Forum Activity for @Alan McClure

Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
05/23/10 02:41:19PM
73 posts

"Cocoa and Chocolate Their History from Plantation to Consumer"


Posted in: Chocolate Education

IMO all of Arthur Knapp's books on cacao/cocoa and chocolate are worth reading.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
05/04/10 10:02:36AM
73 posts

Tempering Raw Chocolate


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

Sorry,I didn't notice that you used Agave syrup. Can you give us the whole formulation? As has been mentioned, this complicates things, so before trying to trouble-shoot tempering, I'd like to see how much moisture you likely have in the mix.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
05/03/10 11:31:01AM
73 posts

Tempering Raw Chocolate


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

What do you mean by: "tried to temper raw chocolate at 115 F today?"Chocolate will not be tempered at 115 F. Can you explain the exact process that you used? It will then be easy to trouble shoot that way.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
04/07/10 08:50:13AM
73 posts

molding


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

To have a larger spot you'll need less contraction of the finished piece. Less contraction means having more cocoa butter crystals and less fluid cocoa butter in the tempered chocolate prior to molding. You can push this pretty far, but you may need to increase the rate at which the pieces are cooled, or, due to the additional stable crystals, solidification may happen so quickly that the latent heat of crystallization that is released will not be able to be effectively removed, and you could end up with temper issues.In simple terms, create a "more tempered" chocolate prior to molding. It will me more viscous or "thicker." See how that works for you. Just be sure to have efficient cooling.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/25/10 09:05:23AM
73 posts

Cacao Info Resources?


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

Nothing like this exists that I have ever seen. Cacao/chocolate is many decades behind wine, but maybe you can start to pull one together over time. Still, I've never seen any real detailed information on terroir in different cacao-growing countries.Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
02/04/10 05:07:41PM
73 posts

Dealing with mold release marks


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

I'm not saying anything here that hasn't been said, but I can also assure you that the molds are the problem.With properly-tempered chocolate molded into relatively warm (i.e. near the chocolate temperature), heavy-duty, injection-molded molds, and cooled properly, you will have none of the marks that are bothering you. With the thin molds that you are using, you'll never get rid of them.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
02/03/10 11:04:04AM
73 posts

Dealing with mold release marks


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

What kind of molds do you have? Thin/flexible, or rigid?Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
01/25/10 08:32:04AM
73 posts

Amedei Distribution


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Amedei no longer has distribution through its former US distributor. Until they figure out a new distribution model, you will likely see their products less and less.I have heard that some stores are importing directly, and Chocosphere might do that as well. I'd email Jerry and ask.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
10/27/09 04:32:33PM
73 posts

Tips for pairing chocolate and whisky?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hello,This might help:http://patric-chocolate.blogspot.com/2009/05/single-malt-scotch-whisky-fine.htmlAny of the Madagascar chocolates from Akesson, Pralus, or Cluizel would share some characteristics with the Patric Chocolate 67% Madagascar that I used.Best,Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
05/08/09 08:57:58AM
73 posts

The C-Spot Chocolate Rating Site Online Soon


Posted in: Tasting Notes

It isn't online anymore apparently.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
04/12/09 08:45:31AM
73 posts

Why posh chocolate is recession-proof


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I don't see any segregation in the FDA language for chocolate between "solids and fats."The FDA certainly talks about fat percentages, but it isn't clear that they are, therefore, saying that fat is not a solid. The clearest language that I've seen, which admittedly doesn't use the term "cocoa solid," is:"chocolate liquor is the solid or semiplastic food prepared by finely grinding cacao nibs. The fat content of the food may be adjusted by adding one or more of the optional ingredients specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section to the cacao nibs. chocolate liquor contains not less than 50 percent nor more than 60 percent by weight of cacao fat as determined by the method prescribed in 163.5(b)."http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/SCRIPTs/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=163.111&SearchTerm=chocolateFor context, the optional ingredients referred to here are cocoa butter and cocoa powder. The chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and all, is referred to as a "solid food." So, unless anyone else can add FDA legalese that impacts the matter, the US definition doesn't seem to contradict what Sam has noted from the EU definitions.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/21/09 06:25:10AM
73 posts

Cleaning polycarbonate molds.


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

I agree that deionized water is a good choice, especially for rinsing. If you do wash with soap, make sure to use one with no added abrasives (you may need to call the manufacturer), and that has a pH of as close to 7 as possible. Also, don't use water that is too hot. Polycarbonate is still able to absorb moisture, and will if the water is too hot. This will greatly reduce the life of the molds by weakening them.If you rinse with deionized water, you won't need to dry with cotton or anything else, simply shake dry, as DIAA notes, and then invert on a dish rack.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/11/09 08:47:15AM
73 posts

Molding Chocolate


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

My pleasure. Glad I could help.Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/10/09 10:35:22PM
73 posts

Molding Chocolate


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

John,I fear that my following post comes across as me lecturing, which is not my intent in the least. I know that you are as versed in chocolate tempering physics as I am, and perhaps more so. The lengthy diatribe is for Lemm's sake, and is hopefully helpful to him. There are some parts that are relevant to what you typed above, however, so I am "replying" to you.Begin:Right, as Wybauw says, extreme cooling--either too cold or for too long--will lead to unstable crystal types and, therefore, bloom, but Wybauw also recommends cooling molded chocolate at temperatures approaching 40 F and with large volumes of air--not an exact quote. I'm not recommending extreme cooling, and I don't think that Lemm would necessarily need temperatures approaching 40 F. This is especially the case since Wybauw is talking about a production environment where there would likely be a lot of thermal mass in chocolate and molds that would have to be cooled at once, and Lemm is probably only dealing with a few molds.It still sounds to me like this is a cooling issue based upon Lemm's following comments:1) it snaps and looks good when spread on a thin piece of wax paper--probably in contact with the top of a counter, which would cool it more effectively through direct contact. Molds keep chocolate up off of additional solid objects like counters and one must depend upon the convection of the air to do the cooling.2) it has bloom issues when molded, and more issues against the mold than the part exposed to the air.3) House temperature is 72 F, which is relatively warm.4) Lemm said that cooling the molded bars in the fridge get's rid of the bloomI could be wrong, and certainly trying to diagnose without seeing things is tricky at best, but I feel that Lemm is not removing enough of the latent heat of crystallization quickly enough in the thicker molded pieces, and this is compounded by the insulating properties of the molds, the relatively warm 72F room temp, and likely the lack of air flow, leading to bloom on the surface and back of the bars.The idea of moisture forming on the mold prior to pouring the chocolate, as Lemm suggested in an earlier post, seems to be contradicted by Lemm's comment that the bloom doesn't happen when the molds are pre-cooled. If it was moisture on the mold due to high relative humidity that was causing sugar bloom, then I would expect the problem to be worse with mold pre-cooling, not better. I agree with John that pre-cooling molds is not a good idea.Lemm, you mentioned "thin plastic molds." Do you have the injection molds--not too flexible, or the thermoform molds--pretty flexible? They both will insulate, but the injection molds insulate quite a bit more.Anyway, you'd be surprised how very small things that you'd think shouldn't matter can impact molded chocolate.Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/10/09 06:02:36PM
73 posts

Molding Chocolate


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

Right. The molds keep the chocolate warm longer. They act as insulators. Try cooling the chocolate more quickly either with colder air, more airflow, or both.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/06/09 09:24:23AM
73 posts

Molding Chocolate


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

You need to cool the chocolate more quickly after molding. That will likely solve your problem.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
05/20/10 09:10:22AM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

I was with you until the part where you said that "some produce chocolate from the bean while others take it to the next level."I think that there is plenty of excellent chocolate these days that doesn't need to be taken to a "next level." In such cases, though confections made with this excellent chocolate may be delicious and amazing, the flavor of the original chocolate, I believe, can certainly stand on its own. Put simply, why do we have to say that one is better than the other? The way I'd like to put it is that both can be equally amazing, but in different ways and for different reasons.Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
04/24/09 09:25:28AM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Brad,That does seem pretty blatantly misleading. We have had a couple of companies down here try similar marketing, but so far, they have been called out on it, and they have also been much younger companies, which makes it easier to do so.I can see how an established larger company marketing in that way can be very troublesome for you.Best,AlanP.S. Just out of interest, why do you spell cacao with a "u"? To the best of my knowledge, "cacau" is Portuguese and not English.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
04/15/09 03:41:54PM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

Dear Louis,Thank you for taking the time to explain all of this in detail. I appreciate it. It certainly clarifies the situation.Very best,Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
04/04/09 08:39:07PM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

Send me a message. Patric Chocolate is available in Canada.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/30/09 11:54:43AM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

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
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/20/09 06:34:34AM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

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
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/18/09 07:57:22PM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

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.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/05/09 04:05:13PM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

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
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/05/09 06:51:54AM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

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.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
03/03/09 07:19:34AM
73 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

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.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
01/02/09 02:51:31PM
73 posts

Aging chocolate


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

Jo,Well, I just got the new edition.Pages 306-307 are of interest to this conversation. It seems that chocolate seeded with Beta VI, but cooled quickly enough that Beta V crystals don't have time to migrate to Beta VI crystals--which around 90-91 F apparently takes from 30 minutes to an hour--will lead to a Beta V crystalline structure. So, since we are cooling quickly at much lower temperatures, the idea is that there is very little/no risk of many Beta VI crystals forming, which would result in, as I suspected, "a waxy mouth-feel that is commonly associated with the BVI state.This is certainly the most information I've ever seen on the issue of seeding with Beta VI. Very interesting.Best,Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
12/17/08 12:00:43PM
73 posts

Aging chocolate


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

Jo,Sorry for the wait. I just took a look in the Science of Chocolate, and I found the line that you were referring to. It doesn't give any real explanation of exactly how the Beta VI as a product impacts the temper when added to molten chocolate, except to say that it has a positive impact. We know that it is "seeding," but not the mechanism by which the seeding works, and how it is different than seeding with chocolate containing a large percentage of Beta V crystals.I still have a hard time believing that chocolatiers would want chocolate with a large proportion of Beta VI crystals, which would result in a waxy and slow-to-melt texture. That said, before I comment anymore on the issue, I'd like to receive my copy of the new Industrial Chocolate Manufacture edition where there is sure to be more explanation and science that will clarify the issue, and at the least, should allow us to track down the papers on which such statements are based for further research.Best,Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
12/15/08 08:18:57PM
73 posts

Aging chocolate


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

Hi Jo,You keep catching me at the end of the day away from my books and papers. The Beckett book that I was referencing was Industrial Chocolate Manufacture and Use, but I know that the updated Science of Chocolate does contain some sections that include more recent studies. I'll have to take a look tomorrow.By the way, it looks like a new edition of Industrial Chocolate Manufacture and Use has been released as of today:http://www.amazon.com/Industrial-Chocolate-Manufacture-Steve-Beckett/dp/1405139498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1229390092&sr=8-1I bet that the cocoa butter crystallization section and the tempering section will be taking into consideration more recent studies from the past 9 years since the last edition. I'm going to have to buy it. Is anyone interested in a copy of the last edition from 1999 that is in very good condition?Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
12/15/08 02:53:07PM
73 posts

Aging chocolate


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

The idea of tempering with beta 6 seems odd to me for two reasons:Firstly is the fact that the standard chocolate literature, such as Beckett, always claims that it is very difficult to form beta 6 crystals quickly and directly.Secondly, and most importantly from my perspective, is the fact that beta 6 crystals have a melting point of 97 F as opposed to the 93-95 F of Beta 5, which impacts melting properties.Because of the first reason, I have my doubts about beta 6 crystals being useful for tempering, and regarding the second, I don't see why increasing the melting temperature to the detriment of mouthfeel, even if the end result is a slightly more shelf-stable product, would be something most chocolate makers/chocolatiers would want to do.That said, I know that there is a product on the market called Beta 6 that, similarly to Mycryo, is supposed to seed completely untempered chocolate. I still have my doubts about it regarding whether any beta 6 crystals are actually catalyzing additional beta 6 crystal growth, but admittedly, cocoa butter crystallization is a very complex topic, and even the experts don't know everything there is to know, so you won't find me defending my position dogmatically if relevant information comes to light to the contrary.Either way, it is interesting to think about.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
12/14/08 08:56:34AM
73 posts

Aging chocolate


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

Hi James,Let me post a section of an interview that I did for Cocoa Content:http://www.cocoacontent.com/interview_patric.htmlMy response also includes an interesting quote from life-long chocolate industry insider, the late L. Russell Cook, that may interest you."CC: Do you age your chocolate, and if so, how much importance do you place in aging?Yes, I do age my chocolate. It is aged in large blocks prior to tempering and molding, and I think that aging definitely does make a positive difference in overall flavor, at least that is what my taste-buds and nose tell me based on aging my own chocolate. Let me quote an interesting passage written by L. Russell Cook from his excellent book Chocolate Production and Use:The deliberate aging of chocolate has for many years been recognized as an important part of the manufacturing process of high quality dark chocolate, in that it develops flavors that can be acquired in no other way. It is true that conching accomplishes some of the purposes of aging, but it cannot substitute for it. Just what scientific explanation could clarify the causes or effects of aging, no one knows. Oxidation and chemical interaction among complex organic compounds of the material we know as chocolate undoubtedly take place, but that is a most unsatisfactory answer to the question of just what occurs. All that we know is that some of the most prized dark chocolates ever made are quite ordinary and, in some cases, almost objectionable when freshly made. Yet, when aged three to six months, these products are truly food of the gods.It is interesting to see that 25-30 years after this passage was written, there really still arent many scientific studies that would explain flavor changes during aging. We understand better that cacao and chocolate absorb oxygen fairly readily, which may allow for the oxidation changes that Cook describes, and it is clearer, according to some authors, what some of the chemical changes possible during storage may be, such as an increase of furans, chemicals responsible for toasty and caramel flavors, and development of sulfur compounds that likely impact the chocolate flavor in a positive way, but these explanations are still rather rudimentary, and since large companies, who have the funds to hire food scientists/technologists, do not age their chocolate, I would be surprised if much more scientific data would be added in the coming years. So, we are left with having to use old-fashioned scientific instruments to tell if aging makes a differenceour noses and mouths."Let me also add that though Holy Cacao is right about crystal type migration over time, aged chocolate is, in every case that I have heard of, melted down and tempered after aging, so that the crystals are all destroyed and temper must be restored prior to molding. In other words, aging shouldn't have any impact on texture as it relates to crystal types in these cases. Also, since Beta 6 crystals actually have a higher melting point than Beta 5, if chocolate were to be mostly composed of Beta 6 crystals, it would not melt as readily in the mouth, and would, therefore, lead to a worse mouthfeel.Also, I am one of those chocolate makers who ages my chocolate, and I make no secret of it, and though I guess that anything that is mentioned is marketing in some since, my decision to age the chocolate is not based upon wanting to market it more effectively, but rather upon flavor, and actually, I can tell you that most people absolutely do not pay attention, at least at this point, to the details of chocolate making such as aging, or even conching. 99.99% of the people who eat my chocolate have no clue that I age the chocolate, and even when they do find out, they rarely seem to care particularly. They just care about flavor. That being the case, it it were just marketing, it would be a pretty dumb business decision on my part as it requires me to spend a significant amount of money on cacao and labor prior to busy chocolate sales seasons just to get enough chocolate on the shelves every week to supply my estimated weekly need down the line.Finally, to answer your question from another perspective, I don't think that it is the aging of chocolate that puts it into a league with other products such as cheese, wine, beer, and balsamic. I think that it is the overall complexity of the product in terms of preparation and flavor, including that fact that the cacao from which chocolate is made is both fermented and roasted, a claim that only a handful of other foods can boast. And anyway, fermentation, at the least, is something shared by the other foods mentioned above.Very best,Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
12/10/08 10:58:24AM
73 posts

Special Holiday Chocolate Offers for Chocolate Life Members


Posted in: Classifieds

Hi all,I've got a nice holiday special for all Chocolate Life Members.If you order by December 19th at the latest, and you type "CHOCOLATE LIFE" in the "COMMENTS" field (note: NOT the "coupon code" field), I'll include a complimentary Patric Chocolate bar in your order.Best of all, the current discounts on gift sets and any relevant free shipping discounts will still apply to your order.Order here: http://www.Patric-Chocolate.comVery best,Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
08/19/08 07:13:58AM
73 posts

Drinking Chocolates


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I don't think that I'd say the art has been lost. It simply isn't very popular in "developed" countries to make chocolate drinks, when compared with the popularity of solid chocolate. Take a trip to Mexico, Belize, or elsewhere in Central America, and it is a very different story. Anyway, your question is pretty timely, as I just published this blog post a few days ago:That should give you some ideas.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
08/08/08 06:27:02AM
73 posts

Zazubean - bean-to-bar chocolate maker or wannabe?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Also, someone just reminded me that Theo does a blend bar with Panamanian and Ecuadorean cacao.http://www.theochocolate.com/products/Also, I failed to mention that Theo does Fair Trade products as well. So here are the facts:Theo:Fair TradeOrganicUsing cacao sourced from Ecuador and PanamaIn Washington stateIf it isn't Theo making the Zazubean chocolate, then I don't know who is, and if it is Theo, then as far as I know, Zazubean doesn't own them, which fits right in with what Clay is saying.Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
08/07/08 05:53:47PM
73 posts

Zazubean - bean-to-bar chocolate maker or wannabe?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

From Masur:"I think they have invented their own bean-to-bar definition."----------------Looks like it.Alan
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
08/07/08 04:09:28PM
73 posts

Zazubean - bean-to-bar chocolate maker or wannabe?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I think it is clear that they are not bean-to-bar from Gilbert's own statement:"Instead of sourcing our beans from faraway places and sending them to Europe for processing, only to have them sent back to us for further processing, we ship our beans directly from Equador and Panama to our processing plant in Washington state, she says."I am assuming that the processing plant in Washington state is Theo, since Theo already processes their own chocolate, and all of it is organic.Zazubean does use the phrase "bean to bar" on their homepage, however, which, if the above is true, would not be accurate.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
08/16/08 06:13:23PM
73 posts

Is Xocai everything it's made out to be?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

For what it's worth, chocolate connoisseurs almost unanimously agree that:The best tasting chocolate is made from fermented and roasted cacao.Scientists would probably almost unanimously agree that:The healthiest chocolate would be made from raw, unfermented cacao.You can see the problem.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
07/16/08 12:17:42AM
73 posts

Is Cocoa Liquor "Bean to Bar"?


Posted in: Opinion

No. Bean-to-bar means just that, i.e., one starts with cocoa beans and carries out the chocolate-making process until the final bars are molded.Thus, one must roast, winnow, and grind the cocoa beans to be considered a bean-to-bar chocolate maker. Starting with liquor, where the beans have been processed by someone else, would necessarily make one a "liquor-to-bar" chocolate maker instead.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
06/30/08 05:01:01PM
73 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Steve DeVries was roasting organic cocoa beans prior to the existence of Theo, and still is, and to the best of my knowledge, Taza was roasting organic cocoa in the US when the comment above was written. Now several other small companies in the US also use organic cacao, which they roast, in some products.As someone pointed out recently, if superlatives are to be used at all, then fact-checking is of the utmost importance.
Alan McClure
@Alan McClure
07/04/08 11:48:33AM
73 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Thanks. Luckily I own it already.
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