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Zak's Chocolate News & Blog

Living the Sweet Life

Our (Chocolate) Origin Story featured in City Lifestyle Arizona

 

"Perhaps it was the surplus chocolate that her candy box maker grandfather brought home from the shop.

Or, it may have been the family fudge recipe grandpa passed down to her father.

“That was always a special treat,” certified chocolatier Maureen Elitzak recalls..."

Read our story HERE

Tuesday, February 2, 2021/Author: Jim/Number of views (82)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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Zak's Newsletter

Click HERE to sign up and be the first to know what's happening at Zak's.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020/Author: Jim/Number of views (1332)/Comments (0)/
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2019 Transparency Report - Uncommon Cacao

As you may know, especially if you've attended one of our events or engaged us in conversation at our shop, we pride ourselves on using only ethically-sourced cacao to craft our chocolate. 

Ethical sourcing encompasses many things, including certain environmental, economic and social standards relating to the farming activities and the people we buy cocoa beans from and through. 

But basically, ethical sourcing is about knowing where your food (in this case, chocolate) comes from, how it's made, how the land is treated and how all the people involved in the process handle mutual responsibilities.

Our longest-standing trade relationship, and one we are most proud of, is with a small group called Uncommon Cacao, a Ceritfied B Corporation. Each year, Uncommon Cacao publishes a Transparency Report that is full of great insights and information, yet is also a pretty easy read. Here is a link to the 2019 report. We hope you will take some time to check it out. We'd love to hear what you learned and what you think.

Thursday, September 19, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (3113)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Chocolate Stuff
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Desert Dish Video: Zak’s Chocolate - An Artisan Chocolate Shop

Like coffee and wine, each cocoa bean comes from a unique terroir that impacts its flavor. Zak's Chocolate is giving patrons a taste of true chocolate.

 

We are proud to share this short video of our chocolate story, filmed by James Beard Award Winning videographer, Andrew Gooi. Filmmaker & Creator of Food Talkies

 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018/Author: Jim/Number of views (1373)/Comments (0)/
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Salted Cocoa Nib Mixer

Featured in Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine

DESIGNED FOR COFFEE (BUT AWESOME IN SO MUCH MORE)

A local collaboration with Iconic Cocktail of Phoenix, Salted Cocoa Nib Mixer is made with Zak's custom roasted cocoa nibs.

This mixer has a smooth and velvety body. Hand harvested fleur de sel accentuates the robust cocoa. The custom roasted Haitian cocoa nib add a flavor profile of mild cocoa & lightly roasted nuts.

Use this mixer to flavor coffee or to enhance your next craft cocktail. It's also great to drizzle over some Zak's Chocolate Ice Cream.

Available on our online store.

Monday, April 23, 2018/Author: Jim/Number of views (1218)/Comments (0)/
Categories: UpdatesIn the News
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Zak's Single-Origin Brownie Flights Featured in Phoenix New Times

"This is not your grandma's brownie"

 

"This is a serious chocolate pastry that will make you rethink all previous brownie experiences.

Tasting single origin chocolate in its bar form is a great way to develop a deeper appreciation for chocolate as an artisan product, but tasting it in brownie form was a totally different experience, which somehow highlighting the subtle, and not-so-subtle differences even better."

Click here to see the full article

 

 

Monday, September 4, 2017/Author: Jim/Number of views (1730)/Comments (0)/
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OPEN HOUSE CHOCOLATE SAMPLING

NATIONAL CHOCOLATE DAY CELEBRATION

Sample your way around the world of single-origin craft chocolates

October 28 from 4:00 - 8:00pm at Zak's Chocolate



10/28/2016 4:00 PM - 8:00 PM/Author: Jim/Number of views (1611)/Comments (0)/
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Cacao Magic in 4 short videos from the Tropics

Farming, Fermentation, Drying, Quality Control

These videos are a great introduction to all the magic and really, really hard work done by so many amazing people in the tropics.

Learn what has to happen before cocoa beans arrive at Zak's so we can turn them into chocolate for you to enjoy.

These awesome, short videos were produced by our primary partner in transparent trade, Uncommon Cacao

Friday, March 12, 2021/Author: Jim/Number of views (45)/Comments (0)/
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A 59 Second Video

How we make our chocolate

Friday, March 5, 2021/Author: Jim/Number of views (60)/Comments (0)/
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Artisanal Confectioners Raise The (Chocolate) Bar

Our Story featured in Garden & Health - January 2021

 

"Zak’s is just one of a growing number of chocolate shops across the U.S. that both make 100 percent of their own chocolate and all of the cocoa beans used are ethically sourced. Its products range from vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free single-origin dark chocolate bars to bonbons, truffles, and even a cocoa grilling rub." 

Read our story in Garden & Health by clicking HERE

Thursday, January 14, 2021/Author: Jim/Number of views (91)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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Made in Arizona: Zak's Chocolate started as hobby

Click above to see our story

           Zak's Chocolate featured on the Fox10 Made in Arizona series.

Monday, May 18, 2020/Author: Jim/Number of views (457)/Comments (0)/
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The Most Magical Chocolate Shop in Every State

Zak's is featured in "EAT THIS, NOT THAT!" (click above for more)

 

Cinnamon Plum Bonbon - Zak's Chocolate (Scottsdale, Arizona)

 

"Have you ever had a cinnamon plum bonbon?

If you're near the Scottsdale area in Arizona, look no further, as this happens to be one of Zak's Chocolate's specialties."

 

 

Cinnamon Plum bonbon (l) together with Earl Grey Lavender bonbon (r), a lovely couple.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020/Author: Jim/Number of views (507)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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OUR CURRENT FLAVORS April 16 - 20, 2021

We will do our best to accommodate requests. Please let us know about any dietary restrictions.

Our small batches come & go, so if we are out of any requested flavors we will substitute for something we hope you will enjoy trying.

CLICK HERE FOR OUR ONLINE STORE

Ask us about dairyfree/vegan options. Please let us know about any dietary restrictions.

Ingredient/Allergen Info about our Bonbons and Caramels:

*Our bonbons are made with in our unique Zak's-Blend Dark Chocolate. It's smooth, creamy and not bitter

*Our bonbons and caramels are gluten free (except for malted milk or beer reduction pieces)

*Most of our bonbons and caramels contain fresh, local Dazeisen Dairy cream, except as noted with a *

*We do not use soy, corn syrup or anything to artificially extend shelf life.

*Our products are made in a facility that handles tree nuts and peanuts.

*Our bonbons and caramels are best enjoyed within 2-3 weeks. Our dark chocolate bars will be good for at least one year; milk and white chocolate for 6 months, if stored properly. What is proper storage? We recommend storing all chocolate in a cool/dry place, away from sun, at a temperature range of 55 - 73 degrees. If you happen to have a wine fridge, that's a great place to store chocolate. Just let them warm up to room temp before you enjoy.

If you have any other questions, just email or call us.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020/Author: Jim/Number of views (15902)/Comments (0)/
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A Curious Eater's Guide to the Ancient and Wild Foods of the Sonoran

Chris Malloy's guide to exploring plants of the Sonoran Desert at local eateries (and a chocolate shop)

 

"Some of these foods are farmed — and can be provided predictably in large quantities. Because the foraging climate shifts with the hours, days, weeks, and years, wild foods are more volatile. Some ingredients appear for just a few days a year." Click HERE to read the whole story.

"Barel Cactus: Stout and pumpkin-shaped, barrel cactus sprouts waxy yellow fruit in early spring. These oblong fruits cluster at the top, each looking like a skinless pineapple. 

Where to taste: Try the seeds at Zak’s Chocolate in Scottsdale, where Jim and Maureen Elitzak deploy them for texture in a 70 percent cacao bar. Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper has used the fruit in desserts like semifreddo and lemon meringue pie."

Sunday, December 1, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (703)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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Arizona Daily Mix TV Segment

Hosted by the iconic Pat McMahon

We had a blast sharing an overview of what is unique about Zak's Chocolate

with AZ Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame Member, Pat McMahon

 

Click HERE to see the segment, which also shows some of our local wine &

spirits friends from Pillsbury Wine, Carlson Creek Wine and Adventurous Stills distillery.

We love pairing our chocolates with these amazing Arizona products

Monday, July 15, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (834)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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Zak's Chocolate Featured on Golf Channel

Golf Advisor Round Trip program features Scottsdale Experiences

We are excited to finally be able to share these two short, behind-the-scenes videos

with you from a Golf Chanel feature that originally aired in the Fall of 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click Image above to view Part 1                          Click Image above to view Part 2

Monday, July 15, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (823)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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2019 International Chocolate Awards

Zak's wins 3 Awards!

  We are excited to announce that we took home THREE Awards this year, and that our Belize 70% Dark Chocolate was named a finalist.

 *Silver for our Coffee Break Bar, a dark chocolate bar with milk & locally roasted coffee, blended together for the perfect Coffee Break

 *Silver for our Belize Single-Origin White Chocolate Bar

 *Bronze for our Peru Maranon Single-Origin White Chocolate Bar

  Yes, two different White Chocolates!

  White Chocoolate IS REAL Chocolate AND each origin offers different natural flavor profiles. Our Belize White is slightly fruity and our Peru is mild and soooo creamy

Monday, July 8, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (767)/Comments (0)/
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Trip Savvy 2018 Editors' Choice Awards

Best Shopping & Experiences

We are proud to represent craft chocolate in Trip Savvy's list of best shopping experiences across the Country. Click HERE to see the full list.

 

Monday, July 8, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (700)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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UPCOMING EVENT

Scottsdale Culinary Festival

Join us Sunday, April 14 at 2:30pm at the indoor stage at the Scottsdale Culinary Festival.

We will be filling the room with aromas of fresh roasting cocoa beans and we will be presenting a craft chocolate making demonstration and tasting.

Click here for details and use this special code for Buy 1, Get 1 FREE General Admission tickets. 

CODE: SCFLOVE19 (max 4 tickets valid for either day, free ticket applies to same day only).

4/14/2019 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM/Author: Jim/Number of views (493)/Comments (0)/
Categories: UpdatesEvents
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UPCOMING EVENT

Local Spirits & Craft Chocolate Pairing Evening

Join us January 29, 2020 for a Local Spirits & Craft Chocolate Pairing Evening with our good friends at 

Adventurous Stills in Tempe. Click HERE for details and to grab your tickets.

Sunday, March 10, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (817)/Comments (0)/
Categories: UpdatesEvents
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IMAGES AZ Magazine feature

"If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it" - Willy Wonka

Click here to see the online article. IMAGES AZ Magazine captures the uniqueness of Zak's Chocolate

Friday, March 8, 2019/Author: Jim/Number of views (792)/Comments (0)/
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Chocolate Connoisseur Magazine

Zak's Chocolate featured as Cover Story

OUR STORY...ON THE COVER of Chocolate Connoisseur Magazine.

When we opened our little craft chocolate shop about 3 years ago, we just wanted to share chocolate, the way we like it, with the hope that others might like it, too. Chocolate is a very personal experience and we are really excited that Chocolate Connoisseur has shared our own personal story, and some of the things that were, & always will be, important to us, from ethically sourced cacao to highlighting Arizona grown & produced ingredients, to collaborations with other local craftspeople, many of whom are mentioned in the article (some are in the part that comes after the online free preview version🧐).

Anyway, this is our story. It’s kinda long, so grab a chocolate bar or two, pair it with your favorite Arizona wine, coffee or spirits, and we hope you enjoy.

Cheers & Chocolate🍫

Maureen & Jim (Hey, wait a minute, who’s Zak? Do you know? Maybe you'll figure it out from reading the article...)

 

Click here to read the online free preview version (it's about two-thirds of the whole article). Because Chocolate Connoiseur is a subscription-based publication, we were not able to provide a link to the entire article. However, if you want to read the rest of the story (and we hope you do), just click here for a pdf version. It's not a real clean looking version, but just scroll down until you see the picture of our chocolate ice cream.wink
 

{btw, if you are interested in subscribing to Chocolate Connoisseur Magazine you can use the coupon code ZAKS30 for 30% off either the current issue or an annual subscription}

Monday, August 27, 2018/Author: Jim/Number of views (986)/Comments (0)/
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SciGirls PBS show

Zak's supports episode shot in Arizona

We are proud to have been able to support an episode of SciGirls fearuring 4 Arizona girls and their mentor. 

In this episode, Valeria and her friends take action in their Arizona community. These SciGirls partner with an industrial engineer to design a streamlined service plan for a food bank, and help high school students in need. They spent a day at Zak's examining how we have changed and improved some of our processes since we began making chocolate as a hobby at home.

SciGirls is an Emmy award-winning PBS Kids television show, website, and educational outreach program that draws on cutting-edge research about what engages girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning and careers.

Check out the episode by clicking here

Wednesday, May 16, 2018/Author: Jim/Number of views (1190)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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2017 Recognitions & Awards

click heading above to see a list of the specific Zak's products that received these 2017 recognitions

  

   

Friday, August 25, 2017/Author: Jim/Number of views (1546)/Comments (0)/
Categories: UpdatesIn the News
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Edible Phoenix Article

Tasting Artisanal Chocolate in Arizona

 

"Embracing old methods and new flavors to go beyond commercial chocolate."

We are honored to be featured in Edible Phoenix, Summer 2017 edition. Click here for full article 



Saturday, May 20, 2017/Author: Jim/Number of views (1812)/Comments (0)/
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Tastings, demonstrations, classes

check schedule on Homepage Events

We are rolling out some new events, designed to introduce more people to the world of craft chocolate. 

These new events allow us to host more guests at one time while still spending dedicated time in a relatively small group setting. We hope to offer these events more frequently than we were able to offer our previous tour/tasting event.

Choose from:

  • Chocolate 101 (family friendly event - no age restrictions)
  • Craft Chocolate Tasting/Demonstration 
  • Chocolate Making Experience 

Click the article heading for more info and a link to the registration site.

Check out reviews of a similar event by clicking here

Wednesday, February 22, 2017/Author: Jim/Number of views (2284)/Comments (0)/
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2017 GOOD FOOD AWARDS WINNER

Zak's Cacao Nib Caramel wins at Good Food Awards

 

Zak’s Chocolate was named a 2017 Good Food Awards Winner in the Confections Category for its Cacao Nib Caramel.

We are proud and honored to be the first Arizona winner in the Confections Category and only the second winner ever from Arizona. 

 

Click Heading above to read more...

click here to read the story in Phoenix New Times

 

Sunday, January 29, 2017/Author: Jim/Number of views (2008)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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BEST LOCAL FOOD PRODUCT

Phoenix Magazine 2016 Best of the Valley


 

 

We are so very proud of this award. It is very exciting that more and more people are discovering and recognizing what real chocolate is all about. And, that real  

chocolate is a real food

 

 

 

Saturday, December 3, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (2087)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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Charitable Donation Requests

We are committed to supporting our community.

Click heading above to see our donation request process.

 

Monday, September 26, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (2362)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Updates
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Zak's Featured on Fox10 News Segment 2

Corey's Corner Part 2

 

 

 The second live segment features our retail shop in front of our production area.

 Click here for Part 2 of the live segment on Fox10 News

 

Sunday, August 14, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (2179)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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Zak's Featured on Fox10 News Segment 1

Corey's Corner Segment 1

  

 

 

 Check out this great live piece from Fox10 News/Corey's Corner. A behind the scenes look at how we make Zak's Chocolate...click here

Sunday, August 14, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (1928)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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Phoenix New Times 100 Tastemakers in the Valley

Get to Know More About Maureen & Jim, Plus "Three Things You Probably Don't Know About Chocolate"

From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix,

New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — 

members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious.


{Click Heading above to read full Blog entry}

Monday, July 25, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (2232)/Comments (0)/
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Monday, July 25, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (2033)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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Zak's Chocolate Featured in Phoenix Magazine, March 2016

Chocolate Reign

 

“We pay a lot more for the beans, but there are fine flavors and there’s a relationship and sustainability factor,” says Jim Elitzak, co-owner with wife Maureen of Zak’s Chocolate in Scottsdale.

Click here for cool video of our chocolate making process

{Click Heading above to read full Blog entry}

 

Monday, July 25, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (2344)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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Project Phoenix 2016 DIY Issue features Zak's Chocolate

So, do they ever eat mass-produced chocolate from the convenience store? Read story for answer

Chocolate-making is a lost art, Jim Elitzak says. It's also a messy one. When his wife, Maureen, with whom he co-owns Zak's Chocolate in Scottsdale, announced that she was going to start making her own chocolate, grinding beans by hand and using hair dryers to blow cocoa shells, he balked.

"I said, 'I will never do that. No, thank you,'" he remembers. Jim since has changed his mind: The couple opened Zak's Chocolate in a small Scottsdale storefront last spring. There, they create organic single-origin chocolate bars and sweets made from their own bean-to-bar chocolate. Everything is done by hand: the roasting, the separating, the melting. Even the paper each chocolate bar comes wrapped in is handmade. The business began as a hobby...click here for full article

Click here for accompanying video of our chocolate making process

 

Monday, July 25, 2016/Author: Jim/Number of views (1937)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the NewsVideos
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Zak's Chocolate Named Best Chocolate

Best Chocolate in Metro-Phoenix 2015 by Phoenix New Times

Just six months into our new venture, we are very excited and proud to have been Named Best Chocolate in Metro-Phoenix 2015 by Phoenix New Times.

Especially exciting is that this was not a popularity contest vote. It was an editor's choice. 

Thanks to Phoenix New Times and Chow Bella Blog for recognizing our craft. .Click here for Story


 

Friday, October 16, 2015/Author: Jim/Number of views (2192)/Comments (0)/
Categories: In the News
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Imagine if there was only one kind of wine grape

Boring, right? Same goes for chocolate!

Imagine if we were led to believe there was only one kind of wine grape. Boring, right? Grab your favorite Zak's Chocolate bar & check out this great video explaining what real #craftchocolate is about. 

 

Friday, August 14, 2015/Author: Jim/Number of views (2414)/Comments (0)/
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