To conche or not to conche?

04/18/08 02:00:18PM
54 posts
In the European and North American markets not many make chocolate with no conche, in what could be loosely termed the Mexican vs. European style. Here are two, Claudio Corallo and Taza.Here are a couple of articles that introduce you to what these makers do, and how it is different.Taza on The Chocolate Note (with review,) and Corallo in der SpiegalWhat are your opinions about these chocolates? Have you tried them, and are you interested in this style, or mainly European style chocolate?
updated by @casey: 04/10/15 09:33:28PM
07/04/08 10:01:37AM
251 posts
I didn't like the texture of the Taza 70% bar. It was chalky and crumbly and way too grainy, like white sugar grains. I also didn't like the taste very much, because it was really strong on red wine / red fruit. But I don't really prefer red wine/ red fruit flavor anyway. The flavor seemed a little "wild" too.I rated it 3 out of 10.I guess I like the European style. To conche or not to conche? I say, by all means, conche!
07/04/08 10:13:09AM
42 posts
I spoke with Claudio Corallo's son at the F.F. Show in NY. He talked about not conching. Because his dad is an agronomist and they control every step of the process from growing the trees they believe their cocoa does not need conching. Based on their reasoning that conching dispells the valued flavors of the cocoa and if treated properly they would not have a need to dispell any off flavors since their wouldn't be any. Another process he talked about was drying. The environment is too rainy on Sao Tome so they do not sun dry. They created their own heated drying table.
07/04/08 10:28:28AM
22 posts
A couple of things I do agree with what Corallo said, in that the "Big boys" do control the market, and it is true that excessive conching will destroy flavour. Fermentation is very important, although the article didn't say how long Corallo fermented his, but hinted that it was longer than the typical 3-7 day periods of most producersConching is necessary to give the chocolate it's smoothness. If there's one thing I do not like is chocolate that leaves the roof of my mouth and tongue gritty and rough. I'm also not a big fan of milk chocolate.It's nice to see small, passionate chocolate producers
Clay Gordon
07/06/08 04:27:41PM
1,680 posts
Casey:I like the way you think and ask really interesting questions.There is a lot of chocolate out there in the world that is not conched. In hot climes, an unconched chocolate with large cacao particles and large sugar particles is much more stable at high temperatures. It might go soft but it will not deflate into a gooey mess.When I was in Venezuela I ran across a lot of it from small producers in places like Rio Chico which is in the Barlovento region of Miranda State east of Caracas. When I was in Tapachula, which is in Chiapas state in Mexico, I also came across a lot of unconched chocolate. And, of course, in Belize all of the homemade/handmade chocolate in Mayan families is unconched. One common aspect of these three different locales is a lack of easy access to refrigeration.But then, one must not forget about the Sicilian chocolate makers Antica Dolceria Bonajuto (pronounced bow-nah-you'-toe) and Don Puglisi, among others. I don't know what it is about the town of Modica, but both these companies are making unconched chocolate.Corallo (pronounced co-ral'-oh) has long been known for playing with conching. On the Brut de Sao Tome produced by Pralus, the fermentation times were long (trying to achieve something like 90%+ fermentation levels) with short conche times. So pushing the envelope out to 6, 7, 8 days is probably right. Actual time depends on many factors, including the difference between max daytime temp and min overnight temp.While Corallo may not conche or only a very little, I would be interested in seeing their refining equipment. Although the chocolate is not as smooth as a conched chocolate it is definitely smoother than chocolate that has only been ground once.For me, I like chocolate that challenges my perception of what chocolate can be and taste like. So I really loved Corallo's bar with the raisins that had been soaked in cacao "eau de vie." I got several people to taste that bar with me including Michael Antonorsi of Chuao and Jacques Dahan of Cluizel and they were both very impressed. It's not for everyone - and it's not something I would eat exclusively or even very often - but it was really, really, good. I think the same runs true for these unconched chocolates. I like to try them when I can and do everything I can to appreciate what the chocolate maker is trying to achieve. But they're usually not something I would want to eat regularly. However, I would definitely add them to tasting classes where I thought the participants were up to it.

clay -


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