As those of you who are friends with me on Facebook or Twitter already know, I recently had to throw out over 850g (almost 2lb for you Americans) of chocolate because, apparently, there are bugs out there that love chocolate as much as I do. I initially assumed the creatures that had invaded and messed up a sizable portion of my chocolate stash were weevils but, after googling “weevils”, I’m now not so sure.
I don’t want to describe the bugs here (even if doing so would allow you to help me identify them), because thinking about the little blighters makes me feel nauseous.
And I’d rather just talk about the following Taza chocolate which, thankfully, wasn’t affected by the insect invasion.
Taza Yerba Maté Chocolate Mexicano
Taza chocolate is known for its unique texture, which some have described as “gritty” but which I prefer to think of as “granular”. The texture results from Taza’s stone-grinding process and lack of conching. According to the Taza website, the granite millstone used to grind the cacao ensures that “unrefined cacao particles and sugar granules remain in the finished chocolate”.
All I know is that when I broke into my two circular discs of Taza Yerba Maté chocolate, I wrote “Oooh, the sugar sparkles like diamonds!” in my tasting notes.
Yes, I’m a little bit ashamed of that sentence. Rereading it now makes me feel like I should have a Barbie Doll sitting on my lap.
Taza really does seem to be going for chocolate purity in its creations, as this bar is made from only three ingredients: organic roasted cacao beans, organic cane sugar, and organic yerba mate powder. No vanilla and no soy lecithin. So, how did this sparkly diamond-in-the-rough* taste?
It tasted lovely. Notes of tropical fruits, dried peaches, and demerara sugar were initially the strongest, with floral undertones creeping through as the cacao and sugar crystals came together in the mouth.
As yerba maté is species of holly used to make a tea-like beverage, I was expecting a bitter or grassy flavour to this chocolate. However, it was more floral and sweet than intense and herbal. The texture was certainly a novelty, with the chocolate crumbling in the mouth rather than melting smoothly.
As I made my way through this chocolate, I kept thinking of the concentrated sweetness of dried fruit, with dried mangosteens and mango complimenting earlier thoughts of dried peaches.
I should admit that, at times, the free-floating sugar granules overpowered the chocolate flavour, but this was a small price to pay for the unique texture and sweetness of this Massachussets-based chocolate. I’d love to try Taza’s other flavours (salted almond, cinnamon, chilli) but alas! I live nowhere near Massachusetts.
Last but not least, this 38g portion had 6% of my daily iron requirements.
I thought you should know that.
* Aladdin shout-out! “Let me take your order / jot it down / you ain’t never had a friend like me!”