Deep flavor from mild ancho chilies, Maui vanilla beans, and Mexican cinnamon, plus magnificent texture from stoneground chocolate. Named for Vandana Shiva.
Much like Vandana Shiva herself, The Vandana chocolate is a complex firecracker of a candy: bittersweet chocolate with textured bits of Maui vanilla beans, Mexican cinnamon, and freshly ground ancho chilies. It's very warmly and cozily spicy, not at all overwhelming, with flowery and sweet notes.
I know I shouldn't play favorites, but this chocolate is my (Lagusta's) favorite. Not only because it's so tasty, but because I'm really proud of the chocolate in it. It combines three kinds of chocolate: organic and fair-trade Callebaut chocolate, way-beyond organic and fair-trade Hawaiian chocolate, and mind-blowingly progressive Taza chocolate.
The Hawaiian chocolate is made by a tiny mom-and-pop (literally!) company on the Big Island of Hawaii. It's not fair-trade certified only because the f/t designation isn't used in the US. I'm really proud of this chocolate because it's the most “local” chocolate I can get, since the only place in the US chocolate can be grown is Hawaii. It seems ridiculous, but every time I taste this chocolate by itself I swear I can taste the flowery, sweet Hawaiian air in which the beans were grown.
The Taza chocolate is super special as well. Taza chocolate is stone-ground, organic better-than-fair-trade (they use a direct-trade system that is superior to traditional fair-trade certification), bean-to-bar, biodynamic, recycled paper-packaged, bike-delivered chocolate (from Chiapas!). Phew! That's some liberal cred!
You might notice that the Vandana chocolate is not as silky smooth as the other chocolates. That's because the Taza chocolate is stone-ground, which makes it, as I call it, “pleasantly gritty.” European-style chocolate is the result of many steps—chocolate is not a heavily refined food in the sense that it is chemically treated or “modified,” but it takes a whole lot of mechanical potchking around to get it from bean to bar.
Taza skips one of the big steps, conching, and the result is something strange and lovely that doesn’t sound lovely at all—gritty chocolate. As they put it: “We skip [conching] in order to preserve the texture of our chocolate and the natural flavors of the beans...the distinct texture of our chocolate gives it the appeal of more wholesome food. We use Mexican molinos, which are traditional stone mills, to achieve our tasty and ridiculously intense chocolate...Taza chocolate is food, not candy.”
About Vandana Shiva:
“Let us in our diversity create an earth democracy.”
Vandana is a contemporary physicist, activist, paradigm shifter, and visionary. She advocates for globalization in the best sense of the word: learning from and respecting the best of every culture. She fights for local, sensible, environmentally sound solutions to complex global problems like climate change and water scarcity. She brings the diverse voices of women, especially working women, to the forefront of every campaign because of her belief that “for me, ecology and feminism have been inseparable.”
Ingredients: organic and fair-trade dark chocolate (cocoa paste, cocoa butter, vegan sugar, soy lecithin, vanilla), spices, beyond-organic Maui vanilla beans.