“To’ak” means both “earth” and “tree” in an ancient Ecuadorean dialect. It is a fitting name for a chocolate company that feels a deep connection to the natural world through its work with fine flavor cocoa beans.
The To'ak Tequila Cask Aged 2015 Harvest 73% Dark Chocolate Bar is one of the rarest and most exclusive bars in the Barometer Chocolate collection. Utilizing heirloom Nacional cacao beans from the protected Piedra de Plata Valley in Ecuador, To'ak is the world's most expensive brand of chocolate.
The appearance of this bar is outstanding, with a spotless front and swirled back. The snap is rich and heavy; the flavors, both delicate and vibrant at once. In the nose, you’ll be greeted by fruity caramel with a hint of citrus zest. The top and middle flavor notes are soft, ripe apricot, butterscotch, sweet aromatics such as agave and toffee, a touch of vanilla and nutmeg. The finishing notes reveal buttery caramel, wood and honey. This is one of my favorite To’ak bars. It is clean, elegant and truly delicious...a connoisseur’s chocolate.
Layers of complexity are achieved not only from the fine flavor Nacional beans themselves, but also as a result of the chocolate being matured in Don Julio tequila casks for three years prior to tempering and molding. Not surprisingly, this bar pairs beautifully with añejo tequila in general, and Don Julio in particular. Whiskies make great accompaniments to your To’ak Tequila Cask Aged chocolate bar, too. Select an American whiskey, such as Bourbon and rye, or go for Scotch or Irish whiskey.
If you’re seeking to pair cheeses with this chocolate, the experts at To’ak suggest a Comté or Gruyère. I also think an aged Gouda or a triple cream would be lovely alongside the bar.
In the middle of each To'ak chocolate bar is a single, hand-selected, roasted cacao bean. It is a nod to the bar's origin. Sampling the actual bean from which a chocolate bar was made offers the taster a greater understanding and appreciation of the finished product and all of the elements that created it.
To’ak is sold in the world’s most exclusive boutiques, but the beans that comprise these beautiful bars come from the tropical forests of Ecuador. To’ak was born out of a rainforest conservation project that co-founder Jerry Toth started in 2007.
In the lush, secluded Pacific Equatorial Forest in coastal Ecuador, between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Jerry formed a nonprofit foundation called Third Millennium Alliance and helped to create the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve, which currently protects over 1,400 acres of tropical forest. At the reserve, Jerry began cultivating cacao trees and making tree-to-bar chocolate by hand in a thatched bamboo house without electricity.
After years of honing his passion and skill, Jerry started collaborating with To'ak's other co-founder, Carl Schweizer, and fourth generation Ecuadorian cacao grower, Servio Pachard.
From tree to bar, To'ak crafts their chocolate bars with the exquisite care of vintage winemakers. As with wine, the characteristics of fine flavor cacao vary according to terroir. At To'ak, the divine chocolate bars are an artistic expression of the land and weather fluctuations from season to season and year to year. There is wild beauty in the variability, and rather than trying to tame the exotic, the makers at To'ak embrace Mother Nature's capriciousness, inviting her to offer a unique kiss to each and every small batch of chocolate. One-of-a-kind masterpieces incapable of being duplicated are the result.
Cacao has a noble history, thousands of years long. In the industrial era, chocolate began to be mass-produced and the great respect for rare beans nearly vanished, as did many of the beans themselves due to widespread blight. To'ak's mission is to restore chocolate to its former grandeur and glory, literally raising the bar for all aspects of tree-to-bar production. Elevating the culture of chocolate to an art form is their specialty.
Watch this video for more about To'ak.
- Ingredients: 73% Organic Heirloom Nacional Cacao Beans, 27% Organic Cane Sugar
- Net Weight: 50 g. / 1.76 oz.
- Country of Origin: Ecuador