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Wednesday 14 March 2018

Fancy a fancy bar of chocolate for $400?

Would you be prepared to spend over $400 for a bar of vintage chocolate that has been aged in either Cognac or whisky barrels. 

Ecuador-based chocolate producer To’ak, which says it is aiming "to elevate chocolate to the level of vintage wine" is gambling plenty of chocoholics will take the bait. 

The chocolate bars, which form part of the producer’s ‘vintage’ collection, arrive packaged in a Spanish elm box complete with wooden tasting utensils (although you have to wonder who needs utensils taste chocolate).

The company sources its cacao beans from just 322 trees belonging to the ancient Nacional species, which was thought to be extinct until 2009, when To’ak co-founders Jerry Toth and Carl Scheider and "harvest master" Servio Pachard Vera, found a grove of the trees in Ecuador’s Piedra de Plata valley.

On its website, the brands states: “Piedra de Plata is to cacao what the Côte de Nuits in the French province of Burgundy is to wine”.

Each vintage of chocolate is aged in wood for at least two years and is produced in a limited-edition, 100-bar run.

The chocolate is aged in the Ecuadorian capital, Quito, prior to tempering and formation into bars.  To’ak claims that Quito’s “high mountain climate”, with average indoor temperatures of 18- 19°C with 50-60% relative humidity, “provides optimal conditions for the long-term ageing of dark chocolate”.

The co-founders say on their website that they wish “to transform the way that the world experiences dark chocolate, elevating its making and tasting to the level of vintage wine and aged whisky”.

The name To’ak is derived from the ancient dialects of Ecuador, meaning “earth” and “tree”, not,as some sceptics might imagine, the old English words "con" and "men". 

To’ak says it donates 5% of its profits to Third Millennium Alliance, a conservation foundation dedicated to preserving the Pacific Forest in Ecuador. In 2014, it also sponsored the planting of over 7,000 trees in the area.

Make up your own mind at

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