To’ak Chocolate sells a 50g (re: normal-sized) bar of Ecuador-sourced dark chocolate for $260. No, the bar doesn’t come with a bottle of Dom or a golden ticket à la Willy Wonka. So, what’s up with the crazy price tag?

According to To’ak Chocolate founder Jerry Toth, the beans are primarily what makes the bar so pricey. They are sourced from an untouched valley of Fino y de Aroma trees in Piedra de Plata, in the Manabí province of coastal Ecuador. Modern Farmer explains,

“The valley happens to have the ideal conditions for cacao tree growth: 30 percent sun and 70 percent shade, thanks to canopy trees like orange, grapefruit, lime, mango and guava that enclose the valley of understory cacao trees and build a richly varied soil nutrient profile.”

Toth predicts that the crop they’re getting now “will maybe last for the next five years, 10 years, or if we’re lucky, a little longer.”lala

Charley Wheelock, co-founder of Woodblock Chocolate, Portland, OR’s first bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer, has this to say about the very expensive To’ak bar,

“Fine chocolate, in general, is under priced and if it takes a crazy $260 ticket like that to raise the mean price for a fine chocolate bar, then all the better for chocolate.”

Woodblock sells a $100 chocolate bar, the Trinidad Fundare bar, which is an effort to raise awareness about the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad, and the efforts of the Cocoa Research Center. All the proceeds from the bar go to the maintenance of the Genebank’s living library of cacao.

“I am not saying the chocolate itself is worth $100,” says Wheelock, “Supporting the effort to create sustainable farming practices and field training in the name of the future of cacao is definitely worth it. All of the proceeds from this bar goes directly to the Cocoa Research Center in Trinidad. That is why it costs $100 per bar.” 

But a bar that costs $260—just because the beans are v. rare—is a whole different story. About 200 of the 574 To’ak Ecuador-sourced bars produced in Toth’s first batch have sold so far, according to a running count on the To’ak website.

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The $260 bar comes in a wooden box with a serial number, informational guide, and tasting tweezers. (Photo: Modern Farmer)

[via Modern Farmer]

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