At Sh24,500 ($260) for a 50-gram bar, To’ak dark chocolate is the world’s most expensive.
Grown and made in Ecuador – the native origin of cacao – what makes a To’ak bar of chocolate so special?
Roughly 95% of the world’s chocolate is made from mass- produced varieties of cacao beans, which are primarily grown in countries and continents far from cacao’s homeland. The remaining 5% is produced from rare and highly- coveted Fino y de Aroma cacao, most of which grows only in Ecuador—Fino y de Aroma cacao that is native to Ecuador is called by the name Nacional, and has long been considered by many connoisseurs to be the finest cacao in the world for its rich aroma and complex flavor profile.
The secret to their artisanal chocolate?
The To’ak team transforms the way chocolate is experienced, starting with its care on the land and culminating in the five senses of tasting and pairing through finding a cacao appellation blessed with a rare combination of heirloom genetics and optimal terroir (which describes the taste of an artisanal product through the specific soil and climate conditions of the land on which it was grown).
The team’s explorations led them deep into the famed Arriba cacao region all the way to Piedra de Plata in Ecuador, where they found 100-120 year-old trees that pre-dated the genetic hybridization of cacao that occurred in the wake of the 1916 outbreak of Witch’s Broom disease.
As chocolate makers, the next task was to marry this privileged source of cacao with extreme attention to detail at every single phase of production. The result was 574 bars of dark chocolate made with the care of a vintage winemaker and the precision of a premium small-batch whiskey, individually sold in wooden boxes, numbered by harvest, packaged in a gold wrapper, and also comes with a pair of wooden tweezers so that the oils from your fingertips don’t interfere with the chocolate’s taste.