CASA BOSQUES HAS elevated chocolate making to an art form. The artisanal New York– and Mexico-based company makes single-origin, bean-to-bar chocolate — terms I didn't know the meaning of before taking a bite of one of their sublime creations and becoming a convert.
I ordered the chocolate on a whim during quarantine, hoping to sweeten an otherwise drab month. My interest had been piqued by Casa Bosques’ Instagram, in their commitment to thoughtfully sourced beans and their insanely pretty packaging. I tried the Sea Salt, the Puffed Quinoa, Coconut, and Turmeric (a collaboration with beloved downtown NYC cafe Dimes), and the Ground Ethiopian Coffee and Cacao Shell. Each one is distinctly decadent but still natural tasting, a treat with origins that are detectable in every bite.
Casa Bosques is to convenience store candy bars as haute couture is to fast fashion. Their flavors range from the familiar, like caramel, to the truly surprising, like figs and furikake. A recent collaboration with chef Enrique Olvera led to a bar laced with enoki and brown shimeji mushrooms. Casa Bosques uses heritage cacao beans — the white cacao bean, Criollo — which are produced exclusively for the company in Chiapas, Mexico. They also experiment with beans sourced from other countries, like Belize and Ecuador, as well as herbs, spices, grains, and medicinal plants and insects.
In a market full of European chocolate brands, Casa Bosques celebrates Mexico’s long history of cacao growing and the fine flavor of its heirloom beans. It also showcases the memories and experiences of its founder, Rafael Prieto. Prieto is the founder and creative director of Savvy Studio, a branding and design shop based in both New York City and Mexico City. His travels have inspired many of Casa Bosques’ flavors: he made curry chocolate after eating coconut curry in Berlin and cardamom chocolate after observing the importance of tea made from cardamom pods in Kuwait.
Prieto’s creativity gives Casa Bosques its unique appeal within the saturated dark-chocolate landscape. In 2019, he partnered with Italian sculptor and architect Umberto Bellardi Ricci to build altars for chocolates in the company’s Manhattan showroom. Each plinth held a bar like a work of fine art in a museum. For their recent Makers Series, Prieto partnered with designer Rafael de Cárdenas and Brooklyn-based artist and chef DeVonn Francis to celebrate the work of Black creators.
You’ll find a selection of music on Casa Bosques’ website, individual songs and playlists curated by those in Prieto’s orbit (even Umberto Bellardi Ricci has one). All of these inputs — global flavors, travel experiences, design inspiration, works of art, and music — inform Casa Bosques’ products, making them at once deliberate and unexpected.
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