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To'ak Islay Chocolate

Quick Overview:

Dark chocolate, showered in perfectly tart cherries and raspberries

Quick Facts

Origin: Piedra de Plata, Ecuador
Unit Size: 50 grams

The Flavor Experience

Inhale deeply, and you'll sense the subtle aromas of peat, sea breeze and soft flowers. On the palate, the texture is rich and lingering, with nuances of caramelized fruit, honey, smoky peat and grass. These flavors meld through a long, seductive finish that will tempt you to enjoy it with your favorite after dinner beverage. Despite being dark chocolate, it is not bitter or acidic.

The Story

To'ak is the story of conservation and rejuvenation, embodied in the celebration of the ultimate chocolate experience. Rainforest conservationist Jerry Toth and his partner Carl Schweizer teamed up with fourth-generation Ecuadorian cacao grower Servio Pachard with the mission to radically change the way the world experiences dark chocolate.

To'ak is made from the oldest and rarest cacao variety on earth: Cacao Nacional. According to carbon dating and archaeological studies, it dates back at least 5,300 years. During the 1800's, Nacional was the most coveted variety of cacao in the world, but a botanical blight called Witches Broom irradiated the crops, and for nearly a century pure Cacao Nacional was thought to be extinct.

Unsatisfied with the conventional wisdom, Jerry and his team spent years genetically testing cacao trees across Ecuador. In 2009, they identified nine trees in the Piedra de Plata valley that were confirmed through genetic testing as pure Cacao Nacional. After creating a field guide to help narrow their search, they were able to identify 500 Nacional trees. It is from these trees that To'ak chocolate is produced. 

To'ak works with a coalition of local cacao growers and conservationists to protect and revitalize this industry. They have harvested seeds from those 500 trees, and planted an additional 230, which will not begin to bear fruit for three years. To'ak refers to these trees as the Noah's Ark of Ancient Nacional Cacao. Ecuadorian family farmers are paid directly, and are offered the highest price in the country. This ensures that the practices are sustainable, and To'ak is certified Fair Trade as a result.

Due to the limited volume of cacao, and the pressing need for funds to support the conservation efforts, To'ak has developed "vintage" additions that elevate their chocolate to the heights of culinary achievement. Their chocolate is aged for three years in a variety of wood barrels from around the world, including Laprhoaig Whisky, Tequila casks and Palo Santo. Each imparts specific complexities not otherwise found in chocolate flavor profiles. To'ak is the first and only tree-to-bar chocolate maker that comprehensively applies this principle to chocolate. It is the essence of what they do.

To further elevate the experience, the bars are packaged in boxes that can only be described as works of art. Within the outer box is a Spanish Elm wood box that is individually engraved with the bar number. That box includes tasting utensils, an illustrative booklet that tells the story of each flavor profile, and a separate booklet with the history of To'ak and Cacao Nacional. 

To'ak is certified Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Direct Trade. Beyond the work they're doing themselves, 1% of sales benefit Ecuador-based rainforest conservation foundation Third Millennium Alliance.

Usage Tips

Chocolate of this caliber should be savored as-is. Read the tasting notes, concentrate acutely on the aromas and flavors, and nibble in small increments. If you're inclined to pair it, think traditional after-dinner beverages, especially Scotch, Port, Sherry or Sauternes. 

Full Description
$375.00

Goes Well With

Product Description

Dark chocolate, showered in perfectly tart cherries and raspberries

Quick Facts

Origin: Piedra de Plata, Ecuador
Unit Size: 50 grams

The Flavor Experience

Inhale deeply, and you'll sense the subtle aromas of peat, sea breeze and soft flowers. On the palate, the texture is rich and lingering, with nuances of caramelized fruit, honey, smoky peat and grass. These flavors meld through a long, seductive finish that will tempt you to enjoy it with your favorite after dinner beverage. Despite being dark chocolate, it is not bitter or acidic.

The Story

To'ak is the story of conservation and rejuvenation, embodied in the celebration of the ultimate chocolate experience. Rainforest conservationist Jerry Toth and his partner Carl Schweizer teamed up with fourth-generation Ecuadorian cacao grower Servio Pachard with the mission to radically change the way the world experiences dark chocolate.

To'ak is made from the oldest and rarest cacao variety on earth: Cacao Nacional. According to carbon dating and archaeological studies, it dates back at least 5,300 years. During the 1800's, Nacional was the most coveted variety of cacao in the world, but a botanical blight called Witches Broom irradiated the crops, and for nearly a century pure Cacao Nacional was thought to be extinct.

Unsatisfied with the conventional wisdom, Jerry and his team spent years genetically testing cacao trees across Ecuador. In 2009, they identified nine trees in the Piedra de Plata valley that were confirmed through genetic testing as pure Cacao Nacional. After creating a field guide to help narrow their search, they were able to identify 500 Nacional trees. It is from these trees that To'ak chocolate is produced. 

To'ak works with a coalition of local cacao growers and conservationists to protect and revitalize this industry. They have harvested seeds from those 500 trees, and planted an additional 230, which will not begin to bear fruit for three years. To'ak refers to these trees as the Noah's Ark of Ancient Nacional Cacao. Ecuadorian family farmers are paid directly, and are offered the highest price in the country. This ensures that the practices are sustainable, and To'ak is certified Fair Trade as a result.

Due to the limited volume of cacao, and the pressing need for funds to support the conservation efforts, To'ak has developed "vintage" additions that elevate their chocolate to the heights of culinary achievement. Their chocolate is aged for three years in a variety of wood barrels from around the world, including Laprhoaig Whisky, Tequila casks and Palo Santo. Each imparts specific complexities not otherwise found in chocolate flavor profiles. To'ak is the first and only tree-to-bar chocolate maker that comprehensively applies this principle to chocolate. It is the essence of what they do.

To further elevate the experience, the bars are packaged in boxes that can only be described as works of art. Within the outer box is a Spanish Elm wood box that is individually engraved with the bar number. That box includes tasting utensils, an illustrative booklet that tells the story of each flavor profile, and a separate booklet with the history of To'ak and Cacao Nacional. 

To'ak is certified Kosher, Vegan, Gluten Free, and Direct Trade. Beyond the work they're doing themselves, 1% of sales benefit Ecuador-based rainforest conservation foundation Third Millennium Alliance.

Usage Tips

Chocolate of this caliber should be savored as-is. Read the tasting notes, concentrate acutely on the aromas and flavors, and nibble in small increments. If you're inclined to pair it, think traditional after-dinner beverages, especially Scotch, Port, Sherry or Sauternes. 

SKU: CAND196

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