chocolate takes a liquid form and then is piped into the signature circular molds (or bars). Then it is off to packaging. The round discs are still wrapped by hand!

IMG_0913They don’t waste – you can buy this as mulch for your gardens…good news is that when it rains…it smells like chocolate!

Check out the website for tour information or to buy chocolate online: http://www.tazachocolate.com/

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