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TCHO Chocolate: Intensely Flavor-Focused Dark Chocolate

TCHO Chocolate in packaging

Place of Origin: San Francisco, CA, USA

There’s a lot of good chocolate in the world, dear readers, and we believe TCHO Chocolate is some of the best dark chocolate on the planet.

Keep in mind that RTF editor-in-chief Bobbie Hasselbring is the author of The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook. And RFT editor/photo editor Anne Weaver served as a judge on many of those trips to evaluate chocolate for the books. So we know our way around chocolate and TCHO, in our opinion, is some really great chocolate.

This is varietal, single source chocolate – that is, chocolate that’s grown in a particular place for specific flavors and other qualities. The people at TCHO source their beans from Ghana, Peru, Ecuador, and Madagascar and the results are startling good. Without adding additional flavors, each variety has its own uniquely distinctive flavor and texture. Eating TCHO is like eating a piece of the country it’s grown in -– the raw, wild chocolate essence of the place of origin coupled with the silky sophistication that comes from great chocolate making.

TCHO Chocolate comes in several different flavors

TCHO comes in four terrific flavors:

TCHO’s Dark Chocolate “Chocolatey,” 70% cacao, hails from Ghana and is an intense chocolate flavor with what one reviewer felt was “a rich, almost coffee-like finish.” Another reviewer said this chocolate had a “hint of spice.” Of course, the chocolate has neither added coffee nor spices. This is pure Ghana cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla.

Their Dark Chocolate “Nutty” variety, from Ecuador, dials back the cacao to 65%, which produces a  lighter flavored chocolate with definite nutty flavors. If we didn’t know better, we’d swear TCHO added the essence of hazelnuts to this chocolate, but, again, it’s just the nutty flavor that comes from their distinctive Ecuadorian beans.

Small chocolate bites from TCHO

Darkly delicious.

If you like citrus fruits and chocolate, you’ll fall for TCHO’s Dark Chocolate “Citrus” from Madagascar. At 67% cacao, it’s not quite as intense as “Chocolatey” and finishes with a distinctively acidic taste.

From Peru, TCHO creates Dark Chocolate “Fruity.” This choice offers a deep chocolate flavor with a definite fruity tang.

If you want to try all four flavors, check out TCHO-A-Day samplers. These are approximately 1/4 ounce squares of each flavor packaged in a “pill bottle.” They call this product “the last good drug” and we agree. They even have a subscription program that automatically refills your “prescription” each month.

TCHO has a line of fruit and nuts covered in their dark chocolate. Their Macademia Nuts Drenched in Chocolate, a RFT reviewers’ favorite, has a sharp crispness with a rich, crunchy nut flavor. Too often macadamia nut candies have a soft, almost mush macadamia. Not so with TCHO’s. The nut is crunchy and fresh like its just come from the roasting oven. We weren’t as impressed with their Chocolate-covered Honey Roasted Cashews. While complex in flavor, the cashews get lost and the honey-roasting is, in our opinion, wasted. We’d rather see a plain roasted cashew coated in TCHO’s rich dark chcoclate. Their Mango Morsels in Dark Chocolate, another winner, was a lovely surprise with a tart, sharp, suprizingly chewy texture that was satisfying.

They also offer roasted cacao nibs drenched in chocolate, in which the sweetness of the chocolate flavor contrasts nicely with the almost sour nib. The plain roasted nibs aren’t for eating as they are bittery and with a fibrous texture. We found a number of recipes for chocolate nib cookies, carmelized chocolate nibs, etc. and we’d have to try these before recommending this products to you, RFTers.

TCHO Drinking Chocolate is something special. We made cocoa with 6 oz. of 2% milk and the recommended 3 Tbs. of chocolate. The result was creamy and velvety rich cocoa. The chocolate can also be served cold with ice (the chocolate must be melted with hot milk first).

Small, bite-sized "Organic Baking Drops" from TCHO

Organic baking drops.

And finally, we sampled TCHO’s Organic Baking Drops, little disks of silky smooth 66% chocolate. One of our reviewers swore that this chocolate must have a hint of milk chocolate in it  to produce such a velvety texture and balanced flavor (it doesn’t). The chocolate backs off on the dark chocolate intensity just a bit and, while we’re confident these drops would make some excellent baked products, we so loved popping these perfectly-sized disks into our mouths, we wondered why anyone would “waste” them in a recipe.

All of TCHO chocolates are intensely flavored chocolate that has just the right snap, with a smooth satiny flavor on the tongue. This is chocolate for true chocophiles. It’s chocolate you need to take your time enjoying. Resist the urge to chew it. Instead, savor it, inhale it, allow it to melt in your mouth.

Resealable pouch with TCHO's Organic Baking Drops

TCHO’s resealable foil pouch keeps their Organic Baking Drops fresh tasting.

We were pleased to learn that there’s even more to love about TCHO than its seriously fabulous dark chocolate. This is a company that is committed to doing good by doing right. They partner with farmers to develop the best cacao beans possible and then pay them a fair price for it. And they protect the environment by growing organic beans.

Okay, with TCHO, you get some of the greatest chocolate on the planet and you can do something good just by eating it? What’s not to love? Go get yourself some TCHO Chocolate at retailers like Whole Foods, Kitchen Kaboodle, Drageger’s and a number of smaller, boutique retailers. Or purchase online at www.tcho.com.

— Reviewed by BH/AW



Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.