What makes exceptionally exquisite chocolate? Well, that’s a matter of opinion of course but for any serious chocolate connoisseur, it all starts with the best cacao beans in the world. Let me start by mentioning the blasphemous fact that raises many of my friends’ brows and elicits incredulous gasps- I am by nature, not a huge fan of chocolate. I don’t have a huge sweet tooth in general and chocolate has never had a mystical hold over me the way it does over so many of you.
For me to say I love a particular chocolate is saying a heck of a lot.
My love affair with Tcho Chocolate began two years ago when I went in search for the best quality chocolate to purchase for my father. Imagine if you will, a grown man who is a respected business man in public but a teddy bear of a father at home who we often find hiding in the kitchen around midnight during family movie nights sneaking bits of chocolate long after he’s brushed his teeth. He claims the chocolate doesn’t touch his teeth because it melts on his tongue, which in his usually brilliant engineering mind, means it doesn’t count.
I decided that if my father was to continue his midnight rendezvous with illicit bars of chocolate from who knows what companies, I should at least contribute to his health and palate by procuring the very best chocolate available to human kind. My search led me to many chocolate companies across America (this time I focused my search within the US and did not include Europe for convenience purposes) and finally, to the doorstep of Tcho along San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
Dark chocolate has long been known to be high in antioxidants and a strong promoter of healthy heart and healthy sugar levels. The kinds of dark chocolate that attract me are ones that are not overwhelmed by copious amounts of sugar or faux flavorings. Like any other superior quality food, excellent chocolate stands on its own.
Tcho Chocolate is the first I’ve seen in America that uses what it refers to as the “Flavor Wheel” to guide their procurement of cacao beans as well as the discerning palates of their loyal fans. With 6 fundamental characteristics- Nutty, Chocolatey, Bright, Fruity, Floral and Earthy, Tcho produces an array of chocolates to appeal to each palate.
One of my absolute favorite products from Tcho is their box of 16, which makes a great gift or self indulgent treat. It has a mix of the following pieces:
- 4 Classic Serious Milk + Ground Piedmont Hazelnuts
- 4 TCHOIntense + Marshall’s Farm Bay Area Honey
- 4 Citrus PureNotes Dark + Blood Orange
- 4 Sea Salt and Roasted Nib Caramel + Custom Dark Blend.
Each piece has distinctive notes blended with Tcho’s signature chocolate- some gentle on the palate, some powerful and lingering with hints of espresso. Every bite of Tcho is a masterful, symphonic moment of love-making on the palate. None are too sweet; none leave those horrifyingly nauseating swirls of mass produced lard-with-sugar taste that most other American produced chocolates are so good at doing. Tcho Chocolates are sophisticated yet unpretentious, simple in their execution of finely crafted confections, leaving us wholly happy and eagerly awaiting the next sensual taste.
For purists like my father who enjoy unadultered dark chocolate, there are varieties of Tcho Chocolate Bars- one of my personal favorites being the TCHOIntense Dark. For an all around crowd pleaser, try their Chocolate Covered Mango (fruity little nibs of real mango enveloped in dark chocolate) or Chocolate Covered Cashew.
Lucky for everyone- Tcho ships nationwide in the US. If you’re ever in the San Francisco area, make sure to embark on their Chocolate Factory tour (everyday at 10.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.) and for one moment in time, pretend you’re Charlie. Truly fine chocolates- it’s a dying art but thankfully Tcho is reviving it.