To'ak Chocolate is releasing 574 bars of what may well be the world's most rare and sublime dark chocolate, now available for the first time. Each 50 gram bar is priced at$260 and available for purchase online, as well as limited specialty retailers across the United States.
Not everyone who covets this treasure will be fortunate enough to receive it. To'ak was created for the most discerning dark chocolate aficionados - not for late night-cravings, not for trick-or-treats, not distributed in fun sizes, not to be consumed when stressed. This bucket list-worthy experience deserves to be enjoyed in its own room with reverence and ritual. There probably should even be a certain gown worn while mindfully sampling every sensory element—aroma, texture, flavor, and finish.
To'ak is working to transform the way chocolate is experienced, with special emphasis on terroir and fidelity to the Ecuadorian land on which it was grown. The packaging and presentation attempts to simulate the visceral and tactile experience of the harvest process. Only 574 bars were produced in 2014, with each bar packaged in a hand-crafted Spanish Elm wood box—the same wood used to ferment To'ak's cacao. The number of each bar is engraved on the back on the wood box, giving new meaning to the term "small batch."
Each bar is also accompanied by a 116-page booklet that tells the story behind the sourcing of the beans and provides a guide to dark chocolate tasting and pairing. The box even includes a hand-made tasting utensil used to explore the aroma of the chocolate without sullying its surface by contact with fingers. To'ak co-founders are also passionate advocates of pairing their chocolate with aged cognacs and select whiskeys whose flavor profile beautifully highlights the chocolate's finer nuances.
The name To'ak is derived from a fusion of Ecuadorian dialects, meaning "earth" and "tree." To'ak's cacao beans are sourced from the last relics of one of history's most cherished heirloom cacao varieties, from the famed Arriba growing region in coastal Ecuador. To'ak chocolate makers pay homage to this privileged source of cacao by paying meticulous attention to detail at every single phase of production. The result is a sharply limited edition of dark chocolate made with the care of a vintage winemaker and the precision of a premium small-batch whiskey. To'ak's current batch is available only until the 574 bars are gone. The next limited run will be available in September of 2015.