The Story

Backstory

To’ak was born from a rainforest conservation project that started in 2007 in the coastal region of Ecuador. It was here that co-founder Jerry Toth began cultivating cacao trees and making chocolate in a thatched bamboo house secluded in the middle of a forest.

manabi_coast

In the mountains above the house, Jerry also found semi-wild cacao growing along stream banks. He and his team harvested this cacao and used it to make chocolate in the Bamboo House, following the methods taught to them by their neighbors.

Jerry would then use an old hand grinder to manually grind the beans. The unforgettably powerful aroma that wafted from that grinder was his first cue that Ecuadorian cacao was unlike any other.

grinder

After years of honing his passion, Jerry linked up with co-founder Carl Schweizer and fourth-generation Ecuadorian cacao grower Servio Pachard. Their mission was to transform the way that the world experiences dark chocolate, elevating its making and tasting to the level of vintage wine and aged whisky.

The Story

Vision&Mission

It started with a revelation in the forest of coastal Ecuador. We realized that all the chocolate we had been eating our entire lives was just a shadow of the real, complete experience that begins on the land and culminates with the conscious act of tasting and pairing.

In ancient times, chocolate was considered sacred and noble. Then in the industrial era it was commodified and mass-produced. To’ak is working to restore chocolate to its former grandeur and push its boundaries to new horizons.

We wanted to bring this experience to the rest of the world, and in the process help cacao regain the revered place in society that it held in ancient times—with the land now known as Ecuador honored as the native birthplace of cacao.

cacao

To’ak’s mission is to transform the way that the world experiences dark chocolate, elevating its making and tasting onto the level of vintage wine and aged whisky.

The finest of wines and whiskies allow people the privilege of exploring something sublime and timeless. We want to offer this same privilege to connoisseurs of dark chocolate.

The Story

Name

To’ak (pronounced Toe-Ahk): Derived from a fusion of ancient dialects in Ecuador, the name To’ak means “earth” and “tree,” which together represent the true source of all chocolate. We liken this name to the French term terroir, which describes how the taste of an artisanal product (wine, cheese, chocolate) expresses the specific soil and climate conditions of the land on which it was grown.

To’ak is a tribute to the ancient roots of cacao. To understand chocolate, we feel it is important to understand its legacy.

ancient_cacao_object

The Story

Team

To’ak was cofounded by Jerry Toth and Carl Schweizer, both of whom are long-time Ecuadorian transplants from the United States and Austria, respectively. To’ak’s Harvest Master is fourth-generation cacao grower and organic agroforestry expert Servio Pachard, on whose farm To’ak cacao is meticulously fermented and dried.

To’ak cacao is sourced from a close-knit group of fourteen cacao growers from the valley of Piedra de Plata, who are paid the highest price per pound in Ecuador and who share 10% of To’ak’s profits.

team

Carl and Jerry produce the chocolate along with Guillermo Heredia in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, at the Ecuatoriana de Chocolates factory. Dennise Valencia, born and raised in Quito, is To’ak’s general manager and is married to Carl. From earth to tree to bean to bar, To’ak chocolate is produced entirely in Ecuador.

jerry-tothJerry Toth
carl-schweizerCarl Schweizer
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