With Valentine’s Day just a month away, who doesn’t want to talk about chocolate? One of Nashville Wraps’ favorite chocolate customers is Taza Chocolate in Somerville, MA just outside Boston. Founder Alex Whitmore took his anthropology degree and love for history and culture to Oaxaca, Mexico in 2005. It was there when he had his first bite of stone ground chocolate, and it was unlike any he had ever tasted.
Mexican chocolate has an earthy, gritty texture and intense cacao flavor. Alex came back to Boston with a vision to open a chocolate business featuring Mexican-style, stone ground chocolate. He studied under a “molinero” or miller in Oaxaca to learn how to hand-carve the granite mill stones he would use in his factory.
Seriously Good Stone Ground, Organic Chocolate
Today Taza Chocolate has two stores: one in Somerville where the factory is located, and another retail shop in Boston. They stone grind organic cacao beans using imported Oaxaca City mills. The chocolate is combined with ingredients like cinnamon, organic cane sugar, nutmeg, ginger, Guajillo chili, Chipotle chili, coffee or salted almonds. Finally, they are shaped into delicious bars and discs to the delight of their customers. Bakers can buy 5 lb. bags of their stone ground chocolate in bulk, and everyone loves their Mexican Hot Chocolate.
Taza also offers beautiful gift sets like their Winter Warmer Gift Box (above) along with what they affectionately call Chocolate Therapy Bon Bons (left). This spectacular collection includes unique chocolates like Gingerbread, Brandied Eggnog, Pomegranate Noir, Cranberry Birch, Mulled Cider, Cabernet, Sweet Potato, Fig Pistachio and Cinnamon & Cayenne.
Alex wants his business to be a pioneer in ethical cacao sourcing so he travels throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean to obtain the highest-quality organic cacao. They were the first U.S. chocolate maker to establish a third-party certified Direct Trade Cacao Certification program. Taza maintains direct relationships with their cacao farmers and pays a premium above the Fair Trade price for their cacao. They partner only with cacao producers who respect the rights of workers and the environment. Taza also has the distinction of being the first American chocolate company to source organic Haitian cacao.
Custom Shopping Bags With a Purpose
Alex’s very talented wife, Kathleen is the Taza Brand Manager and Co-Founder. She designs all of the packaging including the custom paper shopping bags from Nashville Wraps. Retail Manager Amanda Mallen says, “When we opened our second retail location in downtown Boston earlier this summer, we knew an eye-catching shopping bag in the hands of happy customers would increase visibility and brand recognition around town. The totally custom option was a great way to use all the real estate of the bag, and share more information about our company.
“Our customers love the bags! The ‘Perfectly Unrefined’ tagline featured on the bag is a call out to the rustic, stone ground texture of our chocolate, which has very minimal ingredients and is made using traditional Mexican stone mills. The stone grinding process allows the high quality ingredients of our chocolate to shout loud and proud. Our fans love the bold texture and flavor of our perfectly unrefined chocolate! We’ve been using Caribbean Teal tissue with white raffia to add a bit of extra flair. The high contrast design is very striking and definitely turns heads. We’re really proud of the results, and we love to see the smiles our our customers’ faces when they walk away with a beautiful bag full of Taza Chocolate!
“The ‘Perfectly Unrefined’ meaning is sort of a fun double entendre. We’ve been really happy to see it turn up in various social media posts by our fans as they are sightseeing and walking around enjoying Boston after shopping with us. Everyone at Nashville wraps has been very kind and helpful throughout the process! Harry Marlin was eager to answer all of our questions, and made all the necessary adjustments to ensure the bags came out just as we intended. We’ve been working with Nashville wraps for over 5 years, and are so happy that they are able to serve our growing needs.”
Next time you are in Boston, stop by and see our friends at Taza Chocolate and schedule one of their fun chocolate factory tours. This March 19-26, 2016, adventurers can join Taza for a full week in beautiful Belize, Central America. This is the source for the delicious cacao in their 77% Belize Bar. You will have the chance to explore the Mayan origins of chocolate while relaxing in the thatched-roof cabanas of Cotton Tree Lodge on the banks of the Moho River.
Learn more on how to Transform Your Store Marketing With Custom Shopping Bags here and click to see Nashville Wraps’ entire line of Candy & Gourmet Packaging and Valentine Packaging.
Here’s a short video about Taza: