Don’t get caught up in the gimmickry—TCHO chocolate’s “beta” program, with its plain brown paper wrapper and stamped-on label, smacks a little much of dot-com smart alecks and design nerds. The makers encourage people to submit feedback on the TCHO website, where you can rate your chocolate experience by its “beta batch.”
All this marketing certainly sets TCHO apart from the chocolate masses, but it seems to overshadow the fact that this is really good chocolate, chocolate for a connoisseur—so I asked one. Dennis Pasco, a CHOW designer, explains it in detail:
Immediately I notice the slightly grainy texture. I get the impression this is the cocoa bean ground up not too finely (I like that—never had a texture in chocolate like this before) and a slight citrus tone (that stays from start to finish). Then as it dissolves, you notice the smooth texture (cocoa butter melting, I’m assuming) and the next flavor to come in (using TCHO’s terms): a smooth, earthy chocolate flavor with just a hint of bitter dark chocolate on top of the citrus undertone.
TCHO eschews standard descriptors like cacao content—you won’t find percentages here—and instead describes its chocolate by flavor, like “Nutty,” “Fruity,” or “Chocolatey.” The makers say that the next flavors to roll out will be “Extreme, Earthy, Floral and Citrus.” I hope that when they open their chocolate factory in San Francisco (coming this spring, they say), there’s a foosball table.
TCHO Chocolate, $4 per 50-gram bar (plus $5 flat-rate shipping)