Boston Local Food Festival

Presented by Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts

Locally Taza

Even though Somerville’s Taza Chocolate can’t source their cacao beans locally (the beans won’t grow in this latitude), the company epitomizes what it means to be a local business. Once the dried cacao beans arrive at their factory tucked away off of Cambridge St., every step from the bean roasting to grinding to molding to packaging takes place on site in Somerville. (Although the cacao beans are not local, Taza’s commitment to the Direct Trade Certified Cacao program helps the local area in which the beans are grown.) If you frequent Boston-area farmers markets, you may look for the Taza stand if you’re low on supplies, although you’ll certainly find their products at local establishments and beyond; they’ve grown from small start-up in 2007 to distributor to 3,500 retailers worldwide. And what might you find available for sale? According to Suhayl Ramirez, Retail Events and Outreach Coordinator, Taza’s Chocolate Mexicano discs are the company’s top seller.

Using the same process to stone grind chocolate that founder Alex Whitmore came across in Oaxaca, Mexico, Taza produces Mexican chocolate in such flavors as cinnamon, salted almond, coffee, guajillo chili, ginger, and salt & pepper. Although I found the entire tour of the Taza factory to be interesting (and a great activity for out-of-town guests), a highlight was being able to sample all of the aforementioned flavors, as well as some of their stone ground bars. The bars have a texture that is a little smoother than that the discs but they still retains some of that signature subtle grittiness that signifies not only cacao beans that are stone ground but also the natural cane sugar granules. The bars are available in 60%, 70%, 80% and 87% cacao and, as with all their products, are USDA certified organic.

Even if you’ve never sampled one of the bars or discs, chances are high that area chocolate lovers have encountered their chocolate in local establishments— Public Relations and Marketing Associate Molly Kravitz reports that Island Creek Oyster Bar, Hungry Mother, Eastern Standard, Oleana, Night Shift Brewing, and Slumbrew are among those who have used Taza products. And the fun doesn’t stop there, as local artisan food producers Doves & Figs and Q’s Nuts have developed items using Taza stone ground chocolate, and Boston’s MEM Tea uses the leftover roasted cacao shells to create some of their teas. I also learned that Taza teams up with other local food and beverage producers as part of their Perfect Pairing series, perhaps bringing you compatible cheese nibbles from Cambridge’s Formaggio Kitchen or sips from Grand Ten Distilling in South Boston. In other words, it’d be hard to imagine a Boston Local Food Festival without Taza Chocolate!

This post was written by Leslie Weston of Nibbles and Bits, go check her out!

Posted by: Nicola on September 11, 2013 @ 2:04 pm
Filed under: Blog,Boston Local Food Festival,Local Craft Brewfest