Casachokolá: multicultural flavors, innovative recipes

Javier Abad 1

Originally published in Taos News

Love and chocolate came to Javier Abad’s life at the same time.

Abad, a native of the Basque Country, was working in Merida, Venezuela, when he met Taoseña Debi Vincent in 2002. Vincent had her own artisan chocolate company which she had started at age nineteen, when she was awarded an internship in Chocolates El Rey.

They fell in love and got married.

“Debi taught me everything about the business,” Abad said. “From 2003 to 2008 we worked together and grew a company that we called Chocolates La Mucuy.”

Abad’s father-in-law, Larry Vincent, born and raised in Taos, had spent around thirty years working at Los Andes University in Merida. By 2008 he came back to Taos to take care of his mother, Jenny Vincent, the famous folk singer and lifelong human rights activist, who was 95 at that time.

“Debi and I had the opportunity to sell the company,” said Abad, “so we did that and moved to Taos in November 2008 to help take care of Jenny. She is now living in the Retirement Village. She is 101 years old, yet every Tuesday, at 11 a.m., she leads a lively jam session with other remarkable musicians.”

Movies and chocolate

Abad attended the International Film School in San Antonio de los Baños, Cuba. He worked in the film industry there, in Venezuela and later in New Mexico.

“I’ve been a member of the union Local 480 as a film technician, but by the end of 2011 work in the film industry hit a slow period here,” he said. “Debi and I decided to start Casachokolá in 2012. We joined a partnership with Golightly Cashmere to create C+C (Chocolate + Cashmere). In August 2014 we left the partnership to better grow our own company.”

House of chocolate

The name Casachokolá combines the words casa (house) and chokolá.

“We decided to use ‘casa’ because we are a family business,” said Abad, “together with the way ‘chocolate’ is pronounced in Spanish—though here it is taken from the French word chocolat.”

Where to buy Casachokolá products

Abad and his wife plan to eventually acquire a store to sell their products directly to clients but, for the time being, they distribute through retailers.

In Taos they sell their products in Garden and Soul, Magpie Gallery, Cid’s, Taos Market, Sol Food Market, and Molly’s Sweet Escape in Taos Ski Valley.

In Santa Fe they are sold in O’hori café (both locations), Kaune’s Neighborhood Market, and Santa Fe Olive Oil.

“Right now we are customizing some products, like chocolate bars, for our markets,” Abad said. “We are working with an amazing selection of olive oils for Santa Fe Olive Oil and Balsamic Company.”

A rewarding profession

Abad said that he and his wife were motivated to open their chocolate factory again because, first of all, they have always loved chocolates and secondly, they consider the production of handmade artisan chocolate “a very rewarding profession.”

“We admire the power of the cocoa bean,” he said, “the wonderful act of sharing it and the infinite combinations you can create (for example, Casachokolá just introduced our dark chocolate goat cheese bonbon in Taos and Santa Fe) and the priceless reactions you see in people when you offer them a piece of chocolate. It’s a great feeling when you hear someone saying ‘hmmm’! Then we know we are doing something good.”

Multicultural flavors

Casachokolá products draw inspiration from the multicultural nature of its owners.

“We blend the tastes and scents of the Mediterranean and Cantabric seas, the powerful fruity flavors with the Latin-American cocoa bean and the richness of New Mexico flavors,” Abad said. “We create handmade artisan chocolates —no preservatives, no additives— using chocolate from Venezuela, Ecuador and Santo Domingo and organic local ingredients.”

Among their most popular products are bonbons with ganache fillings and a variety of flavors like sea salt caramel, dark caramel, Earl Gray, Greek olive oil, rosemary, lime and basil, raspberry-green chile, lavender-ginger, coffee cream, coconut cream, goat cheese, passion fruit and many more.

“We also make chocolate bars with sea salt almond, olive oil, coffee, and hazelnut,” Abad said. “They are organic and soy and lecithin free.”

Happy clients

Dan Wardlow is among Abad’s most enthusiastic clients.

“When Joe and I got married, Javier made a four-chocolate sample for every guest—and we had about ninety people for dinner,” he said. “For us and our wedding officiant, he made a twelve-chocolate sampler. Everybody loved the chocolates. No one ‘accidentally’ left theirs behind! Javier is a really talented chocolatier with innovative flavors and recipes.”

Carrie Field considers Abad’s chocolates “artful works of love.”

“I began eating them around a year ago and I loved them,” she said. “I like to give them as gifts and every once in a while, to give them to myself as a treat. My favorite is the ginger and lavender combination bonbon.”

“Casachokolá would like to thank the Taos community for their support and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,” said Abad.

To buy Casachokolá products visit the stores mention above, call 575 779 6174 or email They offer home delivery in Taos.

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About dovalpage

Teresa Dovalpage was born in Havana and now lives in Taos, New Mexico. She has a Ph.D. in Spanish literature and teaches at UNM Taos. She also freelances for Taos News, Profile, Hispanic Executive and other publications. A bilingual author, she has published eight novels, six in Spanish and two in English, two collections of short stories in Spanish and one in English. Her English-language novels are A Girl like Che Guevara (Soho Press, 2004) and Habanera, a Portrait of a Cuban Family (Floricanto Press, 2010). Her collection of short stories The Astral Plane, Stories of Cuba, the Southwest and Beyond was published by the University of New Orleans Press in 2012. In her native Spanish she has authored the novels Muerte de un murciano en La Habana (Death of a Murcian in Havana, Anagrama, 2006, a runner-up for the Herralde Award in Spain), El difunto Fidel (The late Fidel, Renacimiento, 2011, that won the Rincon de la Victoria Award in Spain in 2009), Posesas de La Habana (Haunted Ladies of Havana, PurePlay Press, 2004), La Regenta en La Habana (Edebe Group, Spain, 2012,) Orfeo en el Caribe(Atmósfera Literaria, Spain, 2013) and El retorno de la expatriada (The expat’s return, Egales, Spain, 2014). Her short novel Las Muertas de la West Mesa (The West Mesa Murders, based on a real event) is currently being published in serialized format by Taos News.
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