Forum Activity for @Nat

Nat
@Nat
12/11/15 06:42:57PM
75 posts

Cocoatown ECGC 65-A 65 lb chocolate grinder/conch/refiner/melangeur for sale from Hawaii for $7984


Posted in: Classifieds


Have you ever wanted to become a pro chocolate maker or are you already running a craft bean-to-bar chocolate factory regularly roasting, winnowing, conching, & tempering chocolate bars? This machine will handle 20-65 lbs of cacao nibs or chocolate at a time. This unit grinds or conches from nibs to chocolate liquor, and then with the addition of sugar, cocoa butter, and vanilla, it'll continue to turn it into full fledged chocolate couverture in 2-5 days, depending on the exact recipe and volume. 

This machine is currently sold for over $11,000 new so this is a bargain to get going in craft chocolate making. 

See a video of the Cocoatown ECGC65A in operation

The machine is alternatively called a refiner conch or grinder/melangeur since it refines or grinds the sugar and chocolate particles down to the necessary 20 microns while mixing or melanging the ingredients together into a coherent chocolate whole. This is the machine used by almost all craft bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the US. Join the chocolate making revolution!

This machine is 4 years old, but with a new drum and rollers, the part that determine the quality of the chocolate. It can grind cacao nibs, sugar and optionally cocoa butter and vanilla to finished chocolate in the standard 2-5 days depending on batch size and cocoa butter content. We are selling this unit as we've outgrown it.

The unit is 240 V 3-phase but comes with a 240 V 1-phase to 3-phase frequency converter to change the motor speed for best chocolate grinding. So the machine requires a 240 V 1-phase 8 amp power to run. The machine is all stainless steel & stone externally.

Included in the shipment are:
• Tilting grinder base with motor, gearbox, and belts.
• New grinder drum and stone rollers.
• Frequency converter for variable speed operation with multiple displays of speed (Hz), power draw (amps), and runtime.
• Dongle on 6-ft cord with start, stop, and emergency stop buttons.

Shipping from Oahu, Hawaii to other islands is around $100 and the US mainland can range from $500-900 depending on location. This machine weighs 600 lbs and is 36" x 36" x 61".


00N0N_cT9CUqxOl8Z_600x450.jpg 00N0N_cT9CUqxOl8Z_600x450.jpg - 16KB

updated by @Nat: 12/11/15 06:45:58PM
Nat
@Nat
02/01/14 07:47:06AM
75 posts

Madre Chocolate's cacao boot camp on O'ahu Hawai'i Feb 25-Mar 1, 2014


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Madre Chocolate's cacao boot campis now happening on O'ahu Hawai'i Feb 25-Mar 1, 2014 during the same week as theHawaii Chocolate Festival,Hawaii Chocolate & Cacao Association, and Kailua Cacao Festival soyou can easily come for all three and have a wonderful time with a full week ofchocolate! Evenexperiencedchocolate makers will get a lot out of this by participating hands on and learning to tune the cacaofermentation process so you and the cacao growersyou work with can tune the entire process to get the tastesyou're looking for from fruity, nutty, chocolatey, floral to spicy.

http://www.thechocolatelife.com/events/cacao-chocolate-boot-camp-seed-to-tree-bean-to-bar

http://madrechocolate.com/Classes.html#widget13

Experience Hawaiian Cacao & Chocolate Bootcamp on Oahu
seed to tree/bean to bar

February 25th-March 1st, 2014

Oahu cacao farms, research stations, & chocolate shops

Join us for 5-days in paradise on a journey for chocolate. Practice farm skills in cacao orchards, visit with cacao researchers and farmers, learn about fermentation and drying for cacao, get hands on with bean to bar chocolate. Come out

Do you love chocolate and thirst to learn more about how cacao is grown and made into chocolate? Never tasted the delicious lychee or mangosteen-flavored pulp of the cacao fruit? Want to see how the days-long process of fermenting cacao affects the micro-terroir of the chocolate flavor? This is the perfect tour for you! Were having a cacao boot camp with everyone from Hawaii, mainland, European, and beyond chocolate makers and chocophiles coming out here to experience and learn cacao planting, cultivation, harvest, and fermentation and chocolate making for 5-7 days.

Well introduce you to the cacao growers and fermenters throughout Oahu, an area we call the Napa Valley of cacao due to the amazing diversity of cacao flavors and microclimates in each valley up and down Windward Oahu and the North Shore. Each day well visit, learn, and participate in a different aspect of cacao growing and processing with expert farmers, fermenters, agroforesters, university researchers, and chocolate makers in Hawaiis burgeoning chocolate industry. In the only place in the US where cacao grows, youll have beautiful accommodations near the beaches of Lani Kai and Kailua or famous Waikiki, and youll be driven between each of the spots each day, with time off in the evenings to enjoy all the amazing local food that Kailua and Honolulu has to offer.

Walk into the cacao orchards of Oahu the moment you step off the plane and begin your journey into chocolate making, Hawaiian style.

Itinerary (details may change):

  1. Day 1: Cultivation: Visit a small hillside organic cacao farm on Oahus windward east coast to help plant cacao trees grown along with vanilla, taro, guava, and many other tropical fruits. Well test for ripeness, harvest & crack cacao pods.

  2. Day 2: Fermentation: Oahucacao researchers from academia & industry will show you howfermentation can be tuned to bring out the natural fruity, acidic, aromatic, floral, and spicy flavors of cacao fromdifferent regions of Hawai'i and the world. Optional evening beach trip and group dinner.

  3. Day 3: Value added cacao, roasting, & conching

  4. AM: Morning Farm Trip: We'll visit a long-standing cacao & fruit farm on O'ahu's northeast tip, where cacao grows among bananas, papaya, taro,Passion Fruit, and vanilla in full sun within feet of the beach, and we'll see how this farm is using cacao and all their farm produce to make amazing jams, spreads, drinks, and lunches for their visitors.

  5. PM: Cacao Roasting & Starting a Grind: Chocolate Making Workshop 1. We will begin the process of chocolate making by Roasting cacao together and analyzing the steps and stages of a proper cacao bean roast. Then we will crack and winnow the beans to prepare them for the grinder.

  6. Day 4: Cacao agroforestry, conche completion, & inclusions

  7. AM: Morning Field Trip: We'll visit the experts at the Hawaii Agricultural Research Centerto see how they raise hundreds of cacao seedlings in a shaded nursery, work cacao in with an agroforestry program interspersed with native Koa trees, and how cacao is selected and bred for Hawaii's unique climate.

  8. PM: Chocolate with Inclusions: Chocolate Making Workshop 2. We will check on the progress of our grind begun the afternoon prior and taste farm-specific Hawaiian cacao as fine chocolate. Well practice adding inclusions to tempered chocolate, preparing chocolate molds and pouring bars.

  9. Day 5: tree-to-bar, tempering, wrapping

  10. AM: Morning Farm Trip: Visit and learn about makingchocolatetree-to-bar at the pioneeringLonohana farm on the North Shore within site of the famous Banzai Pipeline surf spot. We'll talk to Lonohana's founder Seneca about how he started a cacao farm on Pupukea's gentle slopes and how he's turning this unique cacao into Hawai'i's newest esteemedchocolate in his Honolulu shop.

  11. PM: Finished Fine Chocolate: Chocolate Making Workshop 3. We will remove our chocolate batch from the grinder, check the micron levels for smoothness, practice with the tempering machine and pour our freshly made chocolate into bars. Once they are set we can wrap them to take home, or eat them!

  12. Catch your plane via our private shuttle van or stay and enjoy the whiskey and chocolate pairing evening.

Your expert guides Dave & Nat have traveled and tasted and researched cacao all across the Hawaiian Islands, Bali, Vietnam, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil over the past 16 years, working with cacao growers,chocolate makers, and chefs. Through thisexperience they will giveyou direct insights andconnections with thepeople who makechocolate part of their lives everyday. Comeexperience the history and creation ofchocolate as you never thought possible.

Price: $1498 for tours, material, food, & transportation, excluding airfare & hotel

Includes:

  1. All Ground Transportation Field Trip, Farm Trips, Sunset Beach Trip, Airport Pick-Up and Departure Drop-Off, Scheduled Program Activities. For best transportation we request that participants stay with our lodging partners.

  2. Breakfast Daily at lodging partner and Lunch Daily with group. Options for vegetarian, vegan and special dietary needs are available upon request.

  3. Raw Materials for Chocolate Making in Program, Field Note Book for Farm Trips, Chocolate for Tasting Sessions and Cacao Pods for fermentation practice.

  4. Workshops, Farm Tours, Facilitators and Instructors, Private Group Transportation and a real fun time.

Does Not Include: Dinner meal, extracurricular tours or side trips, lodging.

Accommodations: We have arranged group rates of $100-200/night for Waikiki (Honolulu) and Windward Oahu hotels that we will send you on receipt of deposit.

Deposit: A deposit of $716 is required to reserve your space. To pay by credit card via paypal, click here:

or call 808-377-6440.

Payment may be made by check mailed to Madre Chocolate at

PO Box 12172

Honolulu HI 96828

with program registration form.

We cant wait to have you join us on this journey from seed to tree to bean to bar!


updated by @Nat: 04/10/15 11:43:52AM
Nat
@Nat
06/13/12 10:37:21PM
75 posts

Road trip to Nashville


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Ultramarinos in Hoboken, NJ

Chocolate Lover's club in Princeton, NJ

Cocova in DC

PotomacChocolate in DC

Esaczu in NC?

SecretChocolatier

2935 Providence Rd
Suite 104
Charlotte NC 28211

for a start. Doyou need suggestionsin NYC as well or doyou know those well already?

Nat
@Nat
05/31/12 05:43:40PM
75 posts

The Malting Process as it Relates to Cacao Fermentation


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I don't think we have to turn to malting as an explanation. It's basically a drying out of the pulp as Jim said, which probablyreduces the anaerobic yeast stage of the fermentation with air gaps opening up in the beans faster. This would lead to a faster take over of the aerobic bacteria and a faster heating of the pile.

I think it can have a lot to do with the variety, as thin-walled Criollo may dry out too fast and no longer be good for a ferment, whereas the other varieties can benefit from sitting for a bit.

I agree with Seneca that grains have sugary starchy endosperm as the majority of their seed, whereas the cotelydons that make up the majority of cacao seeds do not have all these stored sugars, one of the reasons they have to be planted within a week of harvest and can't stored to keep them viable like grains. This is true of many tropical seeds that depend on germinating very quickly and not survivingthrough a winter with the stored sugars before having proper conditions to germinate. Without those stored sugars, there's nothing to malt!

Thanks for stimulating the interesting discussion, Tom! This aspect of fermentation needs to be talked about more.

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
04/23/12 06:25:33PM
75 posts

Makeshift Tempering Machine


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

a magnetic stirrer as I know from labs I've worked in will not stir thechocolate very well. You need to make sureyou get all thechocolate off the walls on each stir as most tempering machines do, whereas a magnetic stirrer is a short ~1" bar that will only stir a small area in the bottom center of viscouschocolate.

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
04/20/12 10:02:12AM
75 posts

Cacao farm tours to Hawaii's Big Island & Oahu and Mexico's Oaxaca & Chiapas


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

We are trying to plan a cacao farm &traditionalchocolate tours to Mexico & Hawaii in the next few months that many ofyou have asked for from our experience working in both places, and we want to tailor the trips toyour exactchocolate wants & needs, so ifyou have a second, please fill out this short survey for us so we can make it thechocolate tripyou have really dreamed of:

updated by @Nat: 04/11/15 12:12:41PM
Nat
@Nat
04/13/12 03:51:02PM
75 posts

Photography


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Check this great New York Times blog on food photography for some excellent tips. Not specific tochocolate, but should be helpful regardless. For the shininess you just have to have a super well tempered bar, preferably one that was just tempered within a day.

I shot in just natural light next to a window late in the afternoon when the sun was at a lower angle to get some interesting shadows.

Nat
@Nat
04/06/12 06:35:30AM
75 posts

Sugar crystal not breaking down in Melanguer after 24 hrs


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

In general it's best to pre-powder the sugar in a vitamix, coffee grinder, or other high powered blender. It is much harder than cacao and is therefore hard to breakdown.

What melangeur doyou have?

Nat
@Nat
03/19/12 08:54:28PM
75 posts

Advice from Mol D'art


Posted in: Uncategorized

Hi Stu,

Argh! That's a pain! Canyou hire an electrician and charge Mol D'art? I have done some wiring and electronics so perhaps I could see something wrong ifyou sent me a photo of the board where power is coming in, but it's hard unlessyou can test voltages indifferent areas. Might just have to wait till the next time I come down toNew Zealand to visit but not sure yet when that'll be!

The main thingyou have to be careful of when playing with electronics/electrical supplies isdefinitely unplug everything beforeyou open it up but also avoid large capacitors which look likethis, and need to be discharged with a plastic handled screwdriverbefore working in their vincinity as they can store charge even when unplugged.

But Mol D'Art should be jumping to fix this, not askingyou to delve into their shoddy machinery!

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
03/15/12 09:08:50AM
75 posts

How Chocolate Gets Its Taste - A Presentation and a Request


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Nice presentation Clay! That picture at the end is amazing of the wild (?) cacoa in Beni! Is that all the trunks of the cacao?

Willyou release the audio recording? It'd be interesting to fill in some of the gaps in the slides, e.g.you mention the Maillard reaction at the beginning which is key to understand but I didn't see mention of it later. I betyou described something about it. I'd also like to hear the 3 cautionary tales.

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
03/15/12 01:34:38AM
75 posts

Any great tasting raw chocolate?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Brian,

The thing is very fewpeople makebean-to-bar "raw"chocolate aside from Pacari, Gnosis on specialLimited Edition Bars, and us occasionally. Don't know if anyone's coming from anywhere in the states, Ecuador, or Hawaii (for ours) where they can find theseto Peru, but at leastyou know know which to aim for.

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
03/11/12 07:08:22PM
75 posts

Can sugar bloom be reversed?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Whenyou sayyou don't have air conditioning, and ifyou're in Mumbai, that makes me suspicious thatyouprobably have humidity mroe than 50% which makes tempering properly nearly impossible. I noticed this even in New York in the summers where I'd been tempering finethrough the winter, but when June hit with it's humidity everything I'd been doing the same all along stopped working. I put a little air conditioner in my kitchen and everything went back to normal as before.

If there's anywayyou can AC a small area whereyou temper this will help immensely, and still use the fridge for the final cooling after molding.

Humidity seems to be the biggest thing thatpeople ignore when tempering since it's not somethingyou think about with other kinds of cooking so much.

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
03/10/12 11:12:11PM
75 posts

Raw Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Kat,

Please read the many posts on this exact topic here before askingpeople to repeat their responses.

Nat
@Nat
03/06/12 04:04:26AM
75 posts

Chocolate maker wanted


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Tom,

You do understand that making good or even passablechocolate bars from cocoa powder cake andcocoa butter is very difficult in that by pressing out thecocoa butter you've deconstructed the bean and thechocolate maker then has to try to reconstruct it, right? It's like saying to someone, "Here, I have this apple juice and apple fiber. Canyou please make me the most delicious crunchy apple from these?" Doesn't work and is why much of the large scale manufacturers'chocolate tastes nothing like the artisanalchocolates discussed here.

You'd help show the great qualities ofyour cacao much better ifyou did a great ferment on it and handed that to an experiencedchocolate maker, and then give the finishedchocolate back to everyone down the line from the cacao grower, fermenter, to coop buyers, etc. so they can see what effect the changes in their practices has on the finishedchocolate and how they can improve it.

my 4 (accounting for inflation)

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
02/19/12 09:36:14PM
75 posts

Decaffeinated chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Eric,

The webpage mentioned onyour blog is correct in some ways (chocolate's main stimulant is theobromine, not caffeine) but wrong in many other ways (chocolate does contain minimalamounts of caffeine, mateine in caffeine is NOT a stereoisomer of caffeine as that is chemically impossible, like saying the mirror image of a chair is totally different from the original chair) so take what it says with a grain of salt.

So the main stimulant inchocolate is theobromine, but not everyone responds to it as much as caffeine. In one study only 2 out of 20people could feel any difference from fakechocolate bars made with and without theobromine. It's more likely that the stimulant effect of mostchocolate comes from the sugar inchocolate bars (~30% in good darkchocolate and up to 50%or more in milkchocolate) and the other minor psychoactive compounds inchocolate like phenylethylamine (like the street drug MDMA), serotonin, cannabinoids, dopamine precursors, tryptamine, beta-carboline alkaloids, and more. So taking the caffeine and theobromine out ofchocolate may not really reduce it's stimulating effects,though it may helppeople who are alergic to these similar alkaloids.

Given that, it may be possible to decaffeinate and detheobrominate cacao using the standard water or dimethylchlorate techniquesthough I wonder if the fact that more of the flavor compounds in cacao are water soluble vs. the more oil soluble flavors of coffee, if these techniques based on the solvent's polarity would take out more of thecacao's flavor than just the caffeine & theobromine. It would take some seriousexperimenting!

-Nat

____________________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
11/12/11 04:25:28AM
75 posts

Need an Internship....Any suggestions??


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Which San Jose?

San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose, California

San Jose,Peru

San Jose, Guatemala?

Near San Jose, CA there's Recchiuti, Dandelion Chocolate, Bittersweet Cafe, Sokola (http://www.socolachocolates.com/contact.html), and several more.

Nat
@Nat
10/04/11 05:28:21AM
75 posts

Has anyone used "chocolate factory in a box"


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

The temperer at least looks like a Selmi which is a great machine, the cadillac as everyone says. Those are about $20K on their own depending on the add ons. Not sure how to price all the other pieces of this package and whether they really add up to $30K more (38K Euro = ~$50K).

I haven't used any of these specific products or the companies products, just seen the Selmi in action.

-Nat

____________________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate Flavormeister
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
08/08/11 08:18:12AM
75 posts

News Covers Madre Chocolate's Xoconusco Success


Posted in: News & New Product Press

We're getting into the final hours of our campaign and we're so close we can almost taste it... the delicious, rich, fruity, creamy royal Aztec Xoconuscochocolate bars! But these bars can only become a reality if we make it all the way to 100% funding in the next 7 days. We're just past 72% funded so tellyour friends, tellyour family, tell your neighbors, tell strangers that if they want great tasting, original &traditionalchocolate made with direct trade cacao grown organically by Mayan farmers in Chiapas, they need to back this project soon!

And remember, it's not just donating money to help Chiapas farmers whose ancestors helped invent chocolateget organic certification, get better fermenting equipment, preserve their traditionalchocolate recipes & rare endangered spices, and bring this authentic traditional chocolate to the rest of the world, but for your backing you also get tons of great rewards like super rare bars we'll make from the first hand-roasted batch of Xoconusco cacao and hard-to-find spices, bars designed specifically toyour wants and needs, and privatechocolate classes. These delicious limited edition bars are worth the donation alone!

In fact, in a tasting we took part in at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association meeting in Washington DC on July 9th before the Fancy Food Show with our first limited run Xoconuscochocolate bars made with the aromatic maple-scented Oaxacan spicerosita de cacao

and carefully selected cocoa beans hand roasted on a traditional ceramiccomalgriddle in Chiapas,

we received unanimous praise from attendees.

Our Rosita de cacao Xoconusco chocolate, made in only 2 weeks bean to bar, waitingforexpectant tasters at theFine Chocolate Industry Association meeting in DC, along with other great Latin Americanchocolates.

Even stacked up against such renowned finechocolate makers as Bonnat, Valrhona, Amano, Felchlin, and Pacari thatthe tasting organizer, the famous Cuban chef Maricel Presilla,had deftly arranged in a historical and geographic order from cacao & chocolate's origins in South and Central America, people including the founder of DagobaChocolate were waxing on, even with their small sample, about how much they loved the delicate aroma of therositawith the fine, smooth, and fruity taste of the Aztec Royal Criollo cacao-basedchocolate. They were wondering when they could get full bars of our chocolate into their stores and mouths. Butyou can have several bars of this rarechocolate before any of the chocerati that were at the meeting if we can get to 100% backing in 7 more days.

It's not just the best chocolate makers and tasters in the country, but the local news in Hawaii is also excited about our project as both a way to get local sustainable economies rejuvenated in both Chiapas and Hawaii, and as way to jumpstart the world ofchocolate makers in Hawaii since we will use a small part of the kickstarter funds to be some of the first people to bring medium scalechocolate-making equipment to Hawaii. Right now it's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem withchocolate here- no one wants to plant a ton of cacao since there's no equipment to process it on the islands, and no one wants to bring in the equipment since there's not enough cacao grown here currently to keep the equipment busy. This recentHonolulu Magazine articleexplains a bit of that issue and how we've been building up the equipment bit by bit, and supplementing the growing Hawaiian cacao production with modest shipments from Latin America. Imminent Hawaii food writerMartha Cheng's article inHonolulu Weeklydescribes how we and some other local small food businesses are using Kickstarter to get things started right.

And that's whereyou all come in- helping us getchocolate started right, with a sense of history, ethics, sustainability, locality, and most of all, deliciousness. So please spread the word to anyoneyou can to help us and the Mexican cacao farmers bringyou great tastingchocolate by backing our campaign. We hope to sendyou some of those tasty results in only 7 days!


updated by @Nat: 04/09/15 11:56:41AM
Nat
@Nat
08/01/11 05:46:32AM
75 posts

Tales from Chocolate Mecca: Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Hi Ice Blocks,

Yes, the mamey seeds have to be carefully roasted to detoxify them of the cyanide that makes them smell so wonderfully almondy. Mexicans and Guatemalans do this differently but both involve some combo of roasting, drying, and boiling that we're still getting the hang of. Because of the cyanogenic compounds, I wouldn't want to adviseyou incorrectly how to do this. Get a book like Diana Kennedy's Oaxaca al Gusto for detailed directions.

Nat
@Nat
07/24/11 01:27:45PM
75 posts

Tales from Chocolate Mecca: Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

An update on Dave & Nat's research forMadre Chocolate in Oaxaca, Mexico....

After the success of finding exactly the right delicious cacao in Xoconusco, Chiapas to make you all hundreds of bars of Royal Aztec Chocolate, our trip to Oaxaca state was an even bigger success, where we located great sources for Vanilla from its geographic origins in Chinantla,Rosita de Cacaoflowers and the foamed chocolate drinkTejatethey are used to make, tons of niftymolinillofoaming sticks, plumeria flower infusedbupufoamed drinks in Juchitan, and plenty of other chocolate drinks and preparations wherever we turned. As soon as you enter Oaxaca city you are struck by the wonderful rich smell of chocolate drinks likechampurrado, mole vendors in each market, and cacao grinders on practically every corner, grinding up ingredients for chocolate recipes to your specifications. Though there is almost no cacao grown in Oaxaca state, this is truly the Mecca for traditional chocolate use and where the idea for starting Madre Chocolate was sparked.

The most common form in which you see chocolate in Oaxaca is inmole. There are many kinds ofmole(at least 8 in Oaxaca alone) with different colors, spices, and bases, but the one most known outside of Mexico and the one with chocolate,mole poblanomeaning it is amolethat comes from the state of Puebla. It usually has roasted chilis, roastedpumpkin seeds, tomatoes, raisins, almonds, garlic, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, and many other indigenous Mexican spices. To make a mole base, you can spend hours toasting, peeling, and grinding cacao and other spices or you can go to one of the plethora of these cacao grinding shops:

Where you can just tell them what amounts of cacao, cinnamon, cloves, and almonds you want ground together and they'll do it for you in a few minutes for a tiny charge. The Soledad shop I talked to said they grind about 400 lbs a week on their machines and they have to redress the grinding stones each week! The smell in these shops is absolutely heavenly for any chocophile, and you can get plenty of chocolate drink bases (with the rich cocoa butter still in there, not just cocoa powder) to satisfy your chocolate cravings by making something like this excellentchampurradowith corn, water, and loads of rich chocolate:

Another part of our chocolate that was inspired by Oaxaca aside from the company idea was our Amaranth Crunch bar, based on the Alegria bars that are easily found in any market or street corner vendors. Alegrias are like rice crispy treats made most commonly from the popped healthy supergrain amaranth mixed with honey but also can be found made from pumpkin seeds, puffed corn, sesame seeds, peanuts, or a blend of all the above. Collect the whole set like we did pictured here in a small market in SE Oaxaca city in front of a tasty glass of horchata, a delicious and refreshing drink made from rice milk, almonds and cinnamon.

When Dave was living in Oaxaca last year he so loved snacking on the healthy & tasty amaranth alegrias that he was decided we just had to make a chocolate bar with the popped amaranth. Amaranth is the north American relative of quinoa, both supergrains in the spinach and beet family that have a complete set of amino acids, unlike regular grains like rice, corn, and wheat in the grass family which need to be mixed with legumes to have a complete set of Amina acids. Because of its nutritiousness, amaranth was a staple crop of the Aztecs that the Spanish conquistadors unfortunately outlawed since they thought its use in making temple sculptures was sacrilegious. This outlawing of their staple food possibly contributed to the downfall of the Aztecs and its use and growth now are supposedly at about 1/10th the levels at the height of the Aztec empire! We met the great group Puente de la Salud Comunitaria who are working in Oaxaca to encourage the replanting and use of this great food. It's a beautiful ornamental to boot that grows easily intemperate North America, Hawaii, andMexico (as pictured here at the gorgeous lush Oaxaca ethnobotanical garden).

TheOaxaca ethnobotanical garden is the only solely ethnobotanical garden we've ever seen or heard of in the world and it's a stunning celebration of all food, medicinal, dye, and psychoactive plants of the West Coast of Mexico. Another plan that was great to see there was therosita de cacao, flor de cacao, cacahuaxochitl,orpoyomatli, an incredibly heady smelling flower said to be redolent of maple syrup, fenugreek, and curry. Here a vendor in the vastAbastosmarket sells rosita de cacao along with several of the other spices used to make the delicious foamed drinktejate, likepixtleor the seed of the mamey sapote fruit, cloves, jaguar cacao, and regular cacao:

Just around the corner from the spice and flower vendors, you can find women selling the white foamytejate,which theyve been mixing and foaming all day with sticks or tools calledmolinillo(little grinder) that are like low-tech hand blenders and were introduced by the Spaniards centuries ago where they quickly supplanted the Mayan foaming technique of pouring back and forth between to vessels from a height of several feet. Themolinillosyou can find in Abastos market as well, in nearly a million sizes and configurations:

The foam stirred up by themolinillocomes from the combination of the fat from the cacao beans, calcified jaguar cacao, and some of the spices. This foam is what most people in Mexico enjoy most about chocolate drinks. When you are served this drink in the beautifuljicara(painted calabash fruit shells) you can see at this vendors stand, you actually mainly get a bowl of foam that you eat with a spoon, not a liquid. I like to say that the indigenous Mesoamericans were making high-tech foams with keen plant chemistry thousands of years before the new rash of molecular gastronomists like Ferran Adria and Grant Achatz, who are obsessed with foams, were even born. This white foamy drink is a bit chalky at first from the calcified jaguar cacao, but the flavor and aroma are so addictive that you find yourself craving this foam that is like breathing in chocolate laced with the beautiful scent of the Oaxacan air.

These great flavor combinations and spices unknown outside of this area of Mexico are what we are trying to bring to the rest of the world with chocolate bars like ourrosita de cacaobar made with Xoconusco cacao. With all of your incredible help backing us and spreading the word, weve gotten over halfway to our $15,000 project funding goal in just 1/2 the time allotted. Wed love it if you could continue to tell your friends, family, and coworkers who lovedeliciousartisanal chocolate or like supporting organic farmers about our project so we can make the final push to fund our project before the deadline in 20 days and get all those chocolate bar rewards out to you!

In our next update wellcover the last part of Oaxaca- Juchitan where they make the mythical bu'pu chocolate drink with the super fragrant plumeria or flor de mayo flower, commonly found in Hawaii leis, and how our Xoconusco chocolate withrosita de cacaowas a smash hit at the Fine Chocolate Industry Association meeting in Washington DC last weekend. Stay tuned for more great updates!


updated by @Nat: 04/09/15 06:28:40AM
Nat
@Nat
07/24/11 01:21:40PM
75 posts

world map of cocoa producing countries


Posted in: Chocolate Education

HI Melanie,

I've made one that might be high resolution enough, depending on how bigyou want it.

-Nat

____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
07/20/11 02:50:37AM
75 posts

Chocolate Rice


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hi Stu,

What about pushing tempered chocolate through a ricer or sieve, and cutting it with knife when the drippings are about rice sized.

I'd say you could drop it into cold water to solidify it instantly into the proper sized pieces, but that would of course mess up the temper.

If you could figure out how the pasta Orzo are made, if there's a mold for that, could be adaptable to making white chocolate rice. If none of these work, might be worth getting a vacuform setup for a few hundred $ and just using rice grains as the positive for the mold.

I'm in Thailand now and just met the King's palace manager in Isan whose daughters are in Auckland studying right next to you! I should send them over to see you. We're going to try to help them grow good cacao varieties up here, so look for some tasty Thai chocolate (with lemongrass) in the next few years!

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate R&D

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
07/17/11 09:10:03AM
75 posts

Insurance


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We just went through this and it took several months to get a simple quote out of a company. You're supposed to go to an insurance consolidator or broker who then shops your requirements around to different companies for the best quote. You could try someone like Pyramid Insurance orhttp://www.mutualunderwriters.com/.

They'll ask you all kinds of questions about your company like income, employees, equipment, etc. to get you an appropriate quote.

Good luck!

Nat
@Nat
09/16/11 06:10:56AM
75 posts

The High Cost of Certification


Posted in: Opinion

Here is the thesis in English by Lao honors studentBounthavivanh Mixap (aka Vanh) that Clay mentioned foryou to read in its entirety. Vanh has requested thatpeople email her atmiznui <at> yahoo <dot> com if they have any questions about her thesis.

I think Vanh's excellent thesis this brings a reallyimportant light to the issues with fair trade that Clay, Sunita and others have brought up on these forums. In helping with some plantings of cacao in Lao, I am hoping to assist in setting up a more equitable direct trade model, or a model wherepeople in Lao are making their ownchocolate right there where it grows.

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate Flavormeister

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
05/17/11 09:44:34AM
75 posts

Farmers' markets and other mobile options


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Thanks for the tip, Clay. I've made some molds with silicone but the compound always comes in garish colors of purple or blue and as nothing sticks to silicone, trying to paint this is impossible. Paint peels right off. The mold companies won't explain how to color silicone to your preferred color. They'll do it for you if you order 50 lbs of mold compound but I don't need 500 sample bars!

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
05/15/11 05:36:02AM
75 posts

Farmers' markets and other mobile options


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We sellchocolate bars every week at 2 localfarmers markets in Hawaii. Temp control isdefinitely an issue, especially in the summers in Hawaii. We keep all the bars in a cooler with ice packs, put dummy bars out on display (cardboard wrapped in foil & labels) that won't melt, and keep smallamounts of samples in sampler trays with ice underneath.

A bigger problem for us is that we want to display our beautiful molds, but unless we can make them out of some other material that won't melt in the heat, that's not possible.

If anyone has figured out a somewhat durable material that is also food safe and they feel comfortable putting in theirchocolate molds their using for other things, please, let us know!

Nat
@Nat
05/06/11 09:08:32AM
75 posts

Why not heat your chocolate pouring room?


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

We were just randomly throwing out ideas today here in Hawaii while makingchocolate, and we wondered why don'tpeople heat the room their temperedchocolate is poured in to the appropriate 88-92 F temp so that one doesn't have to worry about the molds being the wrong temp and shocking thechocolate, andyou also wouldn't need to worry about the batch ofchocolateyou have tempered cooling and becoming too thick to pour, and ifyou had a depositor,you wouldn't have to worry as much about thechocolate solidifying in the pipes & hoses.

We're not suggesting tempering in such a room since it would be hard to cool thechocolate on the downslope to 80 F, butyou could move the temperedchocolate bowl to a 90 room once it was tempered where the molds were waiting to be filled.

This may also not be easy in temperate places wherechocolate is usually made, but it'd be pretty easy in tropical areas like here in Hawaii! You could even have the exhaust of the AC for the tempering room feed into the heated molding room to save energy on both ends.

Let me know if youknow a good reason this wouldn't work.

Thanks,

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate

updated by @Nat: 04/09/15 10:05:54AM
Nat
@Nat
04/24/11 06:47:33AM
75 posts

Fermentation Troubleshooting


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Sometimes ifyou're fermenting a smallamount the heat of the pile is not enough to keep the temperature up high enough for proper fermentation or there are not the airborne yeast and bacteria in a region to passively inoculate it. Active inoculation can help in both these instances.

We see improper fermentation in Hawaiian cacao all the time as we are straddling the 20 latitude where cacao is normally grown and fermented, so it gets too cool here at night to continue the fermentation except with large commercial batches. Therefore these backup measures of inoculation and added heat are necessary, and it seems like Ning has come up against the same thing.

But I did forget to ask, Ning, how much areyou trying to ferment at once?

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
04/19/11 06:37:03AM
75 posts

Fermentation Troubleshooting


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Selamat malam Ning,

live yogurt and vinegar mothers have the live lactobacteria and acetobacteria that are essential for good fermentation in addition to yeast and are totally different from yeast, in a different kingdom of living organisms. Yeast take sugars and turn them into alcohol, while lactobacteria take sugars and turn them to lactic acid and acetobacteria create acetic acid (vinegar). Usually, all these microorganisms can land on the fermenting cacao beans from the air or the outside of the cacao pods, adding to part of the terroir taste of the cacao, but if they are not abundant oryour fermentation is not working for other reasons, it's good to add these.

I would throw out the germinated seeds, yes. They can be quite bitter in comparison to the non-germinated seeds as the embryo has started to convert sugars into other compounds it needs to grow.

-Nat

____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
04/19/11 03:48:07AM
75 posts

Fermentation Troubleshooting


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hi Ning,

Areyou picking the pods soon after they ripen (when nicking the skin reveals no green underneath) or letting them blacken? The beans shouldn't germinate that easily during fermentation if they haven't started beforehand.

Also try raising the temp to 45 C in the first few days of fermentation, turn every day, and inoculate with aceto and lacto-bacteria from vinegar mothers and live yogurt cultures if possible.

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
04/13/11 07:26:00AM
75 posts

Madre Chocolate online shop is now open


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks to Clay for posting this on his DiscoverChocolate Daily News!

Madre Chocolate Online Store is open
Enjoy our made-in-Hawai'i and locally sourced Amaranth Crunch, Triple Cacao, Pink Peppercorn & Kiawe Smoked Salt, Hibiscus, Chipotle Allspice, and Hawaiian and Costa Rican 70% chocolate bars available all over the US, Canada, Mexico, and 14 other countries.

We've already sent out hundreds of bars over the last few weeks to beta testers from our online shopand the reviews have been unanimously glowing for the packaging, flavors, and quality of the stone ground chocolate! If you want to spread the word and include your friends in the pleasures of eating gourmet Hawaiian-made chocolate, please let them know about our shop. Please come back often as we're always developing new flavors.

Let us know ifyou have questions about the shop or are setting up something similar and we'd be happy to offer our advice on how we did it, and the pros and cons of some of the different online shops we've looked at.

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate

updated by @Nat: 04/11/15 10:42:54AM
Nat
@Nat
03/10/11 01:00:03AM
75 posts

Need help with Jordanian flavor ideas!


Posted in: Opinion

Used in Jordan,Lebanon, Israel and many other mediterranean countries, Zatar is a herb mixture of usually hyssop (a mint relative), sumac, oregano, and a few other variable spices. Might be worth playing with something like this or a variant of it inchocolate.You canprobably find it at most local Middle Eastern food suppliers.

Hope that helps!

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
02/28/11 07:41:14PM
75 posts

Hawaiian cacao and chocolate in the news


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks, Brad! Hopefully someday we can achieve a fraction of the great thingsyou've done withchocolate!

Come out and visit us sometime in Oahu!

We almost got a bar ofyourchocolate here, but our "messenger" from Calgary ate it all enroute since it was so good, and all we got were the cool looking packaging!

Nat
@Nat
02/28/11 05:36:34AM
75 posts

Hawaiian cacao and chocolate in the news


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Here a nice article in theHonolulu Weekly that mentions The Chocolate Life as "the facebook of chocolate";Kokoleka O'Ka 'Aina, started by Seneca, a regular on The Chocolate Life; us atMadre Chocolate,and other new goings on with cacao and chocolate in Hawaii, including the Hawaii Chocolate Festival that just happened yesterday which was a blast. Hope some of you were able to make it there!

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate R&D

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com


updated by @Nat: 04/11/15 01:29:15PM
Nat
@Nat
02/28/11 05:42:49AM
75 posts

Stone Grinder for Raw Chocolate


Posted in: Make Mine Raw ...

The melanger from Cocoatown is much sturdier than the current production of Santha grinders which constantly bust their bearings, have belts burn up, or motors burn out as grindingchocolate in them is not what they were designed to do. We've been using Santhas full time for 9 months and they have had to have almost every piece replaced, starting with only the 3rd batch ofchocolate we ground in them. The cocoatowns seems to get a much smoother (lower micron size) grind in them as well.

We don't own any cocoatowns yet, but I have seen them in action often, and tasted thechocolate coming out of them and it is much nicer.

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate R&D

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
01/27/11 10:56:07PM
75 posts

Marketing Ideas


Posted in: Opinion

Some additional ideas:

-Twitter

-email newsletters that are courteous (allow unsubscription from a link in the email)

-contests that getpeople involved and coming back

- tours & classes

-Nat
____________________
Nat Bletter, PhD
Chocolate R&D
Madre Chocolate
Nat
@Nat
01/21/11 03:57:21PM
75 posts

Wet grinders in the U.K


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Hi Andal,

Thanks for posting this info for us. Can you tell us where to find info aboutyour roaster, cracker, and mini pregrinder as I couldn't find any mention of those on the cocoatown.com website.

Thanks,

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate R&D

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
02/16/11 10:40:30PM
75 posts

Marañon Chocolate - Cacao Thought to Be Extinct Found in Peru


Posted in: Chocolate Education

Yep, thatdefinitely looks like Theobroma bicolor a sister species of cacao that is used in Central and South America. It goes by the names patashte (Aztec/Nahuatl), balamte (Mayan), cacao del tigre, cacao blanco, cacao del jaguar, and macambo in South America. The fruit is not as nice and sweet as cacao but it is mainly used for the seeds either grilled and eaten straight as nuts in S. America, or in drinks like Tejate in combination with cacao and other flavorings in Oaxaca, Mexico.

There are many other species of Theobromawe cover in our book chapter

Bletter, N. and D. Daly. 2006. " Cacao and its relatives in South America: An overview of taxonomy, ecology, biogeography, chemistry, and ethnobotany" in Cameron L. McNeil ed. Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao, University Press of Florida.

that have minor uses. The most commonly used other species iscupuau, Theobroma grandiflorum, which is mainly used for its fragrant pulp in smoothies in Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru.

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate R&D

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
01/04/11 07:22:43AM
75 posts

Aloha! Our bitter tasting product needs some guidance to turn tasty!


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Any added water that may not cook out could lower the shelf life as it provides an environement in which bacteria can survive. Is it the sugar or cacao granules that are not melting? If it's the sugar, try grinding it to a powder in a coffee grinder or powerful blender. Don't use commercial powdered sugar as this has corn powder in it to reduce caking.

Coconut oil or other stable vegetable oils will soften the product without diluting the cacao taste too much. It would be best if you could grind the cacao, kava, sugar, and butter together with a stone grinder like a Santha which many people on the Big Island use to make chocolate bars.

Faerie's Finest has good organic and food grade citrus oils.

How do you deal with the possible intestinal distress from ingesting whole kava powder instead of the water extraction as it is used traditionally?

Nat
@Nat
01/10/11 05:17:07PM
75 posts

Tempering raw chocolate


Posted in: Make Mine Raw ...

People who are making tempered "raw" chocolate are probably using agave powder not syrup. The temp is driven up during conching to about 115-120 depending on your machine and the temp controls you have on it, so I don't believe this is high enough to drive off the amount of water in agave syrup.

What do you mean the coconut sugar wouldn't "break down" due to temperature? You don't want the sugar to melt during processing, but rather be ground very fine. You can do this before adding it to chocolate by grinding it to powdered sugar consistency in a coffee grinder or a high-powered blender.

I prefer to call "raw" chocolate unroasted chocolate instead since the magic temp for raw is 115 F which is almost always exceeded in cacao fermentation unless someone is very explicitly controlling the temp as they discuss at places like Big Tree farm. There is no certification for raw so any manufacturer can slap the raw label on any product they want without running afoul of the law. There has been some problems certifying that raw cocoa powder is actually not processed above 115 in the last year.

-Nat

____________________

Nat Bletter, PhD

Chocolate R&D

Madre Chocolate

http://madrechocolate.com

Nat
@Nat
01/04/11 07:13:12AM
75 posts

Tempering raw chocolate


Posted in: Make Mine Raw ...

As mentioned in the other post David links to, you won't be able to temper if you use any sweeteners like agave syrup that contain significant amounts of water, and coconut oil will also cause problems since it melts at a much lower temperature than cocoa butter. Coconut sugar would be your best bet as a sweetener for still being able to temper. There is agave powder but it is mostly inulin, which is an indigestible sugar that your gut flora love, producing a lot of gas. I don't think anyone would want gassy chocolate!
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