From Bean to Bar: Taza Chocolate Tour

2013-07-07 16.07.49In Somerville, Massachusetts Taza Chocolate produces stone ground chocolate that makes them uniquely different than the other brands. The European style chocolate that most Americans are used to has a distinctively smooth finish and creamy taste. Taza’s chocolate is made by old Mexican traditions using authentic Oaxacan stone mills made of granite millstones that are beautifully hand carved by the co-founder, Alex Whitmore. This stone ground process of the roasted cacao beans and mixing with organic cane sugar gives their chocolate a bolder and earthy flavor with a gritty texture.

Taza was established in 2006 by Alex Whitmore, Kathleen Fulton and Larry Slotnick to be a conscience and sustainable company financially, environmentally and socially. Their concept is to create a direct trade partnership with the cooperative farmers that benefit the farmer, the company and the customer to ensure they receive a high quality product. Most of the machines Taza uses to produce the chocolate were second hand machines that were from other companies. This helps keeping well working machines out of the junk yard and reduces costs for the company.

                                            2013-07-07 15.53.57                          2013-07-07 15.41.43

                                                         Grinding Room Taza                                                Tour Guide, Leanne Hoppe, showing tour group

                                                                                                                                       an Oaxacan millstone

The Taza offers visitors to come on their factory tours where chocolate lovers alike can be educated and appreciate the process that goes into each of the products. The tour gives a sensory experience from visual, touch, smell, feel and taste. The aroma of chocolate is very prevalent throughout the factory. Leanne Hoppe is one of the factory tour guides for Taza. She explained to the group on the process from farm to factory, as samples of their products are given to the tour group to taste. Their signature chocolate discs stand out as they are molded with cuts for easy snap when breaking. Hoppe explains that the tempering process of helps stabilize the chocolate to give its snap and smooth shine.

Hoppe explained that nothing goes to waste in the factory. Unused cacao shells are used for teas and mulch. Batches that are deemed as “second bests” are chocolate that did not meet the standards to sell. There are imperfections such as unevenness or air bubbles. Hoppe explains that these batches are melted again and reused in their other chocolate covered products. Taza Chocolate is certified organic and direct trade products that are soy, dairy and gluten- free. The Taza Factory store offers samples of the products to try around the shop. To take a tour, make a reservation by clicking on the following link: Taza Factory Tours. Be sure to also check out events throughout the year held at their factory store.

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To purchase Taza products, you can visit their Factory Store at the address below, or find them at the local Boston area farmers markets or at your local Whole Foods.

Taza Chocolate

561 Windsor Street

Somerville, MA 02134

(617) 284-2232

Tuesdays 11am-6pm (July & August only)

Wednesday – Friday 11am-6pm

Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm

www.tazachocolate.com

Closest T stations: Kendall Square or Central Square, Red Line (20 minute walk)

Lechmere (20 minute walk)

MBTA Buses close to factory: CT2, 69, 83

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