RANKED AMONG THE MOST EXPENSIVE CHOCOLATE BARS IN THE WORLD, THIS ECUADORIAN WONDER IS SOURCED FROM CACAO BEANS ONCE THOUGHT TO BE EXTINCT
BY TIA KIM
It’s tricky to determine the world’s most expensive chocolate, in part because product sizes and base ingredient prices fluctuate wildly year to year. One regularly among the highest contenders and for our money this year’s dearest symphony of cacao, milk, and sugar comes from To’ak, an Ecuadorian company founded in 2013 by Jerry Toth and Carl Schweizer. This maker produces in very limited quantity; one year only 400 bars were made, but in 2018 a whopping 600 were released, all produced using an extraordinarily rare cacao bean variety called National, which at one time was thought to be extinct. After the discovery of a copse of century old trees in the valley of Piedra de Plata DNA tested and proven to be 100% pure something of an anticipation eruption was experienced in chocophile circles. Once harvested, To’ak’s beans are fermented for between five and seven days, during which they go through an additional six phases of selection before being handpicked for final production. Sugar and a very few (and secret) other ingredients are added over an extended period to help release acids or other astringent compounds. Last comes a barrel aging process, after which the completed bar is enclosed in a handcrafted and hand numbered Spanish Elm wood box. Inside is 1.7 ounces of chocolate with a taste experience that many connoisseurs compare to the finest French Bordeaux. And better still, five percent of the profits go to an Ecuadorian rain forest conservation foundation.
To’ak Milk Chocolate Bar