I love chocolate. There’s no way getting around it, but honestly, why would I try? It’s delicious, it makes me feel good, and there are so many varieties out there (even vegan ones!) that I never grow bored with it.
While spending the last month moving and working the day job and taking on freelance stuff and taking care of holiday obligations and trying to keep up with my other projects, I ran myself into the ground way more often than I was comfortable with. And it’s gonna sound like junkie talk, but a little bit of chocolate was all it took to get me up and at it again: peanut butter cups, a healthy dose of Holy Kakow syrup in my coffee, or whatever caught my eye while I was waiting in line at the grocery store.
Thank you, Taza, for catching my eye. It’s just this little puck o’ chocolate, around $5 or $6—which we know is cheap as hell when it takes but a tiny taste to satisfy you, allowing you to enjoy and even share this delight for a whole week. I grabbed the Salt and Pepper one, because it listed plain ol’ salt and black pepper and I thought that was ballsy, going with very pedestrian ingredients. It wasn’t fleur de sel and poblano, you know, just that stuff you grew up with, the stuff that lives on tables in pancake houses across the nation.
The taste was anything but pedestrian, but let’s not even start with the taste. The texture is unlike anything I’ve had before. It’s coarse, dry, with grains of sugar and salt and pepper. I read about Taza’s process on their website, and everything is done by hand, no giant steel machinery, so the product has an imperfect, handmade quality to it. If you grew up on Hershey’s and are looking for a smooth, homogonized, bland chocolate, this is not it. You will experience a crude yet gorgeous collection of flavors and textures that you may not want anything to do with. And I weep for you that you cannot see the beauty in this treat of treats.
I’ve since gotten the Cinnamon variety, and it’s the same texture and slap in the face of flavor. I’m tempted to buy the sampler they have online (not the $99 variety pack!), because they’ve got a Vanilla Bean, a Ginger, a Salted Almond, and a bunch of others, including more exotic peppers. And seeing as they’re all dairy-free, I’m in for the grand tour.
Don’t worry, other chocolate, I still have plenty of room in my heart (and tummy) for you.