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About Tascala Artisan Chocolate

About Tascala Artisan Chocolate. We make small-batch, single-origin craft chocolate and specialty desserts and confections made with our chocolate.

Founded by the son and grandson of chocolatiers who bought fine chocolate to make their confections, Tascala makes its own chocolate directly from the cocoa beans (“bean-to-bar”). We buy high quality, organic, and fairly traded cocoa beans from around the world; hand sort and gently roast them to bring out each variety’s unique flavor notes; and stone grind with organic cane sugar until the chocolate is silky smooth and its flavors are perfectly developed.

Craft chocolate is a movement to produce, enjoy, and appreciate high-quality chocolate. Rather than wolfing down a mass-produced bar, chocolate should be artisanal food–like wine, cheese and coffee–whose enjoyment can be enhanced with greater education, connoisseurship, and sensory exploration. We seek to highlight the unique characteristics that result from the diversity of cocoa bean cultivars, terroir, processing methods, roasting techniques, and other variables in chocolate preparation. Craft chocolate disrupts the more commodity-focused trade of mass-produced chocolate, and prioritizes taste quality, unique flavor notes, and equitable relationships over low prices and standardized flavor.

Craft chocolate is a relatively young industry. To put it into context, where craft chocolate is today, specialty coffee and craft beer were in the 1990s–at the cusp of widespread popularity and appreciation.

More about Nate Cummings. Nate is a third-generation chocolatier and a pioneering generation making chocolate directly from cocoa beans. His grandfather founded Cummings Studio Chocolates in 1924, and his dad founded C. Kay Cummings Candies in 1965. Having grown up in the chocolate business, Nate has enjoyed and worked with chocolate and confections his entire life.

After earning degrees in engineering and law, Nate practiced law as a patent litigator for nearly 20 years. He was a partner in the Virginia office of the Silicon Valley-based firm Cooley LLP. In 2017, he left the firm for a sabbatical at his alma mater Duke Law School to earn a Master of Law in Entrepreneurship. During his work at Duke, he studied craft food industries and wrote a business case about craft chocolate. This reactivated his chocolate genes and started him on his journey into making chocolate.