STASH Spotlight | Altai Brands Chocolate


People who just like sweets can enjoy most any chocolate, but melt-in-your-mouth Altai artisanals are for discerning palates that appreciate flavor, texture and harmony. In a market flooded with edibles, Altai cuts through the noise by raising the culinary standard and redefining the edible as a gourmet confection. This premier chocolatier leads the edible industry with a variety of low- and medium-dose chocolates that include bonbons, lozenges, chocolate bars and truffles with luxurious swaths of color on the outer shells. Just as a sweet shop transformed a repressed French village in the film Chocolat, Altai’s small-batch chocolates is transforming the way people in America think about edibles.




Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus formally named cannabis sativa in Species Plantarum, the 1753 book that launched the modern botanical designations. The same book named a tropical cacao plant theobroma, a word that translates to “food of the gods.” The cacao beans from this divine plant are the principle ingredient in high-quality chocolate. The Mesoamericans who first enjoyed chocolate 4,000 years ago viewed it as a mythical and spiritual treat—the Maya even worshiped a cacao god—just as many Bronze Age civilizations viewed cannabis as a religious sacrament. Often reserved for rulers and shamans, pre-Columbian chocolate was served as an unsweetened beverage, and the cacao tasted so good that no one thought to add sugar until thousands of years later.

Today, many chocolatiers load up their sweets with sugar and milk, but the elite chocolate makers seduce the palate by sourcing the finest ingredients and employing the best confectionary techniques. Altai in particular focuses on premium single-origin cacao seeds from South America, hand-selected vanilla from the islands of Tahiti and malted Mediterranean sea salt for an elegant, savory touch. Experienced chocolate makers then carefully blend the ingredients with the precision and flair of culinary artists.



The Dulce de Leche Bon Bons, for example, feature rich Latin American-style caramel blended with roasted white chocolate and surrounded by a dark chocolate shell. The bon bons and most of the bars have creamy centers, but the caramel-chocolate belly of the bon bons certainly boasts the softer, sweeter and creamier bite. The Peanut Cream Alt Bar, meanwhile, combines milk chocolate and peanut butter with a sugary layer of caramelized peanuts adding a crunchy texture. Though the bar has its own creamy center, the addition of the sweet nutty crunch truly separates the Alt Bar from similar chocolate edibles. For those seeking purity, the Bittersweet Single Origin Alt Bar contains 65-percent dark chocolate sourced from special cacao plants in the sacred Peruvian mountains near Machu Picchu. While it usually takes time for edibles to work their magic, Altai chocolates give the taste buds an immediate high.



Inspiration for the Altai name comes from the 1993 discovery of a young mummified princess named Ukok buried with cannabis and an afterlife “cosmetics bag” in the Altai Mountains, which is where the first cannabis plant may have originated. While honoring the past, Altai also looks to the future with new standards for premium edibles that include growing the finest cannabis plants and carefully extracting high-quality cannabinoids and terpenes from indica and sativa strains. Most of the chocolates pair nicely with a full-bodied wine or coffee beverage, which are options for passing the time as the sativa or indica traits slowly work their magic. All Altai products are sold in childproof packaging that clearly note the type of plant, the precise dosage level (10mg or 25mg THC) and the safety warnings.



Cypress Manufacturing Company, a California not-for-profit medical marijuana collective, produces Altai Brands in Monterey County, a historic area that formerly served as the 18th-century capital of The Californias. Fittingly, the chocolates are easily found in west coast dispensaries, and prices vary according to the product and location. Altai chocolates are an indulgent treat and make for a classy and romantic gift. If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, chocolate is her soulmate, and a good soul deserves the finest infused artisanal treats.


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