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Somerville’s Own Taza Chocolate

My parents came to visit in December and it was so so cold. My plans of wandering around the city were squashed. We didn’t even want to walk to the nearest bus stop. But d’y'know what’s nearer than the nearest bus stop? A CHOCOLATE FACTORY! For serious. Where’s the closest place to get a snack? A CHOCOLATE FACTORY! Yeah, that’s how we roll.

Taza Chocolate makes really SOLE-ful chocolate, if you’ll allow me that somewhat over-used acronym. Beyond Fair Trade, Taza Chocolate is “Direct Trade” certified, which adheres to the following principles:

  1. We work exclusively with certified organic cacao farms that practice sustainable agricultural methods.
  2. We pay a premium of at least 500 US dollars per metric ton above the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT) price on the date of invoice to the producers of our cacao beans for high quality cacao with 95 percent fermentation rates or more and dried to 7 percent moisture or less.
  3. We physically visit each cacao producer or producer group at least once a year to build long-term, sustainable relationships.
  4. We only buy cacao from producers using fair and humane work practices.
  5. We never purchase cacao from producers engaging in child or slave labor.

Source: Taza Chocolate website

Their chocolate is Mexican-style, which has a nice gritty quality and really fruity flavor. “Gritty” might not be something you think you want in chocolate, but it’s pretty tasty. The straight-up chocolate is great, but my favorite part of Taza is all the crazy stuff, like salt and pepper hot chocolate discs. Or chocolate-covered ginger. Mmmmm….

They also make roasted cacao nibs, which are a great nut substitute. They definitely have a chocolate flavor, but it’s much subtler than chocolate chips. We remade these cranberry muffins substituting 3/4 cup of nibs for the carrots. Wicked! (I’m really becoming a Bay Stater, now, huh?)

If you want more info and live in the area, you should definitely check out their factory tour. Gena at Choosing Raw just wrote a post on them, too, so check out her site for another take on the greatness of Taza. If only they were still open, so that I could swing by for a snack…

Cranberry-nib muffin

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