Dark Chocolate 1.0

Tech never tasted so sweet

NEWS What does technology taste like? According to TCHO, the answer is chocolate. This brand-new San Francisco company, founded by Wired magazine cofounder Louis Rossetto, is serious about good, dark chocolate — and using tried-and-true Silicon Valley techniques to guarantee quality and customer satisfaction.

For example: TCHO's beta test for a new flavor at the Electronic Frontier Foundation's 17th anniversary party at 111 Minna last week. TCHO representatives invited participants — many who came straight from Macworld — to taste small morsels of two flavors of chocolate and then vote for their favorite. The winner, to be announced in the EFF's next newsletter, will determine the direction TCHO will take when it releases nationally later this year — a process not dissimilar to the way tech companies test, refine, and market their new software. (In case you're curious, Option A was a warm, consistent, slightly bitter dark that just begged to be complemented with orange slices. Option B was sweeter but with a complex, strongly bitter aftertaste. I voted for A.)

All of this would be just an interesting gimmick if the chocolate weren't good — which it truly is. So I expect the employee-owned fair trade company, which currently only sells its products at its Fisherman's Wharf factory and online, will find itself quite a cult following. It's no MacBook Air, but TCHO's 0.16-inch innovation is much more cost-effective — and I promise it tastes better.

TCHO Mon.–Fri., 4–7 p.m. Pier 17, SF. (415) 981-0189, tcho.com

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