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Jul 15, 2010 09:01 AM

Flood at Taza Chocolate

Apparently Taza was hit hard by the Cambridge/Somerville floods this past weekend - see the attached blog post. The silver lining is that their inventory was stored on the second floor and was unaffected, so at least they have that to sell. They do mention that cash flow will be an issue as they repair and rebuild, so this might be a good time to add to that emergency stash of chocolate bars.

Fuller story on their site:

Taza Chocolate
561 Windsor St, Somerville, MA

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  1. This is terrible; I'm guessing it doesn't help as directly if you buy it at a retailer, like say, Whole Foods, or Giles...

    1 Reply
    1. re: galleygirl

      Why not, where ever you buy it, it will send money back to Taza. Those stores will restock and new orders will fill the till at Taza.

      We made Taza our Friday link tomorrow and are asking everyone to fill their cupboards with Taza goodies.


    2. Of course I feel bad for them that they experienced a damaging flood. And I'm all for local business

      But is it just me . . . or are their chocolates just not very good? I find them uniformly gritty and flavorless. They sort of seem to me like the Mem Tea of chocolate --- a local business that I want to like, and has terrific marketing and penetration in local stores, but just isn't very good at all.

      14 Replies
      1. re: lipoff

        They certainly have their own distinctive interpretation of the chocolate bar, yes. Like you, I want to like it.

        1. re: lipoff

          I really like their chocolate. The grittiness took some getting used to, but I think the flavors are pretty good (especially the almond, vanilla and chili varieties). It's not as sweet as a lot of other chocolate bars.

          1. re: lipoff

            I believe that grittiness is characteristic of the stone ground process. I love the texture! Have you tried the chocolate covered almonds? The fruitiness of their chocolate really shines!

            (Incidentally, I just bought several of their "Famers Market" gift tote sets to give out as wedding party favors. $20 goes to local farmers federation. Yay Taza!)

            1. re: digga

              Actually, my understanding is that the unusual texture has less to do with the stone grinding and more to with a process that they do not do - conching, which produces the familiar creamy texture. Taza uses a different method, favored in parts of Mexico, in which the chocolate is not conched. I like it, and I imagine some people would not.

              Edward Behr of the Art of Eating wrote a great explanatory piece in Salon a little over a month ago:


            2. re: lipoff

              One more big fan of the flavor of Taza. The texture is from the stone grinding method. I find it is like the crystals you find in great cheeses. It adds tiny bursts of flavor. I also find that the Taza taste more of chocolate and less of sugar. It's sweet enough to satisfy without leaving you with that craving for more sugar.

              I'm not a fan of things that are super sweet. I'll always pick a dessert with some tartness and favor any product that is more about flavor than sweetness.


              1. re: BostonZest

                It was pretty darned tasty in the Guajillo Chile Chocolate Pavé I had at Bergamot last weekend.

              2. re: lipoff

                I love the cacao nibs. So addicting. It's hard not to polish off the bag when I buy one. Slightly bitter but no grittiness because it is only a thin coating of chocoate over the nib.

                1. re: lipoff

                  So funny, I had the reverse reaction. I was never much of a chocophile; the whole snap and tempering thing never impressed me that much. But the first time I tried one of the Taza rounds (which are actually made for Mexican hot chocolate, as well as eating, but I like to eat them), I found it more of a visceral experience, kind of like tasting my first espresso, or Turkish coffee, after years of drinking instant. Suddenly, i could taste the most basic ingredients, and understand the intense love people have of chocolate. I like all their bars, but the most basic and earthy, the rounds, are still my favorites.

                  Now, I have to admit, they were a gateway drug, and now I understand other chocolates as well, but I still love them.

                  1. re: lipoff

                    I appreciate them for expanding my idea of what chocolate should be. I didn't love the texture when I first tried it but I've come around a bit, and I do like the fruity directness of the flavor. Given that 99% of other chocolate makers go for a super-smooth texture, I'm glad that they are exploring the opposite direction - there's more than enough room for both approaches. I also really like their 80% cacao bar - I find lots of 80% chocolate to be monochromatically bitter and burnt tasting, but theirs just works really well for my palate. I also tried a chili version recently and it was excellent - very subtle chili taste at first but then it sneaks up on you. good stuff.

                    1. re: MichaelB

                      Another person who was put off by the texture at first but eventually came around due to the amazingly complex and fruity flavor. I don't see how lipoff can find it "flavorless". Perhaps it is because it tastes different from other chocolates, so you don't recognize the flavor, or perhaps because it is less sweet and you are sensing the lack of sugar. Make sure to taste chocolate at room temperature, with a clean palate, and without drinking any beverages at the same time (especially not a cold beverage). You should ideally wait 30-60 minutes after eating to truly taste chocolate. You don't have to like it, obviously, but let's just say it's worth tasting it a few times to be sure you don't like it, because I went from quite negative on it to an extreme lover just by tasting it multiple times. My favorite is the Chiapas limited edition 75% bar, and the quajillo chile chocolate mexicano.

                      1. re: bella_sarda

                        After reading this thread and the very interesting Salon article, I wanted to try Taza chocolate again. I happened to see the Special Edition 75% Chiapan Chocolate bar for sale (at Marty's Liquors in Newton) and so I went for it.

                        I often prefer my chocolate slightly chilled, but I tried this one multiple ways. Room temperature. Slightly chilled. Right out of the refrigerator. I had it by itself, with tea, shortly after a meal, and in the middle of the day. And I really wanted to like it.

                        But I don't. I don't like the chalky texture, I don't taste any complexity in the flavor, and I don't like the lingering aftertaste. But I do appreciate everyone writing. I'm going back to happily munching away on my stock of Ritter Sport, Socola Truffles, and the thin Richart chocolate squares.

                        Marty's Liquors
                        675 Washington St, Newton, MA 02458

                        1. re: lipoff

                          Lipoff, you might try this sometime - went to the Dalmore tasting at Federal Wine and Spirits - the genuine Scottish tastemaster from Dalmore (in kilt, et al.) was part performance art, part historian, part stand-up comedian...

                          He suggested this method to taste some chocolate -

                          First, take a swallow of some hot black coffee
                          Then take another swallow of some hot black coffee

                          Then take your fine aged single-Malt Scotch (preferably the Dalmore limited edition) and sniff it, sniff it....SNIFF it...then quaff it, swish it over the tongue...holding it, holding it, middle, back, side...avoid the tip of the tongue....middle, back, middle, over, under, side, middle, under, over...holding it.....hooooolding it....and now, only now....swallow....

                          And then take a piece of fine cacao (over 70%) and let it melt in your mouth....

                          That "will produce a multi-orgasm."

                          1. re: lipoff

                            Sorry it's not for you. I still can't believe you don't taste complexity, but everyone's taste buds are different. Sounds like your tastes veer toward the sweeter side, given the brands you like. Chocolate loses a lot of flavor when it's cold.

                    2. Oh, wow, I just discovered this wonderful chocolate and now I hate you all for talking it up so much on this board. I bought a little round 2.7 oz packet of Mexican vanilla. 2.7 ounces, that's not too much to eat at a sitting, is it? I love, love, love the grainy texture. Please tell me they're back in full operation after their disaster!

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: Isolda

                        MMMMMM, wait'll you try the guajillo (sp?) pepper and Almond in the rounds.....

                        1. re: galleygirl

                          You got the guajillo right---both its spelling and its superiority. Salted almond is my second-favorite of the Mexican chocolates. I made cookies with the guajillo variety (a la recipe at Taza website) and they were great.

                          1. re: bella_sarda

                            Jumping up and down and waving two hands for the salted almond. Adding salt to sweet makes me happy. Bella, have you tried salty oats cookies?


                            1. re: BostonZest

                              Well, now, thanks to galleygirl, bella_sarda, and BosonZest, I am chowing down on the guajillo and have the salted almond waiting in my secret chocolate hiding place. I could have gone to Roche Bros for my other groceries today, but nope, had to make that detour to Whole Foods, all for the privilege of paying nearly $10 for two rounds of chocolate...

                              1. re: BostonZest

                                No, BZ, have not tried those. Where can I find them? I have been a huge salty-sweet fan ever since I tasted my first chocolate-covered pretzel as a wee girl.

                                1. re: bella_sarda

                                  Formaggio has them. At the Cambridge store, you can either buy singles at the counter where the bread is. Or, if you want a package of 5 or 6, they are buy the cookie and dessert location. It's in bag by the window.

                                  I like the chocolate ones better than the plain oatmeal ones. Besides the salty sweet contrast, there is a really satisfying textural contrast (my theory is that it's from the dried unsweetened coconut.

                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                    Also there are the ridiculously amazing caramels with celtic sea salt, by the register. Every time I have one of those I want to die of joy on the spot.

                                    1. re: marcreichman

                                      Yes. Those are delicious and hard to resist. Salty and sweet and the caramel is the perfect texture.

                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                        Making Formaggio shopping list now: salty oats cookies, salted caramels, Jeni's salted caramel ice cream. Going to have a salty/sweet festival!