Chocolate - Taza and Mast Brothers


"There are four basic food groups: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and chocolate truffles." - Anonymous

CHOCOLATE. What dreams and fantasies does the word conjure up?
As I began to research this tasty treat, I was transported into an unexpected world. Chocolate, I discovered, has a history. Unlike most of us, however, chocolate has a pedigreed history with close associations to Mayan and French royalty and Popes.
The Mayan, who discovered the cocoa tree as early as 2000 BC and named the bitter liquid Xocoatl, understood the intrinsic value of this rich, dark substance. Cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility for the Mayan and plantations of cocoa trees were planted throughout Central America, portions of South America and the Yucatan Peninsula and beyond. Later, the Aztec demanded payment in cocoa beans from conquered groups. And the story of chocolate makes its way through recorded history as Popes (Pius V) became aware of its nutritional aspects during feast days. Subjects of the French Court exchanged gifts of chocolate and when the craze made its way into Paris, the dark and delicious substance, subsequently, conquered all of France.
Americans were introduced to the wonders of chocolate in 1755 and ten years later, it was produced in America’s first chocolate factory (Baker’s Chocolate).
While delicious chocolate is made the world over, there are two American chocolate makers, one in Massachusetts and another in Brooklyn, who add to the lengthy history of chocolate. Each uses organic beans and is socially responsible.
Taza Chocolate was, “born out of a desire to combine the Meso American tradition of chocolate with a modern, high-quality product manufactured in a socially responsible way.” Founder, Alex Whitmore steeped himself in the history and culture of Mexico in 2005. Along with co-founder, Larry Slotnick, they decided, early on, to develop a company with a conscience. Sustainable was the key word in producing organic chocolate while fairly compensating growers for their work.
In the village of Williamsburg (New York City), artisan chocolate makers, Mast Brothers Chocolate, personally handcrafts each chocolate in “delicate batches”. They start with the best organic chocolate, sourced from “small family farms and coops around the world, such as Madagascar Venezuela, Dominican Republic and Ecauador.”
Keep in mind, there are other small, socially responsible chocolate making companies. Here, we share two videos on the above companies; one from Nina Simonds, Spices of Life – Taza Chocolate Company and another from Cool Hunting Video – Mast Brothers Chocolate Company.

Taza Chocolate
Mast Brothers Chocolate
Nina Simonds, Spices of Life
Cool Hunting
More on the history of chocolate: Field


  1. I loved this. And I am definitely going to Mast Brothers the next time I'm in NY.


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