This chocolate bar costs £170

Emma Woollacott
To'ak chocolate
To'ak chocolate

If you think you're pushing the boat out a bit with a box of Thorntons, you're probably not the target market for the new chocolate bar from To'ak Chocolate.

The company's got just 574 of the 50-gram bars for sale, costing a far-from-sweet $260 (£170) each.

The cacao beans for the bars are sourced from Ecuador's Arriba growing region, and were harvested during the latest rainy season. Each bar is sold in a hand-crafted Spanish Elm wooden box, and comes with a special set of wooden tongs so that it's unsullied by human touch, along with an information booklet.

"The initial attack is smooth, highlighted by notes of cherry, raisin, and fig that give way to earthy tones of wood and tobacco," says Idaly Farfán of chocolatier Xocolatl, in Quito.

"The finish is long and elegant with a mild bitterness imbued with walnut, all of which is given structure by a balanced acidity that calls forth citrus and hints of orange blossom. This is a subtle and complex chocolate; in the world of wine we would say that it has noble character."

To'ak expects you to take its chocolate very seriously indeed: it's "not for late night-cravings, not for trick-or-treats, not distributed in fun sizes, not to be consumed when stressed," says To'ak in a statement.

"This bucket list-worthy experience deserves to be enjoyed in its own room with reverence and ritual. There probably should even be a certain gown worn while mindfully sampling every sensory element - aroma, texture, flavour and finish."

The bars are for sale on the company website - but you'd better hurry, as once they're gone there won't be another batch until next year.

The instruction that customers should use a special pair of tongs - and even wear a special gown - is a canny one on the part of the manufacturers.

Two years ago, University of Minnesota researchers discovered that people rated the flavour of chocolate more highly if they were instructed to follow detailed instructions on how to break it in half and unwrap it.

"The results showed that those who had performed the 'ritual' rated the chocolate more highly, savoured it more, and were willing to pay more for the chocolate than the other group," says the team.

To'ak even goes so far as to provide a list of cognacs and whiskies that it says complement its chocolate particularly well - and gives instructions on how to drink the spirits, too. It really should taste delicious after all that.


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