There is a new chocolate company in San Francisco called TCHO. I have no idea what that stands for, but this from their website describes the founders:
"TCHO was founded by a Space Shuttle technologist turned chocolate maker and a grizzled industry veteran who set up chocolate factories for 40 years from Costa Rica to Germany."
The marketers of TCHO have included me in their list of taste testers for their new "citrus" chocolate. They haven't added artificial orange flavoring to this chocolate—this stuff has a natural hint of citrus that comes from roasting cacao beans from Madagascar, and it's yummy. Eustacia was home from college on the day the package arrived, and we nearly fought over the samples. We want more.
Along with a sample of the chocolate bar was a small package of roasted nibs, small pieces of crushed roasted cacao beans. You can munch on them straight from the package if you'd like—they're full of antioxidants, so munch away. Or you can cook with them. Sprinkle them on salads. Mix them in soups or stews.
I used them to make cookies following a recipe included with the package. Again, I want more.
There are several things I admire about this new company beyond the goods they produce. They are serious about their product and want to me more than the typical chocolate company that merely melts what someone else has produced. They go to the source, traveling in remote areas in order to find the perfect cacao beans. Fair trade is important to them, as is refusing to do business with cacao growers who use slavery in their production. According to their website, 37% of the world's chocolate comes from Ivory Coast, and in that country, cacao plantations often use slave labor for their harvesting.
So, a hearty thumbs-up on TCHO's citrus chocolate and roasted nibs.