100 bars? I feel better now. Most I've had is about 20-25, max, and I get heat about that. Part of me would like to compare the To'ak bar to one of my favorite single origin varietals or something similar and see how each one shapes up. A cynical part of me is thinking these makers are sizing up the cash they'll pull in from 574 bars priced at $260 each --a cool $149,240. Not a bad haul for about 63 pounds of finished productso for me, I have to balance wanting totaste this chocolateagainst feeling like I'm being ripped off. For now, I say the maker is getting the better end of the deal, IMHO, but to each his/her own.
What the Chocolate Industry Needs is A $100 Bar of Chocolate
I ran into someone at a great shop in SF called "Chocolate Covered" that'sabout the best overall variety of high-end chocolate bars anywhere. She said she'd been to a tasting of Toak the night before and liked it, "but I've also had ones that I liked better." We both agreed that we were "not there yet" with respect to valuing that particular bar at the current asking price.
I saw this last night and posted it to Twitter (@DiscoverChoc) and Facebook (as you mention) and got several responses there.
I have to agree with the point that this appears to be more of a fundraising program than a serious attempt at creating the "$100 bar of chocolate." But it's also important to recognize that Woodblock is being straight up and open about what they are doing. They're not promoting the project as something that it's not. What is on offer is the opportunity to support the important work the ICG is doing (now without direct government support) plus a rather unusual bar of chocolate made from beans from the trees that grow in the germplasm bank. While there's no way to know how good the chocolate will be, the bar (and the label) should have some value as a collector's item. Hopefully Charley will recognize that and batch/number the bars. If the project is successful I can see Woodblock doing this on an annual basis as it's (the ICG) is a project worth supporting. That said, it might make more sense as a tax-deductible contribution to the ICG where the perk is a bar. Of the $100 donation $X would be attributed to the bar and not be tax deductible. This might get more people to support the ICG.
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Couldn't agree more. What Woodblock is doing is a different animal than what they're doing at To'ak Chocolate. Clay, curious to how you feel about this. I can't wrap my mind around spending that much on a chocolate bar. It doesn't get better with age. You'd have to enjoy it within a year. The Maranon Fortunato No 4 isn't more than $10 anywhere I've seen. Do you think this is all hype? I can't help but think so. I mean, come on, a $260 chocolate bar.
annmarie? There is no way on the face of this earth that the toak chocolate is what they say it is. Their website is inconsistent(we have 14 farmers--but only a few 100 year old trees?))...to the packaging and hype around it. So this ex wall street guy goes on a surfing safari, falls in love with chocolate and voila...he makes the worlds most expensive chocolate bar? I will call bullshit on it everyday from now to eternity. What they claim is just not possible. nor do these guys have any experience making chocolate. It takes years of practice and experimentation to get a quality product, even from really good beans. This bar is marketed to the 1% and they will buy it...but you can well bet it is not any better than Pacari or even a Guittard Ecuador for that matter....
That's how I feel. Marketing ploy. The problem is all of the the people that know really good chocolate and the entire process won't pay that much for BS. I has also said their website needs some work in ease of navigation and consistency. I'm glad someone agrees with me. I also want to know how these 100 year old rare trees came into existence all of a sudden with 14 farmers. So odd. Being in both chocolate and marketing, I say bullshit as well. I don't think anyone in the chocolate world has called them on it yet. They're getting press for the price.
yep. I mean we know clay cant say it, and others may be too nice. This, of course, is not my MO. These guys have zero track record for making quality chocolate. ...or ANY chocolate for that matter. I suppose I am just jealous on some level because I am honest to the point of recklessness and feel that what they are doing is dishonest. Its NOKA all over again. I might as well do my own....
"Announcing the world's most expensive chocolate bar! These one of a kind cacao beans were spoon fed to sloths in the costa rican rainforest and extracted from their feces in a loving and kindly manner after fermenting in their slow moving guts for 3 whole days. Each individual bean was hand roasted, one at a time, in a used smack heads spoon from the lower east side with a bic lighter. They are then cracked with a ball peen hammer and then winnowed with the breath of nubile virgins. The sugar was processed in a toaster oven heavily modified by our crack equipment crew having been salvaged from a burned out tenement in the Bronx. After 462 hours of grinding in a mortar and pestle by coca fueled aliens in a Tuscon shitbox the finished chocolate is aged in an old gold mine in a pool of fulminated mercury for 6 months. Each individual 100 gram bar is wrapped in the dried skin of an alapaca that died of natural causes no later than 1749 and was skinned by a shaman under the influence of ayahuasca and mummified at high elevation in the Bolivian Andes. Each one of these shaman blessed bars is certified gluten free, certified organic, certified vegan, certified GMO free and only $1000.00 per bar."
Very interesting topic, however I think the analogy misses on a few points. Most $100 bottles of wine were originally sold for $20-$50 when new. As they age and get better (not all wines age well, contrary to popular belief) the price increases simply due to supply and demand. Hence a lot of collectors out there are filling thier cellars up with cases of $20 wines. In 10+ years, that case of $20 wines *might* be a case of $100 wines.
Are there winemakers selling $100 for new bottles? of course. But they are few and far between, relatively speaking. And almost all of that is due to reputation.
Secondly, unlike most chocolate makers, winemakers tend to have pure and total control over thier grape production. Many of the finest Bordeux's are from winemakers that have been winemaking for generations. They have grown a reputation, without being able to grow thier production. There's a real difference between a good grape and an amazing grape.
I know I'm new to the industry and just barely coming out of the hobby, but most of the cacao that I seem to find is a blend of a myriad of different farmers, farming techniques, etc. Further, post harvest ferments and drying can range from great to abominable. All of which is just outside the hands of most chocolate makers. We get what we get and learn to work with it.
I think it's the combination of a bunch of things like this that holds prices where they are even though there are premium artisinal made chocolates vs cheapo candy chocolate. Most of what I've seen for $15+ bars is pure ego, while only some of it is rarity, but mostly ego. If we can somehow work in something special in one chocolate that isnt in another, that's where I think the prices can and would climb.
It's not a matter of producing a $100 bar, it's a matter of producing something that becomes worth $100 and people are willing to buy as a matter of value and specialness, and rarity. Elitism is where a lot of high dollar things get thier values.
updated by @timwilde: 09/09/15 07:34:03AM
My take on the feasibility of a $100 bar is from the perspective of the market. More people need to geek out (be educated) on chocolate like they do on coffee and wine. When there are sufficient flavor junkies looking for the next chocolate high, the chocolate makers that gets a loyal following will naturally be forced to raise prices for not being able to meet all demand. In the mean time, I'm grateful for all the sharing and community spirit that is taking us there... :D
Does this count? Total weight 105g for $100
From C-Spot new website:
updated by @gap: 01/26/16 01:33:43AM
But who or what are you donating to? There is no information about who gets the proceeds from the sales. If some of the money was going to the HCP one would think that would be mentioned.
I'm just going by the blurb that was in the description.
But these ‘diamonds of cacao’ – prized for fine-flavor – are vanishing … their botanical treasures lost forever unless we all act to protect them. By purchasing this collection, we’re together saving endangered species.
updated by @timwilde: 01/27/16 11:16:36AM