I didn’t include one of the vendors in my original post about the Union Square Farmer’s Market because I don’t consider them a seasonal addition, but rather a permanent fixture in our neighborhood. I’m talking about Taza Chocolate.
I first discovered this company at the Paper and Chocolate weekend held in a converted warehouse space a few blocks from home, in Somerville’s Boynton Yards neighborhood. Just before Valentine’s Day, letterpress printer Albertine Press and Taza opened their doors for an open house weekend. The operation at Albertine will be the subject of a future post, but Taza showed us the complete bean-to-bar process they used to make their chocolate.
The Taza site goes into much more detail, but their chocolate is stone-ground from single-bean batches imported from the Dominican Republic, sweetened with Brazilian sugar and flavored with Costa Rican vanilla. Here’s the final product they sell, as displayed at this week’s market:
The bags are whole roasted cacao beans, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, and discs of Mexican chocolate (traditional cinnamon, vanilla, salted almond, and guajillo chili). And, of course, chocolate bars:
They’re all dark chocolate, increasing in intensity from 60% to 70% to 80%, and they’re all made from single-origin beans. The bars are perfect for eating, but I’d never consider baking with them, their flavor subtleties would be lost. For a while, Taza made a perfect garnish, the now-discontinued Shakey:
I sprinkle this stuff on top of everything, because chocolate – like bacon – makes eveything better. I’ve taken to grating Taza bars and refilling the container, even though they no longer make 65% chocolate.
Taza had connected with many of the area specialty shops. I’ve found one of their displays at places as disparate as the New Deal Fish Market and Hub Comics. (You know it must be good chocolate of the local Comic Book Guy likes it.) Don’t take my word for it, go to a local shopÂ (or Taza’s online store) and try some for yourself.
If I knew as a kid that someday I would live a stone’s throw away from a chocolate factory, I think my little head would have exploded. Now the challenge is rationing myself to keep my waistline from exploding.