One of the most amazing things about humans is the ability to make something edible (not just edible but divine), out of a part of nature that seems disgusting. For instance, olives, coffee beans, soy beans, and the cocoa or cacao bean, if consumed straight from the tree or plant are either extremely bitter or undigestible. Like the production of wine, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages, ordinary people, over time, discovered by accident or by experimentation that the world of growing things could be utilized for a wide variety of purposes. No doubt, many were poisoned by mistake along the way, but look at what we have today.
One of those delights is chocolate. Deborah Vincent and Javier Abad are the team behind Casa Chokola in Taos. Beans from Venezuela, Peru, Guatemala, and Madagascar (all single source) are harvested, removed from the pod, fermented and dried before arriving in Taos where they are roasted, ground, tempered, and molded into bars and truffles, and made into sauce, among other things.
They produce "bean to bar" chocolate in small handcrafted batches. Each type of bean carries its own terroir - the total environmental conditions in which it is grown. For instance, Canoabo from Venezuela, which is 70% cacao has "buttery nut, caramel, and soft fruit" notes, while those of the Chuao, also from Venezuela, are dried fruit, dates, and fig. The Lamas from Peru, also 70% cacao, has a profile of apricots and honey, and the Ambanjan from Madagascar carries tones of raspberries, citrus, and wine.
Deborah working with the "nibs", which you can sample at the shop, and Javier tempering the chocolate.
Javier pouring chocolate into the molds for bars.
The tasting room
Just as all of us have different palates and varying tastes in food (including green and red chile), coffee, tea, and wine, many people have specific likes and dislikes in chocolate. You can visit CasaChokola in Taos just north of the Plaza at 106 B Juan Largo Lane from 11-7 Tuesday through Sunday, and smell the nibs, taste the chocolate or even get a chocolate mousse. Here is a link to their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/Chokola-bean-to-bar-1665900283682356/?fref=ts
Thanks to Debi and Javier for allowing me to interrupt their afternoon and take a few shots. Theirs is, indeed, a very special addition to the Taos foodscape.
until next Monday,
a passion for the [email protected]