JOURNAL

April 08, 2021

Comparing the Two Best Cacao Varieties in the World

Who wins the honors for the best cacao variety in the world? It comes down to two finalists: Criollo and Nacional. They're just as different from each other as Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Read More

By Jerry Toth

March 17, 2021

10 Health Benefits of Cacao

It tastes delightful, and it even makes us happy. But did you know that cacao has a surprisingly wide range of health benefits, too? From boosting the immune system to reducing mental fatigue, here are ten ways 100% cacao can improve your health.
Read More

By Stephanie Garr

February 05, 2021

Is Chocolate Really An Aphrodisiac?

There's no Valentine's Day treat quite like chocolate. But how true does its age old reputation of being an aphrodisiac hold? We take a quick look at what science has to say about the pleasure enhancing properties of chocolate.
Read More

By Stephanie Garr

January 19, 2021

The Fascinating History of Chocolate

From the jungles of the Amazon to almost every corner of the globe, delve into the fascinating history of chocolate and learn just how it grew to become one of the world's most beloved foods.
Read More

By Stephanie Garr

January 11, 2021

Transparency Report: How Much We Pay Cacao Growers

Get an inside look at the cacao supply chain from the perspective of small scale growers and a bean-to-bar chocolate company. In our 2021 Transparency Report, we cover how much To'ak pays cacao growers and how those prices compare to Fair Trade and local market prices.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

January 11, 2021

What Is Fair Trade Chocolate and Why Sustainable Chocolate Is Even Better

The rise of fair trade organizations has helped reshape how we see chocolate and the hard work that goes into making it. But with child labor and deforestation still widespread, fair trade isn't always enough. That's where direct trade and sustainability come into play.
Read More

By Stephanie Garr

December 04, 2020

A Chocolate Lover’s Gift Guide to the Holidays

Looking for a present for the chocolate lover in your life? Our quick guide to buying and gifting chocolate for the holidays will make your search that much easier. In it, we highlight the best gifts for that special someone, that always-there friend, and that exceptional colleague who helped make your year a bit easier. 
Read More

By Stephanie Garr

October 30, 2020

5 Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Recipes

If you've been searching for a way to make your favorite cacao powder recipes gluten-free, then you're in luck. Here are five fun and easy gluten-free recipes.
Read More

By Khaila Gentle

October 16, 2020

5 Fun and Creative Cacao Powder Recipes

There are plenty of ways to use cacao. Start integrating chocolate into your daily life using these five creative recipes. They cover dishes both sweet and savory and might just include your next favorite.
Read More

By Khaila Gentle

October 12, 2020

Can Chocolate Make You Happy?

Can chocolate make you happy? Science says that it's very likely. Learn exactly how chocolate affects the brain and why it makes us feel so good.
Read More

By Stephanie Garr

October 06, 2020

5 of Our Favorite Vegan Chocolate Recipes

They're delicious. They're easy to make. And, they're all vegan. Here are 5 of our favorite vegan chocolate recipes.

Read More

By Khaila Gentle

September 25, 2020

7 Creative Recipes for DIY Hot Chocolate

There's no drink quite as comforting as a cup of homemade hot chocolate. Add some flavor and satisfaction to that comfort with these seven creative recipes.
Read More

By Khaila Gentle

September 14, 2020

5 Chocolate Recipes That Are Perfect for Summer

From mochi to chocolate lollies, here are five recipes for frozen treats that you and the entire family can enjoy in the summer. They include gluten-free, vegan, and keto-friendly options, making them perfect for everyone.
Read More

By Khaila Gentle

September 01, 2020

5 Easy Tips for Buying the World’s Best Chocolate

Finding the world's best chocolate bar is no easy feat. We at To'ak have done the work for you and compiled a comprehensive guide on how to choose only the best.
Read More

By James Le Compte

August 26, 2020

Healthy Breakfast Hack: Cacao as a Yogurt Replacement

It tastes surprisingly good and the nutritional profile is hard to beat. It also takes about 5 minutes to make. Paleo, vegan, keto-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, and powered by theobromine. It’s the perfect breakfast.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

July 07, 2020

Best Chocolate Pairing Recommendations

The beauty of pairing chocolate with wine, spirits, or cheese is that it expands the range of flavor sensations. The key is finding the right match, both in terms of flavor and mouthfeel. It also depends on how you do it. Here is a complete guide, plus a list of our favorite chocolate pairing recommendations.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

June 11, 2020

Deleted Scenes from National Geographic

National Geographic recently aired a feature about our work in Ecuador on their Explorer television series. But the most important footage was excluded from the final cut. Here's what they didn't show...
Read More

By Jerry Toth

June 08, 2020

Our Social & Environmental Impact

We're doing our best to contribute to positive change in the world of chocolate. We discuss how we're paying the highest prices to farmers in the industry, going beyond certifications, building a technology platform for traceability of cacao and coffee, up-cycling byproducts, and protecting endangered varieties of cacao.
Read More

By James Le Compte

June 08, 2020

Can Dark Chocolate Enhance the Functional Benefits of CBD and Improve your Endocannabinoid Tone?

One of the reasons we write about cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is that two of our favorite functional plants are Theobroma cacao and Cannabis sativa, which both produce cannabinoids and terpenes. These two plants have also been used for literally thousands of years by ancient cultures for their impressive health benefits and ability to transport us to elevated states of being.
Read More

By James Le Compte

May 27, 2020

Heirloom Cacao Conservation Timeline

At the turn of the most recent century, Ecuador’s legendary cacao variety – "Ancient Nacional" – was feared to be extinct. To’ak and its rainforest conservation partner Third Millennium Alliance (TMA) have embarked on a project to pull this legendary cacao variety back from the brink of extinction. And it's working. 

Read More

By Jerry Toth

May 19, 2020

My Two-Step Healthy Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

Looking for a quick and easy recipe to integrate cacao into your morning smoothie? Take a look at these tasty and healthy recipes, which include vegan, keto, and paleo friendly options.
Read More

By James Le Compte

May 08, 2020

The Many Psychoactive Compounds in Chocolate

Cacao—the source of chocolate—is a veritable pharmacopeia of psychoactive compounds that are legal and, in most cases, quite healthy and useful. Everything from endocannabinoids and terpenes to xanthines and the so-called "love drug." Here’s a look at what they are and what they do.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

April 30, 2020

How much caffeine is in chocolate compared to coffee

Caffeine content in chocolate greatly depends on which country the cacao was sourced from, with Ecuadorian cacao being among the most energetic. But look out! Chocolate effects you differently than coffee because theobromine helps to counteract the uncomfortable side-effects of caffeine. It's a win-win.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

April 17, 2020

Beware: Not all cacao powders are created equal

Unbeknownst to most consumers, almost all cacao powders are de-oiled, and many are processed with alkalizing chemicals. One of the only cacao powders on the market that is 100% unadulterated is "T.cacao Everyday" 100% Organic Cacao Powder by To'ak.

Read More

By Jerry Toth

April 25, 2019

Jerry's Backwoods Cacao Brew Recipe

Jerry Toth's personal cacao brew recipe, developed in the backwoods of the Jama-Coaque Reserve in Ecuador, circa 2008. Sourced (almost) entirely from home-grown ingredients, tastes great, and out-performs coffee in terms of an all-day energy boost.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

April 25, 2019

T.cacao Recipes: Our Favorite Ways to Use Cacao

There are many ways to prepare cacao, ranging from morning smoothies, mocha-style coffee, and French Press-brewed cacao to keto-friendly power drinks and non-dairy renditions of classic hot chocolate. You can even use cacao as a yogurt replacement...
Read More

By Jerry Toth

January 24, 2019

Introducing T.cacao - a new brand by To'ak

To'ak is launching a new line of products which will run under the brand name T.cacao. Our value proposition is to provide drinking chocolate and other cacao-based products of the very highest quality to a broader community of people.
Read More

By Jerry Toth

January 24, 2019

6 Reasons Why Cacao Powder is So Healthy

A quick primer on why cacao is arguably the healthiest thing you can put into your body, along with relevant links for those who wish to dive deeper.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    January 22, 2019

    The Different Grades of Ecuadorian Cacao

    A primer to distinguish the various different grades of Ecuadorian cacao, from the best to the rest. A recommended resource for Ecuadorian cacao growers, bean-to-bar-chocolate makers, and dark chocolate consumers.  
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    November 22, 2018

    Chocolate Pairings by The Violet Hour (Chicago)

    The Violet Hour is the most important and iconic cocktail bar in Chicago—a city that takes its alcohol extremely seriously. Resident mixologist Pat Ray talks with Jerry Toth about his favorite spirit and cocktail pairings with To'ak Chocolate.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    October 25, 2018

    Why the most expensive chocolate in the world?

    Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how and why To’ak is priced the way it is, and how this fits into the evolution of the chocolate industry at large.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    October 09, 2018

    Guide to Gifting To’ak Chocolate

    If you’re interested in gifting To’ak Chocolate to someone, but you’re not sure which bar(s) to choose, this blog post is written for you. We recommend the best chocolate for a wide range of different gifting situations.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    September 06, 2018

    Genetic & Morphology Analysis of Nacional Cacao in Piedra de Plata

    In 2015 we analyzed the DNA of 47 cacao trees in Piedra de Plata, Ecuador,, in partnership with the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund (HCP). We collected the leaf samples under the direction of Freddy Amores, the director of cacao research at Ecuador’s leading agricultural institute (INIAP). The genetic analysis was performed by Dr. Lyndel Meinhardt and Dr. Dapeng Zhang at the USDA-ARS genetic lab in Maryland. Photos of the cacao pods from the sample trees were taken by Carl Schweizer.

     

    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    August 22, 2018

    Chocolate Pairings by The Everleigh (Melbourne)

    Entering The Everleigh is a singular Melbourne experience. Come in through the corner door of the diner, walk down the hallway, climb a few stairs to be whisked back in time to the golden era of classic cocktail bar.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    July 26, 2018

    Glossary of Chocolate Terminology

    As the chocolate industry continues to evolve, so does the language we use to describe its many facets and distinctions. Here’s a simple glossary.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    July 20, 2018

    How to Taste Dark Chocolate

    Dark chocolate tasting and wine tasting both follow the same principles. In both cases, we use our sensory awareness to deepen an experience. With dark chocolate, as with wine, we have the opportunity to transform an activity that could be mundane (i.e., the act of consumption) into something sublime. This is what it means to live richly.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    June 14, 2018

    The Near Extinction of Ancient Nacional Cacao

    Nacional cacao is the oldest and rarest cacao variety in the world, dating back at least 5,300 years in Ecuador. As recently as 2009, it was believed to be extinct. In the valley of Piedra de Plata we found one of the last surviving groves of 100% pure Nacional cacao. This article tells the story about the rise and fall of Nacional cacao, and some of the work we're doing to bring it back.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    June 14, 2018

    The Noah's Ark of Heirloom Cacao

    Imagine that all of the pinot noir vines in the world were lost to disease and hybridization, except in one or two forgotten valleys in Burgundy. That’s basically the situation that Nacional cacao is in today. This is the story about what we're doing to keep the world's most historic cacao variety alive, starting with a single hillside in Ecuador.
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    May 23, 2018

    Aged Chocolate: How & Why

    Aged chocolate is a new phenomenon that To'ak has been pioneering since 2013. The process is grounded in the science of flavor extraction, and draws heavily from long-standing practices in both the wine and whisky traditions. Here's a closer look at why we do it and how it works.

    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    May 20, 2018

    Giving Birth to a Cacao Tree

    The best way to truly understand cacao is to live with the trees, to raise them from seed, like babies, and tend to them over their course of their lives. This is the very first step in the process of making chocolate from tree to bar. Here's how we do it in Ecuador. 

    Read More

    By Jerry Toth

    May 16, 2018

    Theobromine and the Performance-Enhancing Properties of Cacao & Dark Chocolate

    Clean energy: For those addicted to coffee or dependent on Adderall, theobromine offers the upside of a stimulant without the downside of a crash or dependency. Dark chocolate has a higher concentration of theobromine than any other food found on earth. It is a drug in the form of a superfood, whose flavor and aroma complexity surpasses that of wine. Here is a recipe for the nutritional life-hack that has gotten me through the last ten years. 
    Read More

    By Jerry Toth