Mexican Chocolate [Somerville, Cambridge, MA]

I have lots and lots of smoked turkey. Lovely, cherry-smoked turkey. We have had the sandwiches made on my homemade, natural yeast country bread. Now I want a mole sauce to pour over that last leg. I have the chilis, seeds, spices, etc… what I need is some good quality Mexican chocolate. I have no idea about this ingredient. Where on this side of the river could I find this? Taza seems to make it. Do they have a retail store that I can just walk into? Or is their Mexican chocolate sold in other retail stores?

I am a neophyte here. Please be gentle [and helpful!]

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Coincidentally, on Saturday I just made a mash-up of Rick Bayless’ mole poblano between his Saveur recipe and the one in Authentic Mexican from 25+years ago. I used the leftovers from a box of Ibarra Mexican chocolate from a little store in Waltham, La Chapincita. I was wishing that I had that lovely Taza Mexican, though.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta used to sell the Taza and I’m guessing they still do. I’d be surprised if Formaggio and Savenor’s don’t have it. Also, most Whole Foods carry many flavors of Taza. The Somerville Taza factory has a factory store, and there is Taza a kiosk in Boston Public Market. It’s pretty widely available in these parts. I think Bayless may have endorsed it at one point.

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@bear Thank you! I will investigate the Taza retail store as a first step. Since I posted, I have read that Trader’s Joes also has some, but I prefer to buy local. Will post back when I find what I am looking for.

I suspect that a trip to Waltham isn’t in my future. Trying to stay very local.

Again, thank you for your feedback.

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Here’s Taza’s list of stores where it’s carried, in case that’s helpful:

the Ibarra Mexican chocolate is available in the East Somerville Hispanic markets on Broadway…I think in most though I haven’t bought it recently. I have bought it in years past and used in moles with wonderful results. It lasts a long time. Amigos Market, for one. Broadway and Cross street, I think, just a bit west of Vinny’s.

I love Taza chocolate, but I suspect it is a much higher quality with a distinctive flavor profile…there are so many different flavors. It does have the granular feel that traditional Mexican chocolate has, if Ibarra is indeed a traditional Mexican chocolate. I love just eating Taza alone or with fruit, and it might be a bit pricey for something going into as many other ingredients as a mole recipe.

If I have a chance to check Amigos Market soon, I’ll report back.

Oh, I think I’ve seen Taza at several Whole Foods outlets. Taza has a big presence at the Boston Public Market as well, where you can try some samples.

oops, sorry, I see that the Whole Foods and Boston Public Market options have already been mentioned. Sorry for the repetition.

The Ibarra does indeed last a long time. Mine was at least two years old and had that fine white patina on it that old chocolate gets, but was fresh-tasting and sweet. I agree that it’s not necessary to have a really high quality chocolate in a mole poblano with the abundance of spices, but the Taza Mexican, especially with the history of the whole company being inspired by, I believe, Mexican chocolate, (I went on a lovely tour last summer and they gave a brief history of the company and how it moved from one of the founders’ basements to the current location and now ships world-wide. At least, that’s what I remember, but my memory isn’t what it used to be!) makes me want to support the local business.

I’d much rather support Ibarra than Nestle, though!

I love supporting Taza…we don’t eat much chocolate ourselves, but I send Taza gifts to several families for various holidays. We went to their Dia de los Muertos celebration and loved it. Most mole recipes call for only a few ounces so it would not be that expensive, and the bonus is the cook gets to snack on what is left. There were so many people at their DLM celebration we couldn’t sample or get in to the factory. The Boston Public Market always has several flavors to sample and it’s just fantastic, including seasonal flavors with pumpkin and gingerbread. Also, at BPM you can get made to order churros with their chocolate dipping sauce. I do think the most basic flavor might work best for mole, because it’s a subtle ingredient that melds with all the other complex seed/chiles, and those extra special flavors might get lost, but would be fun to try different variations if only I had the motivation to cook more than one mole every year. I’ve heard their tour is great. They are just at the border of Somerville/Cambridge.

@nonaggie Thanks… I did know about that locator, but it is really non-specific. It doesn’t help when searching for a specific product. I used that locator last year, went to three stores, and didn’t find what I needed. To be more helpful, they should allow you to filter by product.

I am going to head to the retail store and get the Mexican chocolate directly from them, just cause that is far easier than running from store to store searching.

But, since we are on the mole topic– I had to order a pound of Mulato chilis but will not be using anywhere near that many for my little mole adventure. If someone is moved to make mole, PM me and we can arrange for a Mulato hand-off. The other peppers seem to be easy to find locally.

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I did PM you…would be interested in buying some of your mulatos for mole and our favorite harissa recipe from Moulof. We got mulatos in the last few years from Christinas; not sure if they have them now. Last time we went, employees were uninformed about just about all products and lots of shelf items were empty and employees did not know if they would be re stocked.

@Madrid PM never arrived. I will be at Rincon Mexicano tonight… pretty soon actually. Do you want to slip by to grab some? And now I want your harissa recipe. I have been using the one by Ana Sortun, in SPICE, but always up for trying another one. The Wadi version did nothing for me. Nor did Rick Moonans.

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