Forum Activity for @cybele

cybele
@cybele
03/28/09 05:33:50PM
37 posts

SF Chocolate Salon Tasting Panel Winners: Amano Cleans Up


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I thought I had missed something when I was looking at the winner listings and the website. I too could find no description of the categories or specifics about what products won. I'm sorry to see that more information isn't available (though it appears that going to the website for the winners seems to help as they're happy to provide details).
cybele
@cybele
02/09/09 06:36:04PM
37 posts

Mixed News From Hershey: Recession is Good - Closing Plants


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I just got an anonymous comment on my blog that this person got an official notice from Artisan Confections that confirms that Joseph Schmidt is ceasing production completely.Has anyone else heard anything? They were just displaying his wares at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco.
cybele
@cybele
01/29/09 03:31:21PM
37 posts

Mixed News From Hershey: Recession is Good - Closing Plants


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thank you for bringing that up, Gwen. I was just pointing out that there's also a reason that there are a large number of chocolate factories in the Bay Area (a lot of candy manufacture, period in California ... it's surpassed Illinois & Pennsylvania, I believe). While the shipping is a concern, so are energy costs associated with heating & cooling.Even Hershey's had a factory out here before they moved that off to Mexico & subcontracted to Callebaut. That Oakdale facility has now been taken over by Sconza, which was also based in Oakland before that. They don't plan to make chocolate from bean to bar, but are mostly a panning company.The Midwest as a manufacturing hub only makes sense if the customer base is actually evenly distributed across the country. California is a huge economy and we eat a lot of chocolate. (I'm going to have to see if I can find which state eats the most! Fun project.) For the early years of SB, I suppose that made sense, they were primarily a West Coast brand.My guess, as Frank has added some important info, is that Hershey's already owned that land/factory space. (But I'll add this - Why they didn't move to Oakdale is beyond me, I think a lot of folks would have moved, it's only 90 miles away - they've really soured people on the company.)
cybele
@cybele
01/29/09 02:10:18PM
37 posts

Mixed News From Hershey: Recession is Good - Closing Plants


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Clay -What do you know about Scharffen Berger's production lines? When I toured them in '06, not long after their takeover of Hershey's was finalized, it was quite clear that they didn't make all the chocolate in Berkeley even then. (I've never heard of anyone seeing anything but the plain dark chocolate bars coming off that one product line.) They made vague mention of some other facility in Napa County. Do you know where that was and when this Illinois plant started making SB products?It is sad that they won't even be keeping that "factory" location open as a lab of sorts & public education facility.(California property values are very high but the climate of the Bay Area is particularly suited to chocolate production and San Francisco/Oakland are port cities providing excellent access to the raw materials like sugar & cacao.)
cybele
@cybele
10/10/08 01:09:29AM
37 posts

Fair Trade Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

If you can find it, Guittard Akoma is very nice - they're 55% cacao and fair trade certified and all natural. They carry it on Chocosphere.
cybele
@cybele
10/01/08 10:05:37PM
37 posts

Cadbury recalling Chinese chocolate laced with melamine


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Keep a close eye on the news for anything that originates in Asia that has a milk ingredient.I just saw that some Pocky may be included.http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=94&SubSectionID=801&ArticleID=44919&TM=2535.068I saw another article about Snickers & M&Ms made in China. (I actually have some Chinese M&Ms that my boss brought back from Beijing when she attended the Olympics. I haven't eaten them.)http://www.capitalpress.info/main.asp?SectionID=94&SubSectionID=801&ArticleID=44919&TM=2535.068I was in Cost Plus World Market today and they have not removed their White Rabbit candies from the shelves.
cybele
@cybele
09/26/08 10:52:53PM
37 posts

Hershey on the block.


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks for the link Clay.I've been following Hershey's views on "pure chocolate" for at least four years. (Most especially last year during the FDA review of the proposed changes for the Standards of Identity.) I've been documenting Hershey's more recent product changes (starting with the post I did on Kissables back in early August which was picked up by Bloomberg & ABCNews.com before the Today Show piece) but it's been going on for at least the last five years.I know they're not the "best" chocolate out there but they're consumed by millions of people every day. And I really don't want anyone messing with my Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.I think the Nestle alliance would be a huge mistake, though the two companies would be sympatico. They both have very low end chocolate and aren't afraid of mockolate products - Nestle has a worldwide presence and a very diversified portfolio of edibles while Hershey's has an extremely strong brand in North America with good placement on shelves.My feeling for years has been that the Hershey Trust should buy back the company. They currently hold 30% or so of the shares. They could make it a priority for the next 5 years to just buy back most of the outstanding shares. Then go back to the initial mission of Milton Hershey: provide a quality product and support a community through pride in their production.But if they had to form an alliance or merge with someone, I'd prefer Cadbury. They have similar alternate brands (Green & Black's) and a similar mythology (Cadbury was Quaker, Hershey was Mennonite - both communities were founded with paternalistic Utopian ideals).
cybele
@cybele
08/31/08 05:29:02PM
37 posts

Is Xocai everything it's made out to be?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Olorin - like you I like variety and though I consider myself a chocolate nut, I don't eat that much on a daily basis.I've tried other "fortified" chocolates and found that they lacked the fat and mouthfeel that I like so much and felt like work instead pleasure.I don't think I'm in any way normal or indicative of other chocolate lovers in the amount of money I spend or eat. (But I document it pretty well on my blog where I review about 20 things a month, usually 5 high end items in there.)I find the influx of new members that are solely talking about Xocai a little puzzling. There's so much here and so many incredible resources (people who actually visit cacao growing countries, pick out beans and then make actual chocolate) and here we are talking about something that isn't even made out to be a decadent treat.
cybele
@cybele
08/03/08 02:04:06AM
37 posts

Is Xocai everything it's made out to be?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I've resisted reviewing it on my blog, merely because I get so much spam from the company's minions as it is. (I've banned all mention of it in the comments on the blog since I had a nasty incident two years ago when I first reviewed Dove of all things.)I've tried other fortified chocolates and find them chalky or waxy or simply lacking the chocolate qualities I love.Like you, chocolate is for enjoying. If I need something extra in my diet I'll eat it or take it as a pill.I'm still curious about it, because I do believe that you can create healthy snacks. (I might just need to adjust my thinking that it's not chocolate, just some confection.)
cybele
@cybele
06/29/08 12:01:19AM
37 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I'm one of those "certain clientele" who likes creamy chocolate. I have no idea what I means, but I'm pretty sure it's code for uneducated consumer. I'm extremely well educated, but I still like my cacao fat in my chocolate bar.
cybele
@cybele
05/19/08 05:45:27PM
37 posts

Hi Everyone


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hi Jim! Nice to see you on the forum.I bet folks here will be able to recommend some chocolate that will blow your mind.(But I also like "candy bars" too and find no fault with that.)The big question, I guess, is what fits into your mission ... can it be a bar that costs $8 (I don't know what that is in pounds these days) or does it need to be more accessible. I'm rather fond of the Chocovic from Spain as a really good quality, affordable chocolate brand (I can get a 100 gram bar for $2 at Trader Joe's).
cybele
@cybele
05/26/08 12:16:29PM
37 posts

Trends from the World's Top Chocolate Artisans


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Can someone post a synopsis or notes from the session?
cybele
@cybele
05/02/08 10:51:34PM
37 posts

Weird Flavors and Inclusions in Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Here are a few of my thoughts on atypical flavors.I think cheese & chocolate are a great combination, though I admit that I scrunched my nose the first few times. (Chocolate as a savory was quite a welcome education for me.)Of course it's not really that surprising. My mother likes to make chocolate dipped cream cheese squares.I've had a few of Chuao's cheese items. (I think a goat cheese & pear william piece was the most recent) and their stout ganache and the olive sphere Clay mentioned.I enjoy Jeff's blue cheese truffle (I ate one last night!) and many of the uses of chili peppers and chocolate. (Though some are far too spicy for me that it kind of messes up the decadent aspect.)I've tried a few of the Zotter bars as well, though I stuck to the traditional flavors ... you know, things like bananas and curry & citron and polenta.I really like Theo's Bread & Chocolate, which has little bread bits in there, a little on the salty side.There are a few chocolatiers using balsamic vinegar - it's kind of like tangy jam in the end. I don't mind pop rocks. The first time I had that combo was at a CocoaBella event when Christopher Elbow & Chuck Siegel made a peanut butter praline' with pop rocks in it. The next year, Elbow came out with his pop rocks bar (I haven't tried it yet, but it's in the chocolate fridge).I think I had someone's chocolate covered spiced corn nuts, but at the moment I can't remember who made them (oh no! my brain is too full of chocolate!) ... maybe that was Chuao as well.I had a sun dried tomato & chocolate piece a few months ago, but honestly, it tasted just like raisins.L'Artisan du Chocolat here in Los Angeles has a kalamata olive, but I think the coolest one was a vodka and cucumber - tasted like "fresh".One of the oddest consumer candies I think I've had (besides durian taffy) would be the Pumpkin KitKat. Not pumpkin spice, but pretty much a squash cream & milk chocolate KitKat.The Root Beer piece from Michael Mischer (which I picked up at your recommendation last week, Clay) is certainly one of the odder combos.Even Koppers has a fun line of chocolate drops called Savouries - cayenne, black pepper, rose, curry, thyme, orange blossom - which isn't really that innovative in today's market compared to some things, but certainly more affordable than many others.Vosges does quite a few uncommon combinations. I like the spices, especially the cardamom truffle called Ellateria, but the wasabi (black pearl) didn't work for me.The whole bacon thing is lost on my as I don't eat pork. I think I'd plotz if I saw something like salmon roe and chocolate.As long as no one starts covering those Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Jelly Beans in chocolate, I think a little trial and error is a good thing.
cybele
@cybele
04/23/08 07:18:35PM
37 posts

White Chocolate- is it really chocolate?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

The way I look at white chocolate is that it has half of the essential ingredients to be chocolate ... that inimitable cacao fat.I think it always needs to be qualified as "white", but it certainly qualifes more than some sort of mockolate product that has the cocoa solids and not the cocoa butter (you know, that stuff that has partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil, sugar and cocoa in it that is made into super-cheap Eater rabbits).I like the Green & Black's White Chocolate, which has oodles of vanilla bean in there. It's not at all like the Icoa though, it's a deodorized cacao fat that takes the milk & vanilla notes readily.
cybele
@cybele
08/17/09 01:34:33PM
37 posts

American, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers: A Complete List


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Just so everyone knows, Jenn Harn is a PR rep for Dove.
cybele
@cybele
01/26/09 01:13:22PM
37 posts

American, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers: A Complete List


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hershey's does not roast their own beans any longer, they buy liquor from Callebaut. (Though I believe they're still sourcing their own beans, just outsourcing the process.) Yes, they own Scharffen Berger, but it is its own discrete factory at this time from the rest of the Hershey's production line.I wasn't aware that TCHO wasn't roasting their own beans. They show a lot of pictures of them playing with beans on their website.
cybele
@cybele
04/23/08 02:52:24PM
37 posts

American, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers: A Complete List


Posted in: Tasting Notes

ADM is a huge agri-food conglomerate, similar to Cargill.It stands for Archer Daniels Midland.Here's info on their Candy & Chocolate division:http://www.admworld.com/naen/food/candy.aspFor the record, here's Cargill's info:http://www.cargill.com/products/food/ps_cocoa.htm
updated by @cybele: 09/12/15 02:32:16PM
cybele
@cybele
04/23/08 02:48:54PM
37 posts

American, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers: A Complete List


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Wilbur makes "bean-to-bar" or other confections that are available to the public, not just couveture to the trade.
cybele
@cybele
04/18/09 12:36:02AM
37 posts

Chocolate on the 101 Between Los Angeles & Oakland


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Here's my Bay Area map:http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=111835366952865243723.00043b278032695c6a88b&z=9San Francisco at the East Bay is awesome for any candy lover. For a real insider experience maybe go to Charles Chocolates in Emeryville, they do tours. I don't know the current status of the Scharffen Berger Factory though (that always made a nice afternoon).In San Francisco TCHO recently opened their factory on Pier 17. I don't think they're doing tours but they do have a store and maybe if you call them and beg. (I don't care much for their chocolate, but I haven't paid much attention to them since their beta.)For shops that sell everyone's chocolates:Chocolate Covered - amazing selection of bars, you can even buy some fine chocolates by the piece (well, small sets of Cluizel, Lillie Belle, Caffarel). Jack runs the place and can really carry on a conversation about chocolate and help you find something you'll like.Cocoa Bella - often has tastings, check their schedules, great selection of fine chocolate pieces from around the world. (I'll eat anything with figs.)Bittersweet Cafe (one in Berkeley and one in SF)Fog City - amazing selection of bars, also has events, Adam is awesome.Christopher Elbow is fun, just for the lounge and the hot chocolate. It's also right up the street from Miette Confiserie (awesome all round candy shop).Let's see back to what's in between...I've been to Chocolate Maya in Santa Barbara. It's a small shop but very well curated. They have a good mix of fine chocolates, bars and their own house-made specialties. When I was there they had Taza, Dolfin, Askinosie, Cluizel, Theo, Banxart, Green & Blacks, Amano, Bonnat, Cafe Tasse, Pralus and Moonstruck.http://www.flickr.com/photos/typetive/sets/72157607032337205/Their hours are a little problematic for getting an early start, so check to see if it'll fit.I ended up stopping in San Luis Obispo at Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates, which is actually in a bakery/cafe (great lunch stop) called Splash Cafe.All their stuff is fair trade and organic and good portion vegan as well. It's not haute, just comfort candies made with a code of ethics.http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/item/sweet_earth_chocolate_cupsThen I stopped at Holland's Best in San Jose. A dusty shop with a huge selection of licorice (some of which was not so fresh). Great prices though and if you pick carefully, there are some fabulous and very hard to find products there. http://www.hollandsbest.com/Cocoa Bon closed their cafe/shop.Now ... Los Angeles!If you're looking for convenience for the start of a trip, it might be Valerie Confections & L'Artisan du Chocolat. They're right next door to each other just a few turns from the 101 entrance on Silver Lake Blvd.I'm a huge fan of Valerie's - they make very high quality toffees, nougats & confections. If you're visiting the shop I recommend the petit fours or tea cakes (well, I love the teacakes). I'm eating their Lemon Hazelnut Nougat right now ... made with June Taylor candied Meyer lemons. They also have free samples ...http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/category/valeriewww.valerieconfections.comNext door on 1st Street is L'Artisan du ChocolatThey're a classic European-style chocolatier ... but then a twist with their avante-garde line (tomato, kalamata olive, red bean, garlic, etc.). Wonderful high quality.http://www.typetive.com/candyblog/item/lartisan_du_chocolathttp://www.lartisanduchocolat.net/Mainpage.htmlHere's a roundup I did of a lot of shops all over the LA Basin for Gridskipper (with a map)http://gridskipper.com/62423/the-ultimate-guide-to-locally-made-la-chocolate(Boule has since closed, and Chuao closed their Irvine location but are around further south.)Um ... and tomorrow I'm planning on going to Compartes in Brentwood.Wow, it sounds like I eat a lotta chocolate.
cybele
@cybele
04/18/08 06:57:36PM
37 posts

Chocolate on the 101 Between Los Angeles & Oakland


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I'm making a trip to San Francisco next week. I usually just drive straight up the 5 from Los Angeles. It's boring but it's quick. The big problem is that there's no place to stop along the way for a foodie.This time I decided to take the more scenic and hopefully more tasty route up the 101.I've created a Google Map with a few places I'm considering stopping at.I know my way around SF/Oakland/Berkeley just fine when it comes to sweets. It's LA to San Jose that I'm looking for help.Here's what I have so far, feel free to chime in with your suggestions (or warnings!):Robitaille's Fine Candies - CarpinteriaChocolate Maya - Santa BarbaraSweet Earth Organic Chocolates - San Luis ObispoDulceria El Guero - SalinasCocoa Bon - Los GatosHolland's Best (actually for Licorice) - San JoseSo has anyone found a little gem of a candy/chocolate shop along the way?
updated by @cybele: 04/11/15 01:56:54AM
cybele
@cybele
05/16/08 05:46:14PM
37 posts

Pralus packaging


Posted in: Opinion

I think the best package design I've seen so far for premium bars is Dolfin's "tobacco pouch". I agree that those tissue-paper thin foils actually invite more problems than they solve.Amano's seems to be a nice blend of high quality foil plus the box. Bonnat doesn't use very thick foil and the little sleeve doesn't do much to protect the bar either.
cybele
@cybele
04/14/08 10:59:56PM
37 posts

Can your palate be trained or are some just stronger than others?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I found that wine tastings really worked my muscles. Actually, it's not so much about tasting, it's about being able to find what that flavor is.Guittard has an excellent Tasting Wheel like the ones you get at wine tastings that helps a lot. It's good to refer to it when you're trying to pin down something. I know sometimes I bring up memories like "This reminds me of Eric's barn." but I won't know quite what that means until I figure out that it's hay that I'm tasting.I'll see if I can find & post the tasting wheel.I took one of those supertaster tests and thankfully found that I'm a regular taster. (Supertasters have higher incidences of colon cancer.)However, I have a super sense of smell (in a rather annoying way sometimes).Some women also find that their sense of smell changes throughout the month, so Casey's suggestion of trying things consistently might help you to find the best time for you.Most importantly, don't be afraid to enjoy what you enjoy, no matter what the others say.
cybele
@cybele
04/23/08 05:40:57PM
37 posts

Quotable Quotes


Posted in: Opinion

First you consume chocolate and then chocolate consumes you.(anonymous)Research tells us fourteen out of any ten individuals likes chocolate.(Sandra Boynton)All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!(Charles Schulz)Covering things in chocolate is what sets us apart from the animals.(Cybele)
cybele
@cybele
04/02/08 04:16:20PM
37 posts

Online Chocolate Sources


Posted in: Classifieds

Thanks for the offer on the Young Turks. I already have a couple of Amano (love the Ocumare) and Askinosie, so I'm hesitant to buy more of them.I'll see if I can mosey over to Venice one of these days to see what they have. (I'm sure lots of other good things to distract me in addition to the Taza.) And then just pony up all the delivery charges, I guess.
cybele
@cybele
04/01/08 07:06:09PM
37 posts

Online Chocolate Sources


Posted in: Classifieds

I want to pick up a few bars that I can't find in my local stores, but I'd prefer to buy them all at the same place instead of lots of direct purchases from the makers.On my list at the moment are:PatricTazaDeVriesDoes anyone know of a webstore that carries any/all of these?I usually order from Chocosphere, but they don't carry these small brands yet.
updated by @cybele: 06/07/15 03:02:34PM
cybele
@cybele
04/21/08 09:01:05PM
37 posts

Chocolate Slotting Mapping Idea


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Theo - that's a fun map. A little hard to use in big metros like LA (you have to search by Venice, and San Pedro, and Los Angeles, etc. to see everything. So many places missing (Artisan du Chocolat in Los Angeles is right next to Valerie Confections, yet not on the map). Some of the places aren't even retail establishments, just manufacturing facilities, candy kitchens or offices.Maybe I'll pop Pam a note and see if we can get it updated.
cybele
@cybele
05/23/08 11:54:18AM
37 posts

Bean to bar chocolate makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I don't think that saying that they know how their cacao is sourced is in conflict with them NOT being bean to bar. There are a lot of companies that outsource stuff that requires huge specialized machinery and large amounts of space. They can still be very involved with the cacao selection process - they just have someone else winnow & roast and possibly go so far as to have someone deliver it as liquor. (Hershey's is no longer bean to bar on all their products.)
cybele
@cybele
05/22/08 10:10:51AM
37 posts

Bean to bar chocolate makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Last I heard, Dagoba buys their beans pre-roasted (but this was pre-hershey). This is why Theo is very careful with their wording as the "only roaster of organic cocoa beans in the US."So while they work from the bean, it's not the raw bean.
cybele
@cybele
02/21/08 09:33:55PM
37 posts

Flavinols being removed from dark chocolate


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Well, yes, some flavinols can create a bitter taste, but carefully choosing and blending beans can often mitigate this without losing the beneficial antioxidant profile of chocolate.I've tried most of the Cocoavia line and yes, I find it tastes too much like an effort and isn't really satisfying enough for me to waste my discretionary calories on it.I'd say that any 65% cacao or higher chocolate is going to have a good amount of antioxidants. Heck, a study in Germany found that eating an ounce of Ritter's basic dark was beneficial to heart health. (I think they're a 50%).The Amano bars (I like the Ocumare) are 70% and exceptionally munchable.If you want a really edible high cacao chocolate, I've been enjoying the Guittard Nocturne 91% (it has overwhelming vanilla notes). You might also like the Quetzalcoatl, which is a "whole bean" bar, made without the addition of cocoa butter, just that inherent in the bean. At 72% it's still very mild.Michel Cluizel even has a 99% bar. (I also tried a Bonnat 100% bar recently but found it far too acrid to be edible.)I think sticking to the 70-80% range should provide a good balance of pleasure and benefits.
cybele
@cybele
02/15/08 05:50:45PM
37 posts

How Green is my Chocolate?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I think many folks are using organic as a substitute for fair trade or slave free, as they figure that the certification and oversight would probably include the other two. I do agree that better chocolate usually means that the cocoa buyers are more intimately involved with their growers.The interesting thing is that cocoa that's grown sustainably may actually be good for the rain forests' position as an economic boom for tropical countries. If planted correctly a forest can have many cash crops within the canopy. That diversity lowers the need for pesticides and encourages the natural balance of animals & other flora. (Monoculture is just bad practice, especially with a plant like cocoa that has so many natural enemies.)I'd love to see more of the education programs expand that not only help the farmers understand how to apply pesticides if they need to use them, plant, harvest and dry/ferment but also to encourage their children attend school so that they can learn more about the interconnectedness of their product to the rest of the world. Education is the key to helping farmers out of this cycle.However, sometimes I wonder if some of this stuff that we hear isn't just marketing. I'm rather jaded.
cybele
@cybele
05/21/08 12:41:20PM
37 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

The organic dark (at least some of it) is from Terra Nostra in Canada. But I'm not certain if they're bean to bar ...
cybele
@cybele
04/29/08 06:59:44PM
37 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

"I just wish they would make public, as most companies do, some details about the production. But that's just me."Many companies have special deals with repackers and house brands that mean that they are not allowed to disclose that information. They're usually selling it to Trader Joe's at far below their regular retail, mostly because it's a guaranteed contract for a huge amount of product and is supposed to be repackaged in a way that does not detract from the exclusiveness of their regular brand.At one point TJs was carrying specialty sized Scharffen Berger for just that reason, so that people couldn't really do an apples to apples comparison. (I think that stopped when Hershey's bought SB.)The cheaper the chocolate though, the more likely it is to come from a bean to bar company, as too many middle men mean too much markup.Trader Joe's probably feels that it's far better for them to get the merchandise at low, low prices for their customers than the full disclosure of who is actually making the chocolate ... as I suspect that price is the first thing a consumer is looking at, not the origin of the product.The way that I've figured out some of Target & Trader Joe's suppliers is to keep an eye on the recall notices. You'll find that when someone gets their package of X bars recalled because of undelcared nuts, it'll be for their brand and then perhaps three other house brands. (Most recently this was how I found out that Veritas is doing some of Target's Choxie products.)
cybele
@cybele
04/29/08 12:26:50PM
37 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

Trader Joe's does carry other fair trade and organic chocolates (and products in general) and they're pretty good about passing along that information.With a little detective work with the list of ingredients I think someone could probably figure out who the Belgian chocolate bar company is (looking at the list of Belgian chocolate makers there aren't that many).I do know who several of their other chocolate/confection suppliers are. (The organic pecan & raisin bars are made by Terra Nostra in Canada as are some of the fair trade truffles they offer around the holidays. I suspect that some of their other Irish specialty chocolate items are made by Lily O'Brien, but I haven't been able to confirm that.)
cybele
@cybele
04/21/08 10:36:43PM
37 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

Well, I really can't beat that price! Fifty cents for 1 & 2/3 ounces of chocolate? I don't think you can find real dark chocolate for that price (those big brands usually have added milk fats) anywhere else unless you buy a huge block.I think it's a nice little treat to tuck in your bag and feel free to share. It's not quite as buttery smooth as I like (at TJs I'll opt for the Chocovic Ocumare or if I want "candy" I'll go for the organic Pecan & Raisin bar) but it's certainly a good dependable product.
cybele
@cybele
03/03/08 10:50:43PM
37 posts

Where to Buy Chocolate


Posted in: Classifieds

Excellent list.Here are a couple of other general candy stores have have nice chocolate bar selections:Miette ConfisiereThe Candy StoreIn Oakland:Bittersweet Cafe - huge selection of bars plus tasting events
cybele
@cybele
02/15/08 05:20:38PM
37 posts

Where to Buy Chocolate


Posted in: Classifieds

No, this is a completely different L'Artisan. This one is run by Christian Alexandre and Whajung Park. It's a tiny little storefront and their inventory changes seasonally as the ingredients are available. I think the most surprising bonbon I had there was a white chocolate ganache with cucumber & vodka. The more traditional tea infused ones were also nice.I know that they've attended the Chocolate Show in San Francisco before.
cybele
@cybele
02/15/08 03:07:38PM
37 posts

Where to Buy Chocolate


Posted in: Classifieds

Clay asked me to add my list of places to buy chocolate in Los Angeles. Here are the places where I've tried so far:BonBonBars (no store, order online) www.bonbonbar.comBoule another bonbon shop. They make great macarons in the French style and two different styles of bonbons (one molded buttons and the other enrobed with transfer styles on top). Interesting flavors, I like some of them but others I find a little greasy in texture. Great ice cream.Chocolate Box Caf in La Canada. Not locally made but imported from Belgium. They have an interesting line of buttermilk ganache chocolates that deserve a look. Their best pieces are in milk chocolate.Chocolates a la Carte not the best chocolates in the world, but the factory store has some surprises, especially when theyre doing repack work for another brand and have items made with Valrhona (usually they use Callebaut) and of course everythings very fresh at the factory.Chuao Chocolatier technically the closest one is in Orange County, but I enjoy their use of flavors and textures. El Rey chocolate.Edelweiss Chocolates very traditional chocolate sweets in Beverly Hills, their preserved fruits are very good.Jin Patisserie in Venice, known far and wide for their tea room and chocolates. I thought they were interesting but tiny and overpriced.K Chocolatier wildly expensive and quirky hours (weekdays) but some very tasty alcohol filled chocolate, generous samples.LArtisan du Chocolat fresh, innovative & attractive. Oh, and expensive.Littlejohn Toffee & Fudge the fudge is okay, I think they have some great sponge candy covered in chocolate and New Orleans style pralines. Not really a chocolate shop.Valerie Confections right next door to LArtisan du Chocolat, more on the elegant comfort side of things. Toffee, nougats, bonbons and now petit fours & tea cakes.And stores for bars & boxes:Cost Plus World Market a decent selection & prices of the most popular fine import bars and usually at decent prices. Check expiry dates closely though.Garvey Nuts its a wholesale place in City of Commerce (just off the 5 near the outlet mall Citadel). They sell lots of novelty candies, including the better ones like MadelainesMel & Roses Wine & Spirits immense selection of both upscale chocolatiers & bars as well as import consumer candies from all over Europe, Japan & Australia.Mr. Marcel at the Farmers Market. Good selection of chocolate bars, though the prices are often 50% more than Cost Plus which is just a few yards away.Munchies a little gem tucked away in an Orthodox Jewish neighborhood thats completely Kosher. They have a large selection of international stuff, mostlybars and a great sale on Ritter (what can I say, Im a sucker for Knusperflakes & their Rum Trauben Nuss).Surfas - Culver City kitchen supply company that has a good selection of baking products and just plain old bars, including just about every Valrhona.My local grocery stores tend to carry some good stuff too. I stumbled on a nice selection at Vons the other day that included the full line of Chuao bars and a great sale on Ritter (what can I say, Im a sucker for Knusperflakes & their Rum Trauben Nuss).I keep pretty copious notes about them on my blog in the Los Angeles category.