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Fine Chocolate


aguynamedrobert
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Yeah I think Guittard has a nice workability to most of their chocolates...they have been in the game for a while of catering to artisans so I think they do that well...

Tell me more about DGF...I didn't know what you were refering to and tried to look them up...I got a few little tidbits but wanted to hear a little more...

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Hey Artisansweets,

So you got to tour Theo? I tried their single origin bars(not infused bars) at show I recently went to in San Fran. I didn't like most of their single origins but only got a quick taste as well...which bars did you try? I am thinking I will order some of their bars to try out again and see what I can find....

What type of chocolate do you use in the pastry work you do for you business? I checked out your site to learn a little about you and you business. Looks nice...how long have you been doing pastry work for?

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Please remember that when cocoa paste is pressed after roasting and the cocoa butter is removed, with the larger industrial chocolate makers, they deodorize the butter. This does take away from the flavour. I would strongly suspect that guittard would do this. El-Rey does not deodorize. When I do chocolate tastings I give the audience two different types of white chocolate. I have them smell the difference between the two...deodorized vs. non-deodorized. Then I go into the dark chocolate tasting having them keep this in mind. My standard chocolate is the Forestero (usually Cocoa Barry 64%) and then we taste two other tree species varieties...criollo and Arriba. I need to get some Trinitario! My point is that when cocoa beans get processed, if the cocoa butter is deodorized it will affect the taste of the chocolate.

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Hey Artisansweets,

So you got to tour Theo?  I tried their single origin bars(not infused bars) at show I recently went to in San Fran.  I didn't like most of their single origins but only got a quick taste as well...which bars did you try? I am thinking I will order some of their bars to try out again and see what I can find....

What type of chocolate do you use in the pastry work you do for you business? I checked out your site to learn a little about you and you business. Looks nice...how long have you been doing pastry work for?

I tried all the bars they are making currently. 91% Venezuela, 75% Ghana, Panama & Ecudor, 75% Ivory Coast, 84% Ghana, 65% Madagascar. I enjoyed them all very much. I especially enjoyed the 91% from Venezuela.

They are worth a try. I was very satisfied with their quality and like I said before I really value their commitment to accentuate the pure cocoa flavor by not adding anything else to their chocolate except sugar (they use organic beet sugar because they think it has a more subtle flavor than cane sugar) and sometimes extra cocoa butter.

Currently I use Valrhona 70% Guanaja in my pastries and chocolates. I like the intensity of this chocolate although it does not have an unpleasant astringent taste that often coincides with high percentages - that I've found.

I have been "doing" pastry as a career for 3 1/2 years now - I'm still a newbie.

All that to say... I think you should give them a try. I would be curious to hear what you thought after a more intentional tasting.

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I will have to jump back on here and share my thoughts after I order some of their chocolate. One thing I didn't like was I thought their roast of their beans was too high by the way it tasted. My personal preferences do not include a higher roast...but I will have to retaste...you never know...I could have just been having an off day lol...

Thanks for the comments and suggestions...

Did you go to school anywhere for pastry?

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Okay, I'm late on this thread, but I'm only just starting to get into chocolate more.

I love Scharffenberger, the dark 70%. I haven't had extra dark yet.

I got a couple of their specialty bars, the Kumasi Sambirano, a Venezualen, and Las Islas Caribbean. I didn't like the Kumasi when I tried it after the tour, (they had just put them on the shelves), the Venezualen I think was okay, but it was before I started really getting into chocolate and paying attention to things. The Las Islas, I have yet to taste. Oh, and their chocolate covered nibs - like crack. Very dangerous to have around.

While in SF I also picked up a kschocolat bar of orange and cardamom, which was rather nice. The flavours worked well, but I think the chocolate was a little ho-hum to me.

I just got my shipment from DeVries a couple weeks back and I've been working my way through. I got the Costa Rican Trinitario, 80% and 77% and the Dominican. By far, my favorite was the Dominican. Then the 80% and 77%. All good, but the Dominican was just so tasty. I have a photo and mini review here.

I also really like the Lindtt Ecuador for the cheap fix.

There's a local shop, Soma here in Toronto that is doing some interesting things, but I find their chocolate grainy, as if they didn't conch enough. Their nibs aren't as fruity and tasty as Scharffenberger's, but I did like their Occumare and their Tangerine. Soma's site and my photos from my visit.

Ugh. Edited for the nth time: PS... ship to Toronto please!! ;;_;;

Edited by jenc (log)

foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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Hey Jenc,

Yeah you will have to re try the Venezuelan chocolate called "Cuyagua". It is a very nice single origin chocolate and the bitterness is held off so much you would think it was a lower percentage than a 75%. Las Islas is my favorite from Scharffen Berger so far. I think it takes their 70% and bumps up the flavor a few notches...very well done in my opinion...

I am hoping to try Devries very soon and I haven't had the opportunity yet...

So where does Soma get their beans from? and how is there taste? do they do single origins, blends, or infused(added flavors) for their chocolate bars?

Have a good one...

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Hey Jenc,

Yeah you will have to re try the Venezuelan chocolate called "Cuyagua".  It is a very nice single origin chocolate and the bitterness is held off so much you would think it was a lower percentage than a 75%. 

Robert :

It should be noted that Scharffen Berger's Cuyagua is not a single origin bar. They sent out an e-mail on January 30th announcing the bar. If you clicked on the link for further info, they explained that it is a blend with beans from the same region where they obtained their beans for the special Venezuela bar a few years ago. (Sorry, I don't remember what it was called.)

I just tried the link in my e-mail and the link is broken and does not work any more. (It says: The offer you have clicked has expired. Revisit our site to get the latest specials and updates. Thanks.) The original page interestingly had more information about the bar than the product page did then or now. I did a search of their website and can't find the page so apparently, it has been taken down. In either case, the now missing page said that it is a blend. Interestingly, there is an article in the East Bay Express (June 1, 2005) that said that their earlier Cuyagua was a blend as well.

Hope things are working out well for you with ChocolateGuild.

-Art

Amano Artisan Chocolate

http://www.amanochocolate.com/

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if memory serves (and it may not!) i think it was the sur del lago region. . . (south of the lake)

Thanks Sebastian. Greatly appreciated. I made the mistake of assuming that the web page would remain up.

On a similar vein, I have been contacted by one publication that wanted to know if we believed that the government should pass regulations as to what "single origin" means in reference to chocolate. Personally, I am opposed to this -- the last thing we need is more regulation. On the other hand, it us up to us as an industry to be forthright with our customers as to what our product is (and is not). If we (as an industry) do not, new regulations will eventually be forthcoming whether we like it or not.

-Art

Amano Artisan Chocolate

http://www.amanochocolate.com/

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Such regulations oft become either impossible to enforce (can you imagine cleaning your equipment to the extent necessary to ensure no x-contamination? how do you ensure your beans are all from the same origin and not inadvertently mixed by a small amount? does single origin only refer to country of origin, or region/plantation? oy vey) or diluted so as to be confusingly meaningless - take the wine industry for example - in the US, wines can be labelled as single varietal if that varietal comprises 75% + of the grape used. So your merlot is in all liklihood not 100% merlot, but almost always a blend of merlot (75%) and cabernet is most often used to blend with it. But the bottle still says merlot.

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Such regulations oft become either impossible to enforce (can you imagine cleaning your equipment to the extent necessary to ensure no x-contamination?  how do you ensure your beans are all from the same origin and not inadvertently mixed by a small amount?  does single origin only refer to country of origin, or region/plantation? oy vey) or diluted so as to be confusingly meaningless - take the wine industry for example - in the US, wines can be labelled as single varietal if that varietal comprises 75% + of the grape used.  So your merlot is in all liklihood not 100% merlot, but almost always a blend of merlot (75%) and cabernet is most often used to blend with it.  But the bottle still says merlot.

I fully agree. Furthermore, it is difficult to clean the chocolate machines so that there would be NO trace of other varieties. The machines are simply too large and in some cases too complex to be able to remove every single trace of previous runs. We have it pretty good here since we designed our factory so that we can clean our machines very effectively between runs so when we say that something is made with a particular bean, there are no significant amounts of previous runs present.

Other factories have it worse since they use pipes to move their chocolate about the factory and these pipes trap chocolate from previous runs even after they have been cleaned out. (Typically, this is done by shooting a plug through the line that pushes much of the remaining chocolate out -- but much still remains.) Factories that use "Universal Refiners" have an even worse problem because there are significant amounts of chocolate that do not drain from the refiner between runs. I'd guestimate on one 500kg machine that I've seen drained that there was approximately 100lbs left in the bottom and the sides -- if not more. (This is also one of the reasons why we don't use this kind of chocolate refiner.)

The problem with regulations too is that they in essence create a "minimum" standard and rather than encouraging people to create their products to the highest standard possible, I believe that it encourages mediocrity. There is too strong a temptation to only meet the standard rather than go beyond the standard.

I am aware of a chocolate company outside of the U.S. (who shall remain nameless) that includes as many cocoa bean husks as they can legally include. They technically still meet the standard but clearly they also feel that the standard allows them some leeway in their formulation.

Truth in labeling is probably the best answer. I'm not convinced that it all needs to go on the actual product label in the Internet era. There simply are too many factors that come into play and too many interests that people may have or want clarification on. If all of these were addressed on a label, packaging for even the most basic product would be huge simply for want of printing space. However, with the virtually free ability to distribute information via the Internet, many of these interests / concerns / etc. may be addressed in as much depth as necessary and at minimal cost.

-Art

Amano Artisan Chocolate

http://www.amanochocolate.com/

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I would have to agree with both of you on the regulations. I think the same as you guys because of the reasons you listed.

I think when it comes down to quality assurance the task is going to be in the hands of unbiased chocolate reviewers/websites/distributors such as myself. I am actually working on something right now to solve some of these very problems of labeling and transperancy in company's. Not a manhunt or anything but just to get a clear view on each company and their specific standards.

There is a chocolate association starting up in the USA at www.lartchocolat.com which wants to create non-legal standards of "fine chocolate" which is a good start. I hope to do some of my own work in this area outside that association but we will see.

I guess the whole goal is to know as much about the specific chocolate you are eating as possible...

-You wouldn't even tell that Cuyagua was a blend by the package...they sure did a good job of making that seem that it was a single origin.

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Just a heads up for everyone...."Art's" chocolate "Amano Chocolate" is now available through www.chocosphere.com as well as his website. I say this because I really love his chocolate and encourage you to get your hands on some!

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So where does Soma get their beans from? and how is there taste? do they do single origins, blends, or infused(added flavors) for their chocolate bars?

From their site:

"...Explore the deep flavours of Carenero Superior heirloom cacao."

I'm not sure what "heirloom cacao beans" mean, but this is a Venezualen. I don't know if I snagged this particular one on my run, but the Occumare I did try was pretty good. Really nice bite to it and a strong distinct flavour. I'd get that again. However, with the infused squares I tried, they were moderately successful, (but I wouldn't run out to buy them again). The green tangerine was pretty interesting. I also got a cup of their Mayan hot chocolate, which was also only "okay."

I'm about to check out chocosphere to do an order I think. Friends are going to visit the states in two weeks...!

Edited by jenc (log)

foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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  • 1 month later...

Hershey's and Callebaut have inked a long term mutually beneficial deal with one another (just announced last week). I'd expect to see at least a portion of Hershey's offerings to be significantly differentiated from what they historically have been...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello Everyone,

I was pondering a question today and wanted to get a concensus. What category are you all in, out of these two? Do you like "Eating Chocolates" or do you like "Chocolate desserts" and things made with chocolate?

I would love to hear some answers to this...I know a lot of people that buy by the bar and buy single origins but I also know people who don't do that at all and only use chocolate in their recipes and really like their chocolate that way....

What is your preference for chocolate consumption?

Help me out!

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Different uses. I enjoy a square (or more) with a glass of wine or port after a good meal pretty regularly, and I'll scarf a candy bar during the day 'just because.' But, I used a lot of bulk and couveture, as well as some high end bars in my baking too. No either or with this guy.

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Hello Everyone,

I was pondering a question today and wanted to get a concensus.  What category are you all in, out of these two?  Do you like "Eating Chocolates" or do you like "Chocolate desserts" and things made with chocolate?

I would love to hear some answers to this...I know a lot of people that buy by the bar and buy single origins but I also know people who don't do that at all and only use chocolate in their recipes and really like their chocolate that way....

What is your preference for chocolate consumption?

Help me out!

Both.

I have a relentless sweet tooth, but I've given up eating junk sweets. So unless I'm having dessert at a good restaurant or have baked something at home, my treat of the day will be 1-2 oz (6-8 feves) good dark chocolate. I think if I'm going to eat something high calorie, it must justify itself.

I buy Valhrona Guanaja in 3 kilo feves pkgs as my house standard, smaller amounts of other good chocolates when I need something different for a paricular dessert.

Which brings me to a question. Has anyone else who uses the Guanaja noticed a difference lately? It seems sweeter and fattier the last couple times I bought it. I'm going to check out some of the other varieties that are 70%+.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Hey Everbody,

Well I have just been informed that "Askinosie Chocolate" is now open! You can find them at www.askinosie.com. They have one bar available at the moment from Ecuador and are going to have a chocolate from Mexico pretty soon as well...these guys look like the real deal so check them out and order some chocolate. I am receiving samples pretty soon so I would love to chat with you guys about their bars once you receive them....

www.askinosie.com

http://chocolateguild.com/vb/showthread.php?p=941#post941

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