Taza Chocolate, in Somerville, near Boston, has some of the best chocolates we’ve tried, and they offer an interesting and fun tour of the factory!
I have to be honest and say that I had never heard of the Taza Chocolate Factory before we visited Massachusetts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate, and I love a company that takes an interest in it’s product from farm to grocery store, however this particular chocolate company was new for me. Come to find out, they were right under my nose at the local Whole Foods all along!
We arrived in Somerville, MA early on a Sunday morning for the 10:30am tour and we were greeted by Josh, an enthusiastic tour guide who was clearly a man after our own hearts with his love for chocolate, good food, and drink, as well as a keen interest in Rusko, the mascot of El Boqueron Viajero travel blog. After all, who wouldn’t love a stuffed boquerón who travels the world?
Our first experience of Taza Chocolate was in the gift shop. Josh directed us to try any of the various samples that were displayed around the shop, which was festooned with Mexican style paper flags and brightly packaged chocolates. The first one we tasted had espresso in it, and we were surprised by the almost gritty, natural taste of the chocolate. We then moved on to a chocolate with hot chilli in it, as well as a chocolate with an orange flavor. All the chocolates were delicious, and every one of them was a dark chocolate. In fact, all of Taza’s chocolates are dairy free, gluten free, and pretty much all natural. They might contain nuts, however…so if you are allergic, that is your only worry.
We began our tour listening to the story of how Taza chocolates are made. Josh showed us a real cacao pod from the trees in Bolivia. The pod was larger than what I expected, and according to what we learned, normally the insides of the cacao pod are coated with a slimy substance, which is what helps to make the chocolate. Once the pods have been harvested, the beans and fruit are packed in large wooden boxes where they ferment for 7 days. Finally the beans are dried on large wooden drying racks for up to ten days. Once the beans have been completely dried they are shipped to the Taza Chocolate factory.
When we entered the factory, we had to put on fashionable hairnets. Pedro and I took that opportunity to grab an awesome “hairnet selfie.” We then learned about the different techniques for roasting the cacao beans and the different products that are made at the Taza Chocolate factory. It was very interesting to learn that a lot of the machines they use to package the chocolate are relatively new and up until recently the employees helped to package each chocolate by hand. This might sound like a tedious task, but it becomes all the more impressive when you consider that Taza chocolate is sold in circular pieces, just like the traditional Mexican chocolates.
Finally we learned that the chocolate is ground using special stones that were brought directly from Mexico. The little cuts in the stone grind against one another like knives grinding the chocolate into a powder and mixed with the different flavors. Each chocolate is made carefully and tested for quality control. They are then shipped to stores around the country, or you can order them online.
We learned a lot on the Taza Chocolate Factory Tour, and we ruskommend it to anyone who has an interest in chocolate or the chocolate making process. We should warn that it is not the best tour for young children, as there is a lot of information, and the chocolate is all dark chocolate, which some young sweet teeth might not appreciate as much as the adults in the group. That being said, we had a wonderful time and really came away with an understanding, not only for the process of chocolate making, but also for the interest Taza Chocolate takes in providing a quality product from farm to store. We ruskommend Taza Chocolate with 5 boquerones. A sweet start to our Sunday, to be sure!
**We were invited to visit by Visit Massachusetts Tourism Office. In no way were we swayed to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are our own.