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Sweetness and Fair Trade at Taza's Stone Ground Chocolate

By S. Mathur

Taza Chocolate is available at stores around the country and can also be bought online. For chocolate fans visiting the Boston area, a trip to the the Taza Chocolate Factory Store & Tours in Somerville, where the chocolate is made, and the Taza Chocolate Bar in Hanover Street in Boston, where they can enjoy fresh chocolate drinks, is an must. Taza chocolate's unique taste is due to the fact that it is made from organic, stone ground cocoa beans.

Organic chocolate is important, explains Website Manager Sara Pethe and Marketing & Communication Manager Stephanie Larason, because it is "...seriously good and fair for all. We wanted to start a company that would have a positive impact. We chose to be 100% USDA Certified Organic because organic farming is more sustainable than conventional farming. Also, our customers care about where their food comes from, their food system and contributing to the environmental health within that system."

Photo Credit: Michael Piazza

Supporting informed consumer choice and "the movement for transparency in food systems", Pethe and Larason say that Taza has chosen to take an additional step with Non-GMO Project Verification: "Taza is proud to support consumers' right to know what is in their food and believes that through shared commitment to quality and transparency, manufacturers and consumers can transform the food landscape."

Taza uses traditional hand carved Mexican stone mills called molinos to grind the cocoa beans. Pethe and Larason say that stone grinding enhances the taste of the chocolate: "Cacao is so complex in flavor that we want to let it shout loud and proud. We process less to to deliver more flavor. Our simple chocolate making process creates perfectly unrefined chocolate with bold flavor and texture, unlike anything you have ever tasted."

The molinos preserve the bright, fruity flavors of the cocoa beans, and create a unique taste, described as "bold, rustic, and satisfyingly gritty." Consumers enjoy exploring the flavors of the Origin Bars from different locations like the Dominican Republic, Belize, Bolivia, and Haiti. The Haiti Bar has notes of tart cherry, fig, and roasted nuts, and while the Bolivia Bar tastes malty and earthy.

Photo Credit: Michael Piazza

A favorite recipe recommended by Pethe and Larason is Taza Mexican-style Hot Chocolate. It can be made using any of the Taza Chocolate Mexicano Discs that come in flavors like Cacao Puro, Chipotle Chili, Cinnamon, Coffee, Guajillo Chili, 85% Super Dark, Salted Almond, and Vanilla: "Simply chop up or grate 1 package of chocolate, then slowly mix into heated milk, soy milk, almond milk, or water."

For most consumers, the taste of Taza chocolate is enhanced by knowing that it is fair traded, sourced directly from producers rather than predatory middlemen. They can be confident that it was grown using fair labor practices, by farmers who respect the environment. Taza chocolate in fact pays growers significantly higher prices than fair trade. And chocolate fans, if the factory tour leaves them wanting more, can travel with Taza to Belize for Taza Chocolate Week.

For more information feel free to check out their website at www.tazachocolate.com.

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