Chocolatiers = Re-melters?

Mindy Fong
@mindy-fong
03/03/09 03:00:58AM
19 posts
I was a little perplexed a few months ago while doing a joint chocolate and wine pairing event. The neighbor next to me, a chocolate maker whom shall remain nameless, kept on informing the patrons that they were not re-melters. She made it a point to inform people that their chocolate company actually makes chocolate from the bean. Her insistence on giving out this piece of information and using such a degrading term as 're-melter' didn't sit well with me. By using such an adjective, it belittles the craft of truffle-making and bar blending.I would love for this young company to go up to a guy like Recchuiti and say, 'Hey man, sit back, you're just a re-melter.'I make it a point to inform my customers of who's chocolate I use. I do not pretend to be a chocolate maker. This company in question, however, fails to see how they may lose business by the use of such a derogatory word. Do they plan to only make a living my selling direct to the end user (chocolate consumer), becuase I would never endorse any chocolatier to do business with such a company.What are your thoughts?
updated by @mindy-fong: 06/26/15 12:27:17AM
Duffy Sheardown
@duffy-sheardown
03/03/09 04:24:38AM
55 posts
I think it's one of those things that everyone will endlessly chase - the term "artisan" will get taken over by the huge manufacturers and as a result the effective meaning of the term to the lay-customer will change. Folks who see themselves as artisans will be affronted and think of another way to describe what they do and distance themselves from the big companies. And so on, ad infinitum.The use of the term "re-melter" sounds like someone getting their attack in first!
Alan McClure
@alan-mcclure
03/03/09 07:19:34AM
73 posts
Is this in the US? Was the woman in question the actual chocolate maker or simply an employee? I'm not familiar with any bean-to-bar companies in the US where the chocolate maker is female--though would be happy to be proven wrong. If you don't feel comfortable publishing the company's name, which I can foresee, then please consider sending it to me via PM. There have been a number of companies saying that they make chocolate lately, though not actually doing so, and I'm interested to see if this is one of them.
Mindy Fong
@mindy-fong
03/03/09 12:09:00PM
19 posts
Hi Alan,She doesn't own the company, but chocolate maker is her title. I'll be sending you an email shortly.
Ilana
@ilana
03/03/09 12:38:40PM
97 posts
It does sound like it is intentionally used to degrade an artisan chocolatier. It sounds like it skips out on the many processes and stages of making "chocolates" from chocolate. I guess some like feel superior by making others feel inferior. Not kind.
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/03/09 02:11:30PM
1,680 posts
Mindy:I would also be interested in knowing who this is, and I don't think there is any need to keep it private. It's not a question of their being "better" than you in some way because they are making the chocolate they use and you're choosing to focus on a different area of the business. It's whether or not they're being truthful in how they are representing their business.I do have to agree with Devil that the term "re-melter" is not derogatory, it's merely descriptive; while being not totally accurate. The French term for this is "fondeur" or simply "melter" not re-melter. The issue you are probably having is that this company is implying that they are necessarily better than you are because you are "only" a fondeur.You can point out that virtually all of the best chocolatiers (and you can name some) in the world are "only" fondeurs. Their interest and their passion lay with making confections, not in making chocolate. And that's not bad or wrong. If I were a painter and did not make my own paints does that mean that a painter who does is a better painter than I? No. As a photographer, I use film and paper that are made by companies who specialize in making film and paper. Does that mean that someone who makes their own is a better photographer than I? No. Same with chocolate.One advantage that you enjoy as a fondeur is a nearly limitless palette of options when choosing the chocolate you want to use. You're not limited to the origins and percentages you make, there are hundreds you can choose from. So in that sense, NOT being a chocolate maker can be thought of as a definite advantage -- because if you don't like a particular chocolate (for whatever reason) you don't have to use it. Besides, if the only chocolatier in the world that is using (chocolate company's name here)'s chocolate is (the aforementioned chocolate company) and the chocolate is so great, how come more chocolatiers aren't using it?So. Embrace your inner fondeur now that you have some information that affirms your decision to focus on the craft of being a chocolatier - which is difficult enough all by itself. There's no reason to take umbrage with what others might say (after all, it's their insecurity that's driving them to say it) and stay above the fray. But ... if someone asks the question, well now you have some answers for them and off come the kid gloves.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Mindy Fong
@mindy-fong
03/03/09 08:09:06PM
19 posts
Ok Clay. Your response is compelling and I'll spill the cacao beans....It's Tcho.
Susie Norris
@susie-norris
03/04/09 12:47:07AM
21 posts
I definitely get a derogatory vibe off "re-melters". She must have been a handful in high school!
Jeff
@jeff
03/04/09 09:08:23AM
94 posts
last time I was at tcho they didnt have any roasting/cracking/winnowing equipment. They DO buy liquor and have an impressive array of equipment for the processing of liquor, but they do not roast at their facility....as far as I could see......
Tom
@tom
03/04/09 10:09:19PM
205 posts
I agree that a nicer term could be used, I have huge respect for truffle makers, I have dabbled a bit but I am terrible at it and that is just physically following a recipe, let alone coming up with recipes, flavour combos, pairing with the type of chocolate. From what I can see it is as difficult if not more so to turn out a perfect truffle than it is to turn out a chocolate bar. You would have to have a considerable task going from bean to truffle commercially I would think - with any level of excellence that is (unless you are bigger and can have a choc manufacturing section and then a truffle manufacture section). I guess this is why there are bean to bar chocolate makers and then there are truffle makers, I don't know a lot that do both, does anyone? Actually Haighs here in Adelaide does both but they just make two basic chocolates milk and dark and then blend from there, no single origin stuff or anything. And their stuff ain't that great - hence my use of 'level of excellence'.
Alan McClure
@alan-mcclure
03/05/09 06:51:54AM
73 posts
Hi Tom,The below is true to the best of my knowledge:Michel Cluizel: makes all chocolate and bonbonsAmedei: makes all chocolate and bonbonsTheo: makes all chocolate and bonbonsCoppeneur: makes all chocolate and bonbonsPralus: makes all chocolate and bonbonsPierre Marcolini: Makes some chocolate and bonbonsEscazu: Makes some chocolate and bonbons (two different product lines)Soma Chocolate Maker: Makes some chocolate and bonbonsOf course I may be missing one or two, but that is most of them. They all make bonbons to different degrees. Some companies have huge lines, and others much smaller ranges.
Frank Schmidt
@frank-schmidt
03/05/09 11:48:16AM
28 posts
I agree with you Tom. As a home chocolate maker, from the bean, it is not easy to then learn all necessary to make a good truffle. But check this out:Jeff Stern has an interesting concept; single origin confections and appears to be involved in bean to bonbon process.http://www.aequarechocolates.com/content.php?cms_id=2"Aequare participates in almost the entire process from bean to final product in the country of origin."I think more people will be trying this but they have a tough road ahead. I'm putting an order in for some of Jeff's confections as soon as he gets an order site up and running.
Alan McClure
@alan-mcclure
03/05/09 04:05:13PM
73 posts
Hi Frank,The sentence that you quoted isn't incredibly clear. What does "participates in the entire process" mean exactly?Bean-to-bar, as you know, means starting with cocoa beans and ending with finished chocolate bars in one facility. If parts of the process are contracted out, then it may be great chocolate, it may be the best chocolate in the world even, but it isn't bean-to-bar. The same goes for bean-to-bonbon.I am getting annoyed with new companies intimating that they do the whole process when they actually don't. Why do I care? Because, as you mention, it is a tough road, and I would prefer that people who aren't doing it not get credit for doing it when there are people who actually do, and are being honest about it.That said, maybe Jeff is selling himself short, and he just needs to more clearly say: "We do honest to goodness bean-to-bonbon chocolate production." That would be an exciting thing, and more power to him no matter what he does, but I would just like to see more clarity in marketing from new and existing chocolate companies, and this is a perfect example.In short, I just think that it should be easy enough to make a clear and unequivocal statement about what one does.Best,Alan
Jeff
@jeff
03/05/09 04:23:50PM
94 posts
makes sense to me alan....We are making our first batches of ganache and bon bons from our own "bean to bar" chocolate this week.......the ocumare is outstanding....bean to bar is pain in the ass to get right so you go man, you go.....
Tom
@tom
03/05/09 08:32:44PM
205 posts
Thanks Alan, I did know a few of them come to think of it - they are all pretty big companies though. I did forget one smaller one and that is run by Brad Churchill at Choklat in Canada (www.sochoklat.com).
Susie
@susie
03/06/09 10:56:07AM
11 posts
Not knowing anything about the company, my guess is she might have been too "lazy" to explain "we're a bean to bar chocolate maker." Before Scharffen Berger I can't think of small companies encountering that issue of having to explain that they make the chocolate as well as what's inside. In fact many were the times I'd ask a confectioner where their chocolate was from and they'd say "we make it. we make it" until I made it completely clear I was referring to the couverture, not the fillings.While Wikipedia alludes to "chocolate makers" there is not an entry for this phrase. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ChocolateWhoever is motivated enough can educate people about "chocolate makers" which will eliminate the need for the "re-melting" explanations.
Brent Peters
@brent-peters
03/06/09 05:03:58PM
7 posts
Hi Mindy,Probably not the best use of terms to make the distinction. It sounds like she was a bit on the defensive. I always put it as, there are two art forms to chocolate and that of the chocolatier is truly artisan. As a new chocolate maker I frequently get questions about the difference and did face opposition from local chocolatiers at first. Whether they intend to sell to chocolatiers or not, it's always best to take the high road either way, in my humble opinion.On another note, I had somewhat similar situation at a Slow Food event, where I was put up against Xocai, they couldn't say the name so they just called it "healthy chocolate". I was representing the "un-healthy" chocolate of course. I was bombarded from the start with all of their talking points on what I do that makes chocolate bad for you.
John DePaula
@john-depaula
03/06/09 08:17:02PM
45 posts
I was certain that I'd read a while back that TCHO was, in fact, a "re-melter," and Jeff's observations would seem to confirm this.It occurs to me that some of you may not have read the "expos" on Noka, which is germane and of interest: What's Noka Worth? on DallasFood.org.
Eric Durtschi
@eric-durtschi
03/06/09 08:29:39PM
38 posts
I make many "chocolate products" but I don't make any chocolate. I am proud of this. I focus on my specialty of finding wonderful combinations for my treats and proudly announce that I used "insert company name here" for this and "insert company name here" for that. I have worked with a few bean to bar chocolate makers and I will, happily leave that art form to them while I work on my own.With regards to Xocai, I use the darkest roasted cacao beans on the planet, to the best of my knowledge, for one of my products and I have had it analyzed. Xocai reps are always very upset when I show them how high my ORAC scores are. IF you are going to eat chocolate for health benefits, just eat darker chocolate. I on the other hand will enjoy my Domori, Pralus, Amano, Patric, Amadei.... and many other amazing chocolates!!!
Mindy Fong
@mindy-fong
03/07/09 01:03:16AM
19 posts
Wow, thanks for the link to 'What's Noka Worth?'. I do highly recommend that all 10 articles be read and I see how this can cause upset to actual chocolate makers like Alan McClure.
Melanie Boudar
@melanie-boudar
03/07/09 02:31:24AM
104 posts
I always explain that I am a confection maker and use chocolates from around the world that enhance a particular flavor I am working with.I do carry bars from various artisan chocolate makers both local and elsewhere that make their bars from the bean...and some actually grow it (local) as well.her statement was lazy and ignorant and who really cares what she says. It is one person that really doesn't affect the rest of us.I think I will embrace my "inner fonduer"
updated by @melanie-boudar: 09/13/15 04:50:31PM
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/07/09 12:31:41PM
1,680 posts
Melanie: I agree with you on most points.However, it is important to note how others represent themselves because in some cases they have the money and/or visibility to alter a market view and make it more difficult for everyone else to compete.I've said elsewhere that one of Guittard's biggest goofs was not to immediately start making a product to compete with Scharffen Berger once they stopped making chocolate for them. That gave Scharffen Berger the opportunity and time to define what "good" chocolate was. "Good" chocolate had lots of big, bright, red fruit flavors in it. If another chocolate didn't taste like Scharffen Berger it wasn't good chocolate.For a representative of TCHO to make remarks like this - unchecked - has the potential to do a disservice because they are very good at using the Internet to build awareness and a loyal customer base and therefore have the ability to change the way people think about chocolate. We know that they want to do this because they are staying away from percentages and origins and adopting a new kind of naming system for their chocolate. This is smart if they can get people to adopt their language because it puts everyone else at a disadvantage.While I do believe that TCHO intends to become a fully integrated bean-to-bar manufacturer, at the moment I do not believe [Note to Timothy, Louis, et al, please let us know if I am wrong here.] that they are roasting their own beans in their own equipment in their own factory. IIRC, beans are roasted by others "according to proprietary protocols" and then ground into liquor. The liquor is transported to the factory in SF where it is converted into finished chocolate and molded.For a rep of TCHO to refer to a chocolatier as "merely" a "re-melter" is a little disingenuous IF in fact TCHO "merely" makes chocolate from liquor while implying that they are making it from beans.I believe, and I think virtually everyone else in the community agrees with me, that a "true" bean to bar manufacturer owns all of the equipment and personally performs all of the processes to convert raw beans to finished chocolate. They do not outsource any part of it. (As far as I am concerned, wrapping is immaterial to the process of making chocolate, so I don't include that in the requirement to be a "true" bean to bar manufacturer.)


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Luis Dinos Moro
@luis-dinos-moro
03/13/09 09:30:13PM
15 posts
Apples and oranges. They are both different and both difficult to achieve.Luis
Hallot Parson
@hallot-parson
03/18/09 06:02:41PM
15 posts
Hi Alan.I just stumbled on this discussion, and would like to contribute a perspective. When you state: "Bean-to-bar, as you know, means starting with cocoa beans and ending with finished chocolate bars in one facility.", do you really feel that it must be made in one facility?For example, my shop is quite small. I am in the process of setting up a production space in a less expensive non retail area where we will make all of the chocolate we use entirely from the bean. Although I will be making bars at this location, I will be sending chocolate over to the retail shop for them to make the confections that they sell. So by your definition, is it not "bean to bon-bon"?As you know, to make any real volume the equipment can get pretty big. Although I wish that I could afford a large space in a high rent retail district so that people could actually see the process, at this point its not in the cards.I completely agree with you regarding all of the confusing and even misleading info that people put out about their operation. Sometimes, however, other people and publications unintentionally create the confusion. I have always been concerned about the fact that we have been doing both bean to bar for 1 line, and using couverture for what I consider a confectionary line. I ALWAYS correct people if they assume that Escazu has always been bean to bar, but it isnt always enough.It's for this reason that we have decided to change the name of the business when we fully transition to making all of our chocolate. The new company will be called Ezca Chocolates, and Escazu will be a brand of that company. I sincerely hope that this will clear up any confusion that people have with us.Take care,Hallot
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/18/09 06:17:20PM
1,680 posts
Hallot:For what it's worth, my definition of bean to bar has never included the concept that it must all be done in one facility - just that you have to "own" all the processes involved. In other words, the company that's claiming to do the bean to bar thing must clean, roast, crack/winnow, grind, refine, and conch the chocolate to a finished, edible state.All of the above steps must be done by the company laying claim to bean-to-bar or it's not. I don't think it has to be done all in one building. It doesn't count if you send the beans out to be roasted under contract to your specs. Bean-to-bar means 100% traceable to the company making the claim.I really don't care if the chocolate then gets tempered into retail bars or some other form (bar, disk, pellet) that gets sold and melted to be used in something else, though some people assume that bean-to-bar means bean-to-retail bar.So in the case of your making the chocolate and sending it to the shop to be made into bonbons - it's still bean to bar as long as you're doing all of the work in-house (even if it's more than one house).I hope this helps your thinking on this.:: Clay


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Alan McClure
@alan-mcclure
03/18/09 07:57:22PM
73 posts
Hi Hallot,Thank you for your comment.I agree. I definitely should have said: "Bean-to-bar means starting with cocoa beans and ending with finished chocolate bars in a facility or facilities owned by one single company."I agree that "one facility" isn't the important issue, and that one company that owns multiple facilities, such as yourself, definitely still "makes chocolate from bean to bar or from bean to bonbon as the case may be. I agree with Clay's definition below. However, I would add a little more clarification and say that "bean-to-bar" should definitely mean that one molds tempered chocolate in some way. In other words, if a company makes chocolate and then ships it off to be molded into bars by another company, under contract, then doesn't count as bean-to-bar.I can think of a likely situation where all of this gets even more complicated. For example, take the case of a company that molds tempered blocks of chocolate that it has made to be sold to other companies, but also ships off some of that chocolate to be molded under contract into retail bars under its own brand name. In this case, I would say that though the company in question is basically a bean-to-bar company, for them to simply make such a claim without clarification would likely confuse their customers into thinking that they mold their own retail bars. Since this would be untrue, I am arguing that it would be ethically inappropriate for them to make such a claim without some sort of disclaimer--perhaps on their bar packaging, such as:"Molded into bars for X Company by Y company."I don't think that the end consumer should be put in the position, by language used by the company, or conveniently not used, of reasonably believing that something is true when it actually is not.Best,AlanP.S. I don't blame companies for the mistaken claims of others as long as the company has done their best to correct them. It is inevitable that things will be said or written about a company that are not completely true. That said, especially when dealing with the press, which is apt to reach a large number of people, I think that it is particularly important that we should really make an effort to clarify for them what it is that we do and don't do. It is too bad that we can't count on most of the press to do their homework and simply get it right, but they have proven over and over again, that as a group, they simply make factual errors all too often. So, I think it must become our job, as industry insiders, to police them since they don't police themselves effectively. It's too bad too; I've got other things to do.P.P.S If you are a journalist and never make factual errors then you have my utmost respect.
Hallot Parson
@hallot-parson
03/19/09 01:38:17PM
15 posts
Alan, your points really illustrate how difficult it is for small producers to go head to head with a well financed larger company.As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that this is really what defines an "artisan" chocolate business from just a chocolate business. When I make a bar, regardless of whether it is with my chocolate or with couverture, I am putting my energy into making something that is to the best standard that I am capable of. I think we all make chocolate because it feels good somewhere inside. Other companies are in the business of chocolate and spend their energy marketing products in a way that takes advantage of the niche market that has been created by you and others. They are effective because they have the budget and the advertising.A certain well financed chocolate company with a misleading Venezuelan name uses the same couverture that I have been making confectionary bars with for 4 years. The bars are the same size yet they charge nearly $2.00 a bar more than we do. Based on the packaging, I'm not sure that the average person who isnt in the industry would be able to discern that they are not making that chocolate, and the value for the product is horrible.OK, sorry for the rant! I wont even get started on NOKA.HallotEscazu Chocolates
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/19/09 06:19:37PM
1,680 posts
Hallot:It's okay to name names here. It's in the best interests of transparency all the way around. Does the company name by any chance begin with with the same letter as the state they're HQd in which just happens to be the first letter of the word chocolate?:: Clay


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Hallot Parson
@hallot-parson
03/19/09 11:21:58PM
15 posts
Indeed! Yeah, its Chuao. I dont know those guys, and they may be the nicest people in the world, but I know what they pay for ingredients, and in my opinion they do over charge. I guess the market proves me wrong though, because they are certainly more successful than I.Also, and I admit this is sour grapes on my part, but you are not allowed to claim a trademark on a name that refers to a geographical area. If you look up their trademark status, they claim that the word Chuao means "chocolatier". It must be in a language that they invented because everyone knows that Chuao is a region in Venezuela known almost exclusively for cacao. They even admit this in their literature. This is another example of how being able to hire a professional to handle these issues allows you great advantages over those of us who bootstrap.Hallot
Alan McClure
@alan-mcclure
03/20/09 06:34:34AM
73 posts
John,Recently one of the Tcho founders, Louis Rosetto, their CEO, stated the following:http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/1978963:Topic:7700?page=3&commentId=1978963%3AComment%3A20426&x=1#1978963Comment20426"We at TCHO buy our beans directly from farmers or coops, we personally oversee their roasting to our own proprietary roast protocols and profiles, and then we manufacture beans from the liquor made from the roasts."The roasting and grinding is done overseas as far as I know. So, it seems that they contract to have their cacao roasted and ground in the country of origin according to their specs. They then import the blocks of chocolate liquor, and the chocolate is finished here in the US. I have no doubt that their intention is to do the final steps in their SF facility, but I'm not sure if that is currently the case or not. I would be more than happy for a Tcho representative to clarify all of this. You'll note that I specifically tried to start a dialog in the other thread and Louis never responded.By the way, as of this moment, Tcho's Twitter description says this:"TCHO makes obsessively good dark chocolate from pod to palate in our San Francisco factory."This implies that they also ferment and dry the cacao in their facility in SF. I think that we can quite safely assume that this is not true.I would like to see more clarity in Tcho's marketing and public statements.Alan
John DePaula
@john-depaula
03/20/09 01:25:51PM
45 posts
"TCHO makes obsessively good dark chocolate from pod to palate in our San Francisco factory."This implies that they also ferment and dry the cacao in their facility in SF. I think that we can quite safely assume that this is not true.I would like to see more clarity in Tcho's marketing and public statements..Thanks, Alan, for that clarification. I agree with you: more clarity in their marketing campaign would be better.
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/26/09 12:24:42AM
1,680 posts
From Timothy Childs' Facebook post March 25, 2009""Timothy Childs is extremely pleased to be celebrating a very sucessfull [sic] 4-day roasting run of 27 tons of cacao beans here in Guayaquil, Ecuador by having a big nice cold..."I think it's safe to say that at least 27+ tonnes of their chocolate is not "from pod to palate" in their SF factory.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Clay Gordon
@clay
03/26/09 09:52:01AM
1,680 posts
And this just in from Timothy's Facebook page (March 26, 2009):"Timothy Childs is waiting as Ecuadorian customs is xraying and searching 12 boxes of cocoa liquor."So not only are they roasting in Ecuador they are grinding (which makes total sense). But - to be fair, the site says, "TCHO is direct, transparent connection between the farmers and the consumers, from the pod to the palate, from high concept to sensual experience." They don't claim (at least here) to do 100% of the manufacturing in the SF plant. Notwithstanding, I don't think they are bean-to-bar in the accepted definition of owning all the manufacturing plant.


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clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/
Jeff Stern
@jeff-stern
03/29/09 08:47:58AM
78 posts
Alan:I want to clarify what I meant by "Aequare participates in almost the entire process from bean to final product ..."Aequare does not buy beans and we do not process them ourselves. That said we do have a unique position, in that I personally know who's growing my beans (or where they are specifically coming from - this depends on the product I am using), under what conditions, and how and when they are harvested and fermented. I don't think there are many, if any, chocolatiers out there who are on the ground producing a product in the country of origin who are as closely involved or personally connected with the product from start to finish as we are.I have visited the farms and areas the beans come from, and frequently meet and talk with the growers. I personally know the processor of the beans, have visited the plant where they are processed (and can stop in any time I wish), and know the people involved in the processing. We neither supervise nor give instruction on the processing of the beans. I let all the individuals involved do what they do best - the grower grows, harvests, ferments, and dries; the processor roasts and processes the beans based on input from the grower, who's judgment I clearly trust, as he has more than 30 years experience in the cocoa/chocolate industry (which I do not), mostly here in Ecuador .I then acquire the finished couverture directly from the grower, as it's a product he follows through processing-he's not selling his beans to be processed, he's paying them to make couverture for him to his specifications, with the help of their equipment and expertise.It's at this point where my hand in completing the final product takes over; Aequare makes bars and confections from the chocolate - and given my accounting of our relationships with growers and processors, I think it's fair to say that Aequare is involved with the entire process. I think I would be selling myself short, as you so succinctly puts it, if I didn't somehow say I participated in the entire process, since I am clearly on the ground and able to witness, judge, taste, and give my input where and when I feel competent to do so.If you can suggest a better way to describe what it is Aequare Chocolates does, I would be happy to consider it in order to provide our customers with a more accurate representation of our activities.
Alan McClure
@alan-mcclure
03/30/09 11:54:43AM
73 posts
Hi Jeff,I appreciate your response and the additional information.I'd still say the following: If the average person is likely to think that you are doing something that you are not doing, even if you don't specifically say so, then clarification is needed in your statements. Frank Schmidt's comments above are a good example of this. Due to your language, he assumed that you were a "bean-to-bonbon" chocolate maker, and I can see why he would think that, even though you didn't specifically state as much. The problem is the word "involved," which is so general as to mean just about anything. I think that in order for that statement not to be potentially misleading, then it has got to be clarified with more context.The same problem exists with the word "participates" in your original wording.Given what you have told us above, one example might be:"We have a direct and open relationship with the manufacturer of the chocolate we use and the farmer whose cacao is made into that chocolate. We feel that this relationship ultimately plays a very important role in the quality of our resulting chocolate confections."There are undoubtedly a million other ways to word things, but I think that the above example gets across the truth of the matter, as well as what you feel is important, and what you were trying to share in your original wording.Here are some additional examples of what I see as lack of clarity in your wording. From your site:"Aequare (Ay-kwar-ay) Fine Chocolates are made from the finest Arriba cacao found only in the lowlands of Ecuador. Redefining conventional production methods, whereby beans are exported to the US or Europe, transformed into chocolate, and then sold in bulk to chocolatiers, Aequare participates in almost the entire process from bean to final product in the country of origin.:Are your chocolates really made from cacao? Aren't they actually made from chocolate that is made from cacao?Also, you hold what you are doing in relief to what "others" do, which includes buying bulk chocolate. This makes it sound like you don't buy bulk chocolate, but instead, make it. This isn't helped by the general term "participates.""Aequares single origin Arriba chocolate is sourced from Ecuadors Los Rios province. Rooted with a deep sense of cultural history, cacao has been grown in this region for over two centuries. It is considered by connoisseurs to be among the finest and rarest in the world. The cacao is made into chocolate locally, then delicately hand-crafted in small batches into the fines"I understand that you may be trying to clarify here, but why not just be consistently clear across every paragraph?Also, this might just be my problem, but when people say "our chocolate" when they don't make it, I kind of cringe. I know that they mean: "The chocolate that we use," but not everyone realizes that. Why not simply say that you looked around for some of the best chocolate in the world, and found it in the Ecuadorian chocolate that you now use in your products?I hope that you see my comments as constructive criticism, and not as an attack. I simply want the world of chocolate to be more transparent and honest. Right now, as Devil In An Apron, states, and I think that s/he is right on, the industry is far from being anything close to transparent and honest.Alan
Jeff Stern
@jeff-stern
03/30/09 11:59:15AM
78 posts
Hi Alan:Thanks for your input. I do agree some clarification is needed and I will be working on it over the coming months as we begin to roll out the product and hone the story. Your comments are very useful and definitely add to telling the story in a more transparent way.Jeff
Christine Doerr
@christine-doerr
03/31/09 06:23:26PM
24 posts
Hi MindyLove this discussion! Thanks for posting the question. I consider myself a chocolatier, of course not a chocolate maker. In my mind me these are 2 different businesses. I had a conversation this morning with someone at Guittard, my chocolate supplier. He seems to think we are competitors. I think the contrary. We should work together to promote each other. Now if Guittard were to start making truffles, things would be different ;)
Chocovore
@chocovore
04/01/09 12:25:38AM
6 posts
I'm a consumer of chocolate bars and prefer chocolate over chocolate confections but enjoy and consume both. Back to Mindy's original issue: the term re-melter is a blunt way for bean-to-bar producers to position themselves in a very competitive market. Various high quality brands of chocolate bars in North America may use the same Euro-sourced organic couvateur to produce their products. They may differentiate via % chocolate, packaging, distribution chanels and other marketing activities but essentially there is little difference in their products. They can legitamately be called re-melters. Bean-to-bar producers differentiate based on the type, quality and origin of the fruit, the processing/fermentation/handling at the source, the style and skill of the chocolate-maker at the production facility - plus effective branding, packaging, distribution etc. It is through their efforts that chocolate consumers can experience, enjoy and learn about the delightful variations in aroma, taste and texture of this most remarkable fruit.
Ilana
@ilana
04/01/09 12:51:58AM
97 posts
They can be called re-melters, yes, but this term only includes that portion of their profession. Other parts are involved in attaining a final product. Confection Recipe inventers would be an appropriate term as well, as would Decorators of confections, Blender of various chocolates...The problem with "re-melter" is that it causes an assumption that the chocolatier just melts the chocolate (can even exclude tempering), pours it in a plain bar mold and sells this product. It does not include all the many facets and thought involved. The part of their job that most chocolatiers love is the creativity and invention and this is why the term "re-melter" is annoying.
Jeff Stern
@jeff-stern
04/01/09 07:42:01AM
78 posts
To clarify one of your points, from what I know, most bean-to-bar makers do not participate in the post-harvest handling of the beans which includes fermentation and drying, unless they own a cocoa plantation or have a very close relationship with the grower, and are on the ground at the time of harvest and post-harvest, which can be a period of several weeks 2x a year.
Hallot Parson
@hallot-parson
04/01/09 09:15:03AM
15 posts
Jeff, I dont think that anyone would deny that you are doing something unique down there, and should definitely educate your customers to that effect. FYI, I think Steve Devries does some of that. I know he is even splicing his own clones in Costa Rica.I read Alan's comments as a frustration which I share, and has to do with a chocolate company putting out a product with a lot of high dollar marketing and packaging, and which uses a lot of ambiguous language to trick the customers into thinking that they are something that they are not. Some of these companies are not even molding their bars, but simply devise flavor combos, packaging and then have a factory make and package the bars.To my mind, if at some point in your business, you have not sat at a table folding bars for hours on end, you just havent earned it!
updated by @hallot-parson: 09/07/15 12:21:49PM
John DePaula
@john-depaula
04/01/09 01:15:35PM
45 posts
To my mind, if at some point in your business, you have not sat at a table folding bars for hours on end, you just havent earned it!.Here, here!
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