What is Ancient Nacional Cacao?

Nacional, which is native to Ecuador, is generally regarded as the most coveted cacao variety in the world. Its fame in the global market dates back several centuries, although its ancient origins run much deeper.

How much do you pay your farmers?

We pay a farmgate price that is 3-8x the standard market price for “wet cacao" — well above the fair trade premium.

What is terroir-driven chocolate & why do you release different harvest years?

To’ak’s Harvest editions offer connoisseurs of dark chocolate this same opportunity—to taste not only the land, but also the characteristics of the particular year in which it was harvested.

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What certifications do you have?

USDA and EU Organic, Fair Trade TSA, Heirloom Cacao Preservation. We’re proud to report that our chocolate is vegan, gluten free, non-GMO as well.

How do you preserve heirloom cacao?

To’ak and its rainforest conservation partner Third Millennium Alliance (TMA) have embarked on a project to pull Ancient Nacional cacao variety back from the precipice of extinction. Click to read the details.

What is heirloom cacao?

In the broadest sense, there are two types of cacao: bulk cacao and what is officially called “fine flavour” cacao. About 95% of the global supply of cacao is considered “bulk cacao.” Only 5% is “fine flavour.” Heirloom cacao is the finest of the fine flavour cacao.

Is your chocolate vegan and gluten-free?

Yes it is. It’s also certified Organic, Fair Trade, and GMO-free

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Is your chocolate GMO-free?

Yes it is. It’s also vegan, gluten-free and certified Organic and Fair Trade.

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Is your chocolate certified organic?

Yes, all of our chocolate is certified USDA Organic, with the exception of our Galapagos edition.

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Is your chocolate certified fair trade?

Yes, all of our chocolate is certified Fair Trade with the exception of our Galapagos Harvest bars. In fact we direct-trade relationship with farmers and pay prices that are far higher than the fair trade equivalent.

How and why do you age your chocolate?

Aged chocolate is a new phenomenon that To'ak has been pioneering since 2013. The process is grounded in the science of flavor extraction, and draws heavily from long-standing practices in both the wine and whisky traditions.

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Is your chocolate raw?

Our current editions cannot qualify as “raw” because they were roasted, albeit at the relatively low temperature range of 80-100° C (176-212° F). Compare this to conventional roasting temperatures, which reach a whopping 160° C (320° F). Read on for full details.

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Does your chocolate contain antioxidants?

Bigtime. According to the USDA, the average ORAC value of pure dark chocolate is 49,944, which is 10x greater than the ORAC value of raw blueberries (4,669) and 13x greater than red wine (3,607) - both of which are also considered antioxidant powerhouses. Read on for full details.

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Other ways to enjoy cacao powder

Apparently some people in Europe have started snorting cacao powder at dance parties. The writer of this answer has tried that, twice, and decided that he vastly prefers to consume cacao the old-fashioned way–by eating or drinking it. It’s tastier that way, and less messy.

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Is your cacao fermented?

Yes, we consider fermentation to be one of the single most important steps in the chocolate-making process, in terms of flavor profile.

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