What Goes into Making the World’s Most Expensive Chocolate?

By ~ Eric-Sheets 

A few years ago while seeking out the most rare and unique experiences we can offer in Ecuador, I was invited to a chocolate tasting class in Cumbayá. This small mountain town is booming with inspired startups and modern expressions of the culture, like an Ecuadorian Williamsburg right outside of Quito.

cumbayá ecuador

Galapagos Safari Camp x To’ak Chocolate

Our excursion hosts at Galapagos Safari Camp took our group to their headquarters in Cumbayá and introduced us to the makers of To’ak Chocolate. GSC partnered with them to make the first ever Galapagos-sourced chocolate, so they provided us with a presentation of their product to explain what magic goes into the making of a $260 bar ‘€“ perhaps the world’s priciest chocolate. This was not my first rodeo enjoying fine chocolate and my interest was piqued.

“Why would anyone pay that much money for a candy bar?”chocolate tasting in ecuador

Elevating the Chocolate Tasting Experience

To’ak Chocolate’s mission statement is:

“Transforming the way the world experiences dark chocolate, elevating its making and tasting onto the level of vintage wine and aged whiskey.”

The presentation pace was designed at such a delectable rhythm as to pull you out of time and space as they wrap you fully in their journey and carefully, richly draw your taste buds into a full palette flavor. I quickly began to realize that I was in for a real treat.

Co-Founder Carl Schweizer told us that they began To’a “to preserve a seriously endangered cacao species.” All the cacao we consume has been rapidly produced at a rate that has caused different breeds of species to combine and form hybrids. It is incredibly rare to find a pure cacao tree, but Carl and the To’ak team managed to find this rare, purebred cacao species before it became extinct.

Finding the Ecuadorian Nacional Cacao

They searched far and wide throughout the cloud forests of Ecuador, going village to village in search of this tree. After a long exploration, they finally found Piedra de Plata, a remote land region in the cloud forest, seemingly disconnected from the rest of the country until the 1990’s. The Nacional cacao tree had been preserved by the locals; some of the trees were 100 years old when they discovered them. DNA analysis confirmed the tree’s pure genetics, allowing this small region to become To’ak’s source of divine history and opportunity. Of course, making sure that the locals benefit from this historic finding as well.

A Rare Experience for Your Taste Buds

Tasting the chocolate is an enlightening experience in itself. We first tried the raw cacao bean and tasted the shell. As expected, not much flavor, but certainly had a strange smokey-dry taste. Next, we tried their dark chocolate bar with absolutely no additives. Making sure to appreciate the unique aroma first, I took a bite and chased it with some of the most amazing Caribbean dark rum I had ever tried. This combination was quite an adventure for my taste buds, and I am confident that I will never taste anything like it.

The First Ever Single Origin Chocolate Bar from Galapagos

At that time, Galapagos Safari Camp was helping To’ak source the first ever Galapagos-based chocolate bar, but it had not been released yet. Fast-forward to now, this signature bar has officially been released and will be available to purchase online in the new year. This is the first single-origin chocolate ever produced from the unique region of Galapagos Islands. Thanks for the wonderful efforts Galapagos Safari Camp & To’ak, we are proud to work with those who preserve Ecuador’s environment and pave the way for sustainable tourism.

If you are interested in trying To’ak chocolate before visiting us in Ecuador & Galapagos, check out https://toakchocolate.com  and order yours today!

The First Ever Single Origin Chocolate Bar from Galapagos

When planning your dream journey to Ecuador with Latin Excursions, ask us about staying at the Galapagos Safari Camp and incorporating this chocolate tasting experience into your itinerary. Although, instead of having the tasting at the Safari Camp’s office in Cumbayá, we will arrange it at the Guayasamí­n Foundation Museum – the former residence of Oswaldo Guayasamín, one of the most famous Ecuadorian artists, who died in 1999. As one can imagine, this house has a stunning gallery and a terrace overlooking Quito’s valley.

Fundacion Guayasamin