The fine folks at To’ak take pride in pairing their exquisitely crafted chocolate with spirits, blissfully elevating both components of the tasting. Bourbon is a favorite companion to their tree-to-bar masterpieces, so it’s no surprise that they’d select bourbon barrels as ideal aging vessels for their chocolate. The ones they chose are charred American Oak from Woodford Reserve’s distillery. A beautiful alchemy occurs as the chocolate rests within the barrels for four years. Therein lies the fine art of flavor development and flavor loss, and the result is a chocolate with notes of honey, vanilla toasty oak and warm winter spices.
In the nose of this bar, expect oak, subtle clove and black pepper. Full-bodied cacao, cherry, honey, vanilla and nuts are the indulgent flavor notes that will indulge your palate. Though the bar in the photo indicates a two-year aging process, the bars in the Barometer Chocolate collection were actually aged for four years.
The appearance of this bar is outstanding, with a spotless front and swirled back. The snap is rich and heavy. 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: 76% Organic Heirloom Nacional Cacao Beans, 24% Organic Cane Sugar
- Net Weight: 50 g. / 1.76 oz.
- Country of Origin: Ecuador