How can a chocolate bar cost nearly $400? Spend a few hours with the team behind To’ak and the investment becomes obvious. The company takes one of the oldest and rarest varietals of cacao on earth and creates limited editions of single-origin Ecuadoran dark chocolate. Now chocolate fanatics have the chance to experience To’ak’s craft through its Chocolate and Art Tour, a private tour meets master class held within the former Quito home of renowned Ecuadoran painter and sculptor Oswaldo Guayasamín.
Upon arrival, visitors are guided through the artist’s residence, which includes a stop in his workshop and a discussion surrounding the most significant pieces of his private collection. Next up is a visit to the wine cellar, an intimate, party-ready room where guests can taste through a plate of raw cacao beans and several editions of To’ak chocolate as they learn about preserving Ecuador’s national cacao variety from extinction. Enjoy carefully selected liquor pairings while a resident chocolate expert leads a discussion on the many variables that influence the aroma and flavor profile of each expression of the high-caliber chocolate, from cacao genetics and terroir to fermentation and barrel-aging methods.
To bring back souvenirs for people at home, opt for the flagship edition, a variety that is aged for 4 years in a French-oak Cognac cask before being meticulously packaged in a handcrafted Spanish elm-wood box (complete with an engraving of the individual bar number). Make sure to help your recipients maneuver the accompanying special tasting utensils and 116-page booklet—after all, by then you’ll be a pro.