Forum Activity for @Hans

Hans
@Hans
07/03/08 09:03:45PM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Interesting, Edward, but I wouldn't be surprised if your customers would love aerated chocolate if you made it for them. You're not only selling a product, but also a service, which could possibly be your own market niche. Just a thought :)The link I provided earlier mentioned that Callebaut's aerated chocolate chunks are cheaper than "normal" chunks, presumably because of less cocoa mass and more air, yet I wondered how that could be possible to account for the expenses in equipment, labor, packaging, marketing, etc. My guess is that the money a company saves by reducing cocoa mass is invested towards all those additional production and promotion costs so that it can at least break even, presuming of course the costs are nearly identical. If not, even then the company stands to gain by the increased market presence.
Hans
@Hans
07/02/08 01:38:00PM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I can find a few problems with aerating chocolate:1) Because chocolate expands and contracts over time, excess air reduces the density of the mass and facilitates cracking and eventual crumbling of the bar.2) Air causes oxidation, which reduces shelf life of a product. A perfect example is whipped cream, which has a shelf life significantly less than that of its non-whipped counterpart.3) Excess air in the bar interferes with the chocolate-tongue contact so flavor dispersal is much more uneven and erratic.4) Density of texture would be affected so that the bar appears lighter and not as "rich" as a non-aerated bar of chocolate.However, I found a few useful links:Barry CallebautSpartak (in Belarus)ZOMG Candy BlogThat blog is of particular interest because it provides a picture and a description of a cross sectioned (aerated) Spartak 72% dark bar. (You can find it easily by doing a control F for "spartak elite.") The air bubbles are clearly visible, which contrasts with Callebaut's micro bubbles.
Hans
@Hans
07/01/08 03:33:04PM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Gwen, unless you're suggesting that you can compress a given amount of sugar and incorporate the mass into chocolate liquor so as to make more room for cocoa solids (butter and particles), then what you really get is more chocolate to be packaged and sold. You get heavier mass, in other words, and I'm not certain how the sugar would interact with the cocoa solids but from what I've seen, chocolate makers don't make a big science out of it. They just add sugar and incorporate.A Cluizel bar containing 60% cocoa butter? That seems unlikely; not even Hachez has that much. I have a bar of Cluizel's Tamarina 70% here and it includes a nutrition label printed (not adhered) on the box. The bar, according to my calculations, is 42.5% fat (17g of fat per 40g of chocolate), so combined with the 30% sugar, we get a remaining ~30% in cocoa particles.I'm not sure I understand what you mean by increasing the volume of a chocolate bar. Is this similar to increasing volume in a meringue? Are you implying you make the chocolate mass fluffier, more airy?
Hans
@Hans
06/30/08 09:04:53PM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Gwen, I think you misunderstood me. I wasn't implying that the weight of certain types of sugars is important but rather how much of the bar's weight is comprised of sugar, especially in relation to cocoa butter and cacao particles (which, again, is irrespective of type of sugar; a ton of feathers is the same weight as a ton of bricks).
Hans
@Hans
06/30/08 05:41:24PM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Gwen, you're assuming cacao particle content remains constant when it doesn't. Normally fat does carry flavor but in the case of chocolate, when you add cocoa butter to a recipe, you need to remove cacao solids or sugar to compensate. So, you decrease the cacao solids as a result, which reduces the overall intensity of the chocolate's flavor. Hope that clarifies things a bit :)
Hans
@Hans
06/29/08 03:23:45AM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I like a creamy texture just as much as the next person, but I know some folks who downright dislike a chocolate just because the texture is slightly off. Think about it this way. The average person on the street, when asked to describe a bar of chocolate, tends to mention texture first and then flavor, which could be attributable to a number of things:1) cocoa butter's low melting point causes the texture to be noticed first2) chocolate's flavor takes some time to fully develop, so to render a final opinion before the flavor develops is not really useful3) natural preference towards fatty foodsSo, if a company wishes to target a particular audience, that's fine--by no means does it infer that the product is only intended for that audience because everyone has different tastes for different reasons. I still eat M&M's whenever I can :)
Hans
@Hans
06/28/08 02:40:57PM
14 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Yeah, you really can't say that extra cocoa butter is cutting corners because cocoa butter is pretty pricey. I've noticed that it can be used to muffle the flavor of bad beans and to improve texture of bars. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if makers add cocoa butter solely to appeal to a certain clientele, namely those who favor texture over flavor and to ease the transition into higher percentages for those folks who are just too reticent of going that route. Cocoa butter is a better way of doing that than a stronger 60%-class bar because you don't get excess sugar in the way. At least with cocoa butter, you taste more of the cacao even if it is subdued.
Hans
@Hans
06/30/08 05:35:33PM
14 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

It has an interesting nipple-like protrusion. I can't remember correctly, but isn't that a trait of Porcelana?
Hans
@Hans
06/24/08 05:00:06PM
14 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Thanks for the words of encouragement! It's wonderful to know firsthand that my articles are very helpful :)I replied to your comment on my blog, Olorin, but to avoid going allllllll the way back there, I basically said that I found out about the Palmira-Porcelana connection through an insider source AND on a website I saw in the same week (strange coincidence, huh?). I think the author on that website said that he was told directly by Valrhona, though I could be wrong so don't quote me. I don't like to say things with certainty unless I'm positive and even then I tend to tread carefully and speak in conjecture because of the countless variables involved :)That Bonnat Porcelana somehow escaped by bad-choco radar but it'll get in that Dishonorable Mention article. Thanks for pointing that out, btw...I would've missed it again! You know what's interesting? Alex told me that more than once he received Bonnat bars with the wrong wrappers, so there might be a good chance I received a bar that is not Porcelana, although the intrinsic flavors we tasted are similar so I don't know. Maybe different batches?Just wondering, but does anyone remember about three years ago or so that Domori's Porcelana was really, really, really awful? I bought two bars from Chocosphere and was expecting the same excellent quality as before, but the chocolate was bitter and tart, tasting like Granny Smith apples and potting soil. Jerry confirmed and noted the same traits in other random bars in his stock, and there's actually a thread on Seventypercent about this. I just wanted to bring this quality issue into the light again, basically reinforcing the idea that just because the name is Porcelana doesn't always mean the chocolate will be good, or more importantly, consistent with what we know about it already. There's just way too many forces at work for us to get a confident grip on what it's all about.
Hans
@Hans
06/22/08 11:32:04AM
14 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Valrhona's been keeping that under their hat for some time now until recently...it was revealed slowly, now trickling into the mainstream.Other than a lack of bitterness and astringency, I think there really is no similarity among them all, in that there is no unifying thread to tie each bar together. Previously, I could say there was but since the inception of Palmira, the oddball that it is, as well as these Mexican bars, Porcelana as a whole is now just as varied a cacao as anything else.I've been wondering lately what exactly is Porcelana anyway. I mean, here we have so many bars on the market of this rare, esteemed cacao that was previously available by two makers but now can be purchased by more than a generous handful. Plus, flavors are amazingly different, so naturally I am...well, not doubtful, but highly curious. Perhaps such variety relates to what Clay mentioned in another post, about fermentation contributing to flavor in HUGE ways. It'd be interesting to get feedback from someone who actually knows about Porcelana genetics and growing practices because from a consumer end, this is all very convoluted.
Hans
@Hans
06/21/08 04:01:22PM
14 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Agreeing with Theo, it's not really accurate to determine a "best" type of chocolate, especially because different chocolates are "best" at certain tasks and pairing with different flavors, so the term is purely circumstantial, even regarding individual taste preference.Even so, enough people may rank a certain chocolate highly on a consistent basis to give the impression that it is the "best." Again, though, this might not be the case to everyone else. It's only the best to a small subset of the population.One more thing before I forget, cacao from the Chuao region is not entirely criollo. It's a blend, including Forastero.
Hans
@Hans
06/22/08 07:14:58PM
14 posts

Pralus packaging


Posted in: Opinion

G&B's foil lined paper? My bars have been flimsy foil, with the G&B's logo all over, which is nice but....uh, necessary? Anyway, finally someone who thinks the Neuhaus Occumare (Two C or not two C? That is the question!) is disappointing. What's up with texture in all those Neuhaus bars anyway? Feels more like mousse or ganache than pure chocolate.The worst is Amedei and their tiny 5g square origin kit. Every time I bought some the chocolate was flat and stale, tasting like paper. If they can't invest into 50g bars, then please, please, please invest in better packaging. I hate throwing away money.
Hans
@Hans
06/18/08 11:56:17AM
14 posts

Pralus packaging


Posted in: Opinion

I think the best foil wrapper is used by Scharffen Berger. It's thick and large, making re-wrapping multiple times a breeze. In fact, you can even reuse those durable foil wrappers for other foods. Patric and Amano also have nicely thick foil, which is great.Askinosie's mold is pretty stylish, I agree, and I also like Chocovic's mold.
Hans
@Hans
06/12/08 02:15:36PM
14 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hey Brady,I just read your guide, and I thought it was really good. Have you checked out the book Cocoa (4th edition) by Wood and Lass? It has lots of useful information, especially about the varieties and differences between artificial drying methods, which affect chocolate flavor in a number of ways.