HCP Heirloom Cacao 9
Nacional cacao, Piedra de Plata, Ecuador
Provided by To’ak
To’ak was born from a rainforest conservation project that started in 2007 in the coastal region of Ecuador. It was here that co-founder Jerry Toth began cultivating cacao trees and making chocolate in a thatched bamboo house secluded in the middle of a forest. As part of his conservation work, Jerry spent several years cultivating an organic fruit tree orchard that features cacao trees mixed with over fifty different species of other tropical fruit trees. In the mountains above the house, Jerry also found semi-wild cacao growing along stream banks. He and his team harvested this cacao and used it to make chocolate in the Bamboo House, following the methods taught to them by their neighbors.
After years of honing his passion, Jerry linked up with co-founder Carl Schweizer and fourth-generation Ecuadorian cacao grower Servio Pachard, on whose farm To’ak cacao is meticulously fermented and dried. To’ak cacao is sourced from a close-knit group of fourteen cacao growers from the valley of Piedra de Plata, who share 10% of To’ak’s profits. Carl and Jerry produce the chocolate along with Guillermo Heredia in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, at the Ecuatoriana de Chocolates factory. Dennise Valencia, born and raised in Quito, is To’ak’s general manager and is married to Carl. From earth to tree to bean to bar, To’ak chocolate is produced entirely in Ecuador.
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The Panelists found the flavor of the chocolate made from these Ecuadorian beans presented a dark, rich, full-bodied color depth. The blend of dark fruit, deep molasses, and oaky notes were particularly captivating.