Pioneering craft chocolate maker TCHO (“cho”), which vowed late last year to make its entire product line animal free by 2023, has completed its transition to 100% plant based. TCHO was able to reach this milestone by enlisting an extensive network of chefs and baking professionals to personally evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each new product. Only when the formulas exceeded expectations did TCHO launch its two new alternative baking chocolates: Oat My Gawd 46%, an oat-milk-based baking chocolate, and Choco Blanco 35%, an oat-milk-based white baking chocolate. Oat My Gawd possesses the melting characteristics and rich flavor profile that professional users came to expect from TCHO’s previous and extremely popular dark milk formulation. Choco Blanco is TCHO’s first white chocolate offering.
The professional baking line is used in restaurant kitchens and bakeries nationwide. It comprises a dozen types of chocolate baking ingredients, including Crush This (roasted cacao nibs), Hawt Chocolate, Dark & Bitter 100%, Hella Dark 81%, Real Fudgy 70%, Real Fruity 68%, Sweet & Sassy 66%, Oat My Gawd 46%, Choco Blanco 35%, and more. All of TCHO’s professional chocolates are sold in bulk (1.5- to 3-kilogram bags) containing individual baking pieces in the company’s signature hexagon shape.
“During our intensive R&D process, we worked with chefs like David Rodriquez and Erin Kanagy-Loux, as well as partners like Salt & Straw and Humphrey Slocombe to perfect TCHO’s professional baking line,” said Josh Mohr, Senior Vice President of Marketing at TCHO. “Their help was invaluable in fine tuning the formula and ensuring that the oat milk chocolate was just as delicious and reliable in professional kitchens as our conventional chocolate has been.”
Once we knew we could make an incredibly delicious oat milk chocolate, it was clear that TCHO should discontinue all of our dairy production and move to 100% plant-based,” added Mohr. “We were able to complete the transition ahead of schedule because of TCHO’s acceptance at Whole Foods and Safeway in Northern California this fall and the creation of our oat milk-based professional line.”
“This chocolate is a game changer for any chefs or bakers wanting to expand their vegan offerings,” said Saloni Mehra, Head Pastry Chef at Millennium, a Michelin-rated vegan restaurant in Oakland, Calif. Mehra has already added TCHO’s new chocolate to the menu, using Oat My Gawd in an Earl Grey ganache and Choco Blanco in a mousse.
The professional line joins six entirely reformulated and redesigned retail chocolate bars that were launched in late 2021 and five retail-sized bags of chocolate for home baking use. All products are produced under the umbrella of TCHO’s pioneering TCHO Source program, which invests in infrastructure, training, and higher, more fair wages at the source. Additionally, all TCHO products are Certified Fair Trade, USDA Organic, vegan, gluten free, kosher and made from 100% plants. TCHO is a Certified B Corp company.
In keeping with TCHO’s long history of making award-winning chocolate, Toffee Time and Choco Latté were recently awarded Bronze and Gold, respectively, at the International Chocolate Awards, beating out traditional milk chocolate bars in the prestigious tasting competition.
As a Certified B Corp company, TCHO's switch to plant-based chocolate production is about making a positive environmental impact and giving consumers and food professionals access to delicious, sustainable options. Mohr said the greenhouse gas emissions associated with TCHO's dairy-free chocolate is over three-quarters lower compared to the company’s original dairy milk bars.
The TCHO professional baking line is available through local distribution channels and online at tcho.com. Oat My Gawd is available for $99/3kg bag; Choco Blanco for $119/3kg bag. Some of the pros using TCHO chocolate are Saloni Mehra, head pastry chef at Michelin-rated vegan restaurant Millennium, David Rodriguez of The National Exchange Hotel; Russell Jackson, chef and owner of Reverence and Executive Pastry Chef Erin Kanagy-Loux. TCHO is also used by Blue Bottle Coffee, Salt & Straw, Humphry Slocombe, and The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica, Calif.
Founded in 2007, TCHO Chocolate crafts award-winning and imaginative chocolate by collaborating directly with cocoa farmers at flavor labs across the world to grow better, more consistent cacao beans to create authentic craft chocolate to inspire the world’s chefs, hobby bakers, and chocolate enthusiasts.
Since not all cacao is created equal, TCHO established TCHO Source, a one-of-a-kind sourcing and educational partnership with farmers, co-operatives, and agronomists all over the world. By installing TCHO Flavor Labs in key cacao-producing locations, creating industry cacao sensory analysis standards, conducting sensory training, developing standardized fermentation and drying processes, improving infrastructure, and sharing information throughout the world of cacao, TCHO has turned its suppliers into co-creators. From there, TCHO hand-selects every ingredient used to craft its award-winning chocolates for a great experience from first glance to last bite. In 2021, TCHO was awarded Certified B Corp status, which brings transparent standards to the company’s long-standing sourcing practices and provides a new way to quantify and improve its social and environmental impact.
TCHO’s professional line is used by top chefs around the country and includes couvertures, drinking chocolate, cocoa powder and roasted cocoa nibs. In 2021, TCHO improved upon its stance as an exemplary chocolate maker by officially becoming SQF Level 2 certified, a rigorous globally recognized food safety standard administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute. TCHO products are 100% plant baked and produced in Berkeley, Calif.