Brew This Fine Hot Chocolate From Ecuador
The To’ak brand of rare Ecuadorean chocolate is right up there with luxury items like white truffles and certain caviars. Often aged in bourbon or tequila casks and priced at more than $150 an ounce, it is processed from the heirloom Nacional variety of cacao. Now, those on more modest budgets can sample the chocolate as unsweetened cacao powder, meant for brewing like coffee in a French press for a drink that’s rich, a bit fruity and benefits from a modest splash of milk. You can also add it to your morning coffee or smoothies, or even use it like regular cocoa powder for baking. There are two other options, both sweetened, for making hot chocolate. The Nacional variety was previously thought to be extinct, but it was rediscovered not long ago in a valley in Ecuador. Conservation and high prices, to limit production, have resulted in the gradual restoration of Nacional.
To’ak Chocolate T.cacao Everyday drinking chocolate, $22 for 250 grams (8.8 ounces); $28 and $38 for 200 grams sweetened cacao (about 7 ounces), available for pre-order; 50-gram (1.76 ounce) bars, $280 to $685, toakchocolate.com.
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Florence Fabricant is a food and wine writer. She writes the weekly Front Burner and Off the Menu columns, as well as the Pairings column, which appears alongside the monthly wine reviews. She has also written 12 cookbooks.
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