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Product Review and Giveaway: Taza Chocolate

October 28, 2009

Taza Chocolate kindly agreed to send me some of their products a couple weeks ago to taste-test and review. The reason why I first became interested in Taza Chocolate is because it is stone ground, organic, minimally processed, and direct trade (their press release states that they “always pay more than Fair Trade prices for our beans”). I like the fact that this company operates on a sustainability level to be more environmentally friendly and to produce chocolate which is of the best quality. Taza Chocolate also states that it is a member of Slow Food USA (which we had a lively discussion about back in April) and the ingredient list for their products is refreshingly short. This chocolate is dairy free, gluten free, and soy free as well.

I was given the opportunity to taste-test the Cacao Puro Chocolate Mexicano, Cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano, and the 70% dark chocolate bar. Before the sisterroommate left country for half a year, I asked her to taste the chocolate and tell me what she thought about it. She playfully agreed:

It’s very granular, but it tastes like original chocolate; it has a very pure base to it. It almost tastes a little barbaric, as though this is how they ate it at ceremonies in ancient times. It’s kind of sparkly, you can see the sugar in it… you can taste the sugar quite prominently. It would be really good melted in coffee. It has subtle overtones of rain-washed valleys.

(As you can see, the sisterroommate had fun with her review).

I also quite liked this chocolate, but I don’t think that the Chocolate Mexicano disks are the kind of chocolate I’d want to eat just by itself because the sugar granules are very large, so it’s a little bit too sweet for my liking. The dark chocolate bar is delicious by itself, however!

I tried using both kinds of Chocolate Mexicano in this amazing chocolate zucchini bread, and I can honestly say that this was one of the most decadently delicious breads I have ever made. The chocolate melted perfectly! I used less olive oil, added in some applesauce, and cut out the sugar (replacing part of it with agave nectar); the bread still turned out beautifully and I can’t wait to make it again with the Taza Chocolate.

I do not believe that chocolate is “a health food”, but this would be the perfect replacement in your diet if you normally like the sweet stuff. The cinnamon Chocolate Mexicano only has Dominican cacao beans, cane sugar, and Costa Rican cinnamon in it; the pure cacao has the same ingredients minus the cinnamon. The 70% dark chocolate bar contains Dominican Republic cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and whole vanilla beans. These are all real ingredients, and for that reason, Taza Chocolate makes for a great treat.

Interested in trying Taza Chocolate for yourself? Leave a comment about your favourite way to cook/bake with chocolate, your favourite kind of chocolate, or anything else chocolate-related below to enter to win a 70% dark chocolate bar, 2 0z nibs, and Guajillo Chili Chocolate Mexicano! As always, if someone leaves a comment that really rocks my socks off, the prize is yours. Otherwise, I’ll be using a random number generator. Winner will be announced one week from today, on Wednesday, November 4th.

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29 comments

  1. well. you said ANYTHING :)
    as a kid I was known to snag bags of the nestles chips from the kitchen, bring em to my room and spend the afternoon with that and a book.

    Id totally forgotten that (and the fact my mom was always less than delighted when she went to bake and there were none left in the domicile) until your post!


  2. My favorite kind of chocolate = 70% or higher. I’d LOVE to try Taza’s chocolates! :)

    Taza’s chocolates are gluten-free and soy-free, which is stellar – chocolate I can eat! Thank goodness! It’s very hard to find soy-free (especially) chocolate :(


  3. I like to make brownies with chocolates to treat my friends/family… it’s always welcome by anyone! who can refuse that, right?
    and for me, a healthier version of it would be dairy free chocolate mousse or topping for oatmeal.. a little goes a long way! :)


  4. Chocolate – mmmm!

    There are all sorts of fun things to do with chocolate, but I’ll focus on just three: one normal and two off-the-wall recipes. My personal favorite it to take a piece of dark chocolate and cover it in natural peanut butter. Good grief, this is like a small taste of heaven!

    Of course, there are some really bizarre things you can do too, like dipping a piece of bacon in chocolate. Yeah, there is nothing about this recipe that says health food, but it is incredibly good, and tastes nothing at all like you would expect. The next bizarre thing is to find a crisp, dill pickle (not the whole pickle, just a slice) and dip it in dark chocolate. I know, I know, this sounds like I am talking crazy talk, but it is unusually good.


  5. I eat chocolate everyday. I’ve always wanted to make a mole sauce from chocolate, but haven’t gotten into that creative mode yet. I love your idea of making the chocolate zucchini bread!!

    Thanks for the review. I am always looking for new types of chocolates! Nick and I are chocolate freaks.


  6. I love chocolate in just about any form! I used to hate dark chocolate, but now I actually like it better than milk chocolate! There is always the cliche chocolate chip cookie that is a classic, but I love the rich flavor of chocolate ganache on pies…mmm..


  7. Sounds like a good product! I usually have some 100% cocoa most every day, so this will work for me :-)


  8. MizFit- now that’s the kind of creative answer I like to see! I used to do that too. Except with the chocolate chip cookie dough we’d keep in the downstairs freezer. My mum would make gigantic batches of dough and freeze it for later use. Except that “later use” would be my tummy. (Now she knows my secret. Oops).

    VeggieGirl- it’s definitely not something you see advertised at most grocery stores! Do you go somewhere special to get your chocolate fix?

    Coco- I have oatmeal for lunch today too… now I REALLY wish I’d thought to break off some of that chocolate and mix it in!

    South Beach Steve- chocolate + peanut butter = heaven in food form. Weird about the pickle! I have some in my fridge so I’m going to have to try that…

    Gina- chocolate is delicious.

    Tammy- sometimes the classics are the best ;)

    Dr. J- I love the richness of a good dark chocolate!


  9. Did someone say CHOCOLATE??? It is my true love. My faves are the imports, especially Lindt with hazelnuts. I like dark chocolate with nuts, too. Mmmm…


  10. I LOVE chocolate, and love anything sweet, but I find myself using it a lot in things you wouldn’t necessarily think of…like chili is my most recent dish to use chocolate in. It’s delicious and people can never quite figure out what it is they’re tasting!


  11. I love chocolate and have been reformed from a milk chocolate person to really enjoying the dark. I just love to get a piece of chocolate, place it on my tongue and savor the melt. Since I have smaller amounts now, I have become more interested in the artisan chocolates to appreciate the finer points (just like with coffee – which also goes with chocolate :) )


  12. Checked out the Taza Chocolate site and they have lots of interesting things – would love to try their Chili chocolate.

    I don’t bake much these days, but I always have some bars of dark chocolate stashed away – usually Lindt, Green & Blacks or Cocoa Camino. If I feel like I want something sweet after dinner, one or two squares of dark chocolate does the trick!


  13. May Canadians enter?

    I’m another one of those people who used to eat chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I still do once in a while, but I more often make something with them now and eat higher quality, most often dark, chocolate when I’m eating it plain. I do a lot of my baking with unsweetened cocoa powder, having gotten into that habit when there was no other chocolate around the house. It keeps well and is versatile (I make a lot of hot cocoa with it, too), and it allows me to control how sweet I make things. Most recently I made cheesecake brownies, which are in no way healthy (so I’ll try not to make them often) but are very tasty.

    A recent discovery that I might make more often than those brownies is popcorn with a bit of chocolate melted into the butter. I air-popped the popcorn, melted some butter with a roughly equal quantity of chocolate chips (I wanted a subtle chocolate flavour, not chocolate covered popcorn), poured that over the popcorn, and sprinkled it with salt the way I normally would. It turned out to be a really nice combination of sweet and salty, and I hope I can replicate it. Now that you’ve reminded me about spiced chocolate, I might have to try adding cinnamon or chili or something else to that mixture.


  14. I don’t bake with chocolate. I don’t cook with chocolate. I don’t even eat chocolate. Ever.

    But hellz, do I ever crave it.


  15. FatFighterTV- I adore Lindt chocolate too!

    Kristi- ooh that could be fun to try.

    Lori- if you’re into dark artisan chocolate, then Taza is right up your alley!

    JavaChick- does “one or two squares” mean “an entire bar of chocolate”? That’s how I usually do it ;)

    Ikkinlala- I’m Canadian, so yes, Canadians can certainly enter! Cheesecake brownies are one of my guilty pleasures. And popcorn is definitely up there in my list of top favourite foods! Sounds interesting.

    Westwood- …you’re joking, right? Right?! (I don’t know if we can still be friends ;)).


  16. I use chocolate chips to bake and also use cocoa powder in my oats…
    Chocolates are the best and with all the research about how healthy they are..I’m in!


  17. taza is excellent. their a local for me and i couldn’t be happier! they’re at most farmers market and even have a bike delivery in place! twice a year they open the doors to their “factory” and give tours (and free samples!0 every product is made from small, hand roasted batches, roasted in ways that are traditional to south/central america.
    i enjoy the granular quality in their products (your sisters description was excellent!) but it does turn some people off. The chili mexican chocolate is great-the chili doesn’t hit you at first-great taste sensation. I also like their yerba mate disc! but the cocoa nibs are hands down my favorite (covered or uncovered!)
    your zucchini bread sounds delightful! its about time for me to get back into the baking mood!
    thanks for hosting the giveaway!


  18. just read the slow foods discussion thread…
    In defence of the fee: I just wanted to say that for me the real value of the slow food movement, has always been for choosing prepared food that you pay for, be it in a hotel, restaurant, bar etc…yes this is something that is more for the people with money to spend on that, but i don’t think it is without value. i like my coffee fair trade (and that certification costs too), and i like it if i eat out, for the restaurant to practice slow food… Its more of a voluntary quality standard for consumers. I don’t need the movement for my personal life. Like you, and many of your readers, I know where my food at home comes from and how it is prepared.


  19. Sagan: Ha! How did I miss that? I could have sworn I had paid attention; I guess my memory isn’t so good (I think maybe I was thinking of your trip to California and thought you lived there for some reason).


  20. I love love love love love smores. I know, so elementary. So juvenile. So AWESOME.


  21. Chocolate and I go WAY back. My tastes have evolved from just inhaling M&M’s, candy bars, and chocolate chips by the pound to actually tasting the chocolate.

    These days I do eat chocolate almost every day – but thoughtfully and I savor it. I have been known to have a piece of chocolate before I go running! Is that bad?


  22. Oh my gosh – I love dark chocolate. The darker, the better. I keep unsweetened baking chocolate squares in my cupboard at all times and eat them plain. Oh, and they’re really good melted in a warm bowl of oatmeal with a little almond butter garnish. :)


  23. I never used to like chocolate. For me it was like wine is with many people. When I got older, I could appreciate the nuances and delicious smokiness of really high grade dark chocolate. But unlike some chocolate enthusiasts, I love chocolate experiments, like adding chilies and what not. I think chocolate is so versatile, compliments both sweet and savory, and even has antioxidants. I love dark chocolate!


  24. my favorite way to bake with it is in banana or peanut butter goodies :)


  25. I love making chocolate candy with molds and I use all kinds of chocolate to make them with. My favorite is Milk chocolate!
    Carla
    cpullum(at)yahoo(dot)com


  26. […] the winner of the Taza Chocolate Giveaway is… VeggieGirl! Email me with your mailing address and I’ll make sure you receive your […]


  27. Oh. My. God. I bought the Guajillo Chili bar on a whim and I had to restrain myself from eating all of it in one sitting…

    I love the granular texture. I wasn’t surprised by it since it does say ‘stone ground’ on the package. I want to try the other flavors, but this one is so delicious I’m afraid to explore!


  28. I totally agree with your comment about the chocolate mexicano. I just received 3 disk packages – vanilla, pure cacao (except for the ton of sugar) and some herbal thing for my birthday. They are all revoltingly sweet – loaded with sugar, very coarse, not at all interesting flavor. Some of the worst chocolate I’ve ever had. I read someone’s review where he tried to sound like he was reviewing a fine wine – notes of this, hint of that – it’s all crap – this is lousy chocolate. Go to walgreens and get yourself an 85% lindt – infinitely better.


  29. […] the winner of the Taza Chocolate Giveaway is… VeggieGirl! Email me with your mailing address and I’ll make sure you receive your […]



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