Forum Activity for @James Cary

James Cary
@James Cary
05/21/09 07:23:21PM
32 posts

Interesting Product/Business Ideas in the Current Economy


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

I know.. Burdick's are almost too cute to eat and Lillie Belle's are almost too disgusting to eat. Is there some happy medium? :)
James Cary
@James Cary
05/20/09 02:30:54AM
32 posts

Interesting Product/Business Ideas in the Current Economy


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

Those Voodoo bunnies are wild! I was in Boston recently and stopped in at LA Burdick. They had bunnies for Easter along with their signature mice. But Lillie Belle farms takes it to a whole new level! :)
James Cary
@James Cary
02/02/09 04:41:14PM
32 posts

Chocolate more prominent in other media recently


Posted in: News & New Product Press

First, chocolate: the game? I've run across a couple of games recently which feature chocolate as the main goal. Here's Chocolate Shop Frenzy for the iPhone:http://www.digitalchocolate.com/games/mobile/chocolate-shop-frenzy.htmlThis game has you running a chocolates shop. This game appears to fall under the sim/action puzzle genre.There's also, Chocolatier, which requires you to build a chocolate empire from scratch:http://www.playfirst.com/game/chocolatierThis game also appears to be a sim type game, but more adventure education/learning.Next, did anyone else see the new Kashi commercial, which heavily featured cacao processing?
updated by @James Cary: 04/19/15 03:50:34PM
James Cary
@James Cary
01/14/09 02:14:44PM
32 posts

WSJ: Premium Chocolate Holds Steady in Tough Economy


Posted in: News & New Product Press

A great mixed metaphor as I like to wear those very same Emperor's clothes when I homebrew chocolate. (Here's the line. Here's me crossing it.)I think that there is a perception that non-milk chocolate is premium -- that any dark chocolate will suffice for a premium label. However, the other flavors, ie "raspberry almond", may be a reflection of the impact of flavored chocolate makers (Vosges, Godiva, etc.)As an anecdote that may or may not be related to the economy, I was recently shopping at my local Trader Joe's and my local Safeway on separate occasions and both were fairly bear in their organic produce department. I'm not sure if it's a sign of the economy but it sure looked like these higher priced items were not being restocked as readily as before.
James Cary
@James Cary
01/11/09 12:52:03PM
32 posts

FAIR TRADE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION FROM THE EYES OF A PRODUCER


Posted in: Opinion

I'm glad this thread was started. Thanks for sharing, Jim.I've been interested in working through the ethics of chocolate. The trouble is that the chain is not terribly transparent. Chocolate exchanges many hands before it finally reaches the consumer. I think as Sarah points out, consumers are willing to make the leap for ethically produced food.Langdon, you have an interesting point; however, I'd also like to see fair/ethical trade to all within the chain as well. It would be interesting to know what costs are required along each step of the way. Certainly, it seems that the farmer is the one who is getting the short end of the stick in your certification process example - the costs (especially for a higher flavor product) seem higher at this step. Many thanks to Jim for providing information regarding the farming step.
James Cary
@James Cary
01/08/09 09:49:53PM
32 posts

Kallari Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Yes. I picked a bar up at Whole Foods. I still have part of the bar at home. As well as my notes. :( It's a nice story, but I think the chocolate was only decent. Not much for me to write home about. :) There were 2 bars available at my local Whole Foods - the only difference I could see was in sugar content and I picked up the one with the lesser amount of sugar.
James Cary
@James Cary
01/08/09 10:20:23PM
32 posts

Travel Planning - Where Would YOU Like to Go?


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Agreed, Langdon. Local/low impact travel is the best option now. Also, everything in moderation especially with the size of the world population (probably better to find ways to cut down on extensive business travel first). Hopefully we'll get teleporter technology soon :)I was thinking if the euro hit parity, I would have hopped on a plane for France or Spain for whatever is the latest in gastronomy there.I would still love to help with a cacao harvest in a cacao growing region. Any of the places on the list would be wonderful.
James Cary
@James Cary
05/22/09 01:10:00AM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

The usual. Almost always cinnamon and almonds are there. Sometimes, nuez (pecans) are there also. No chiles in Mayordomo chocolate.I had both the hot and the cold. I wouldn't say the taste was incredible, but it was pretty good. But the experience was unforgettable.If anyone is interested, there's some really cool places in Escondido (north San Diego) which I recently found which have Oaxacan food, bread, and chocolate. I was going to post earlier, but slipped my mind.
James Cary
@James Cary
05/21/09 07:20:37PM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Yes, they have several stores throughout Oaxaca. While I was there, I saw that they were selling hot chocolate (water or milk based with slightly different spiced chocolate mixes) and a cold chocolate slushie (I think it was a frozen milk slush that they used).Their hot chocolate was served with sweet bread.
James Cary
@James Cary
05/20/09 02:11:03AM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

It was quite safe. I stayed by myself with a host family (I was actually taking some classes there) close to Llano park and mainly walked around the historical district. I was there during the holidays and whole families were out in the parks and the Zocalo late at night.While I did get some odd stares and maybe the odd gringo comment or two (pale and 6'3" really sticks out), most everybody was very friendly.
James Cary
@James Cary
01/08/09 10:02:54PM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Yep, champurrado. Have you had it, also? I can still taste it. Yum. Oh and always con pan.I also had Tejate in the mercado. It was an experience. I'll just leave it at that. :)If the cacao is fermented it is washed of any fermentation byproduct, because I picked up a handful and smelled it and there was no smell but cacao shell/husk. Oh and in Mayordomo there appears to be 2 ways to get your ground chocolate: with shell and without. And of the couple times I saw the chocolate being ground the bean was put in whole.
James Cary
@James Cary
01/07/09 12:28:20AM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Sure, Clay. I'll give it a try soon.It's really amazing how pervasive chocolate is here. I had a cooking class in which we made a drink from corn and chocolate (atole con chocolate) and I went to a house where the mother served hot chocolate and was sure to let everyone know her "secret" recipe for the ground spices (almonds and less sugar - i think 1kilo cacao to 1kilo sugar).I highly recommend anyone to travel here.
James Cary
@James Cary
01/05/09 09:11:00PM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I've visited La Soledad and Chocolate Mayordomo on Mina st as well as a number of stalls in the market. They all sell the Oaxacan coarse ground chocolate and mole paste from the chocolate. Interestingly, those vendors that sell raw cacao (La Soledad) or have it displayed (Mayordomo) use unfermented cacao. Also interesting is the cacao is always ground with something. The "100%" (no sugar) at Mayordomo is actually ground with almonds. The other Mayordomo recipes contain either cinnamon, pecans, and/or vanilla. And the sugar content is always greater than cacao content. Mayordomo is very big down here. Always busy and several stores all within walking distance of each other (seems similar to Starbucks back home).
James Cary
@James Cary
12/22/08 01:47:41PM
32 posts

Oaxaca


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

I'll be travelling to Oaxaca. Does anyone have any recommendations for places to see, food (chocolate!) to try, or things to do? Thanks!
updated by @James Cary: 04/13/15 02:04:19PM
James Cary
@James Cary
01/12/09 10:03:54AM
32 posts

The Fine Art of Chocolate ... Criticism


Posted in: Opinion

On a side note, in Savannah, there's a candy store that sells fudge in the shape of a cow pie. I had to get one for my brother. >:D The fudge there was pretty tasty ( but a bit nutty .. sorry :)
James Cary
@James Cary
01/11/09 04:01:47PM
32 posts

The Fine Art of Chocolate ... Criticism


Posted in: Opinion

"Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."For purely altruistic reasons, I am giving this post a review of "crap." (Yes, I'm critiquing the critique of the critique of ...) Hopefully, someone will be able to save their 15+ minutes of time and find something else to do with it. Unfortunately, mine has been given and can't be refunded.
James Cary
@James Cary
12/16/08 02:13:25PM
32 posts

The Fine Art of Chocolate ... Criticism


Posted in: Opinion

Agreed.I think that writing something critical is worth doing if not to help others to decide whether their tastes match yours but at least to help remember what it was that you did not like about it. There have been many times I've noted that a movie, or a restaurant, or a book was bad, but when I came to think of what it was that was bad about it, I couldn't remember, which often led me to try it again! And only then do I remember what it was that was awful about it. So, at least to help jog the memory, it's worth jotting down a few notes.Now, for the point regarding Dewey. I'd say there a couple of distinct ways in reviewing something. There is the simple analytical approach which is appreciative to the reader when she would like to make a decision as to whether it's worth her time/money to invest in the reviewed object. Something simple, like flavors: cherry, hazelnut aftertaste; melts in mouth; 4 out of 5 stars (on the reviewer's 5 star scale which can be correlated to your own 5 star scale). Or flavors: mold, dirt; crumbly texture; 1 out of 5.Then, there's the review for review's sake which in itself becomes an art form. The object of the review is no longer center stage, but the review and by extension the author themselves are now in the spotlight. I find if I'm at all receptive to this type of review, it's only because I happen to be reading a biography/memoir of the author (say, Jane Goodall's take on marmite in Harvest for Hope or Anthony Bourdain's review of fermented shark in No Reservations). I think this kind of review is for the most part not worth doing, unless explicitly requested.
James Cary
@James Cary
12/14/08 01:27:08PM
32 posts

Aging chocolate


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

holycacao,Thanks for the link. I hadn't considered what might occur as a result of mixing in the fermented acids into the bar.I have some Ocumare chocolate that I haven't touched for about 8 months in a glass container + plastic lid and so far it seems to have just gotten "flatter." It just doesn't have the same punch in once had. Maybe I'll give it a go on more of a schedule, set aside some chocolate and taste it on a monthly basis.Alan,Great quote. I had been going a similar line of thinking regarding aging and conching (I'm guessing the part of conching which is intended to drive off volatiles and not really so much of fat dispersion/coating and particle shape molding). That aging seemed to be a way to compensate for unwanted flavors caused by an earlier step in the process (acidity / astringency from fermentation). But, it seems that there is more going on.As for oxidation, it seems then a vacuum packed chocolate may not age as well? What do you store your chocolate in?Also, thanks for the info regarding re-tempering. The changing of the fat crystals had me wondering whether it was a good thing or bad. So do you recommend to eat chocolate as soon as possible after it has been properly re-tempered?One other thing that keeps coming to my mind is that the beans are roasted, similar to coffee and other seeds and nuts. With these other roasted products, aging only causes the loss of the desired roast flavor. Does aged chocolate undergo a change in its roast flavor?
James Cary
@James Cary
12/14/08 04:50:08AM
32 posts

Aging chocolate


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

I've noticed chocolatiers mention that they age their product. Why would that be beneficial? Or is it marketing to put it in league with other aged products (because I understand aging cheese, wine, and alcohol allow for further enzymatic/biological activity to occur and in the case of wines, vinegars, and alcohols to allow the vanillins and other flavors of the container to mix in, but as far as I can tell chocolate does not undergo the same) ?
updated by @James Cary: 04/22/15 10:42:20AM
James Cary
@James Cary
12/07/08 08:45:22PM
32 posts

solid cocao liquor


Posted in: News & New Product Press

The agave nectar says its liquid. Is this more of a ganache? Although, the amount of nectar is quite a bit smaller 1/4 cup to 2 3/4 cup cocoa + carob (albeit, 2 cups are added butter. mmm butter). Are there troubles with seizing?
James Cary
@James Cary
12/08/08 01:15:22AM
32 posts

Chocolates of Ecuador -- Arriba, Nacional, CCN51


Posted in: Opinion

Thanks! This is fascinating. More stuff to research..It's really quite amazing how many of the variables in chocolate are still being explored.
James Cary
@James Cary
12/07/08 08:27:13PM
32 posts

Chocolates of Ecuador -- Arriba, Nacional, CCN51


Posted in: Opinion

I've been wondering if anyone has been doing something like this.. Or even utilizing different strains of yeast, acetobacter to get new and different flavors.. Please do let us know what you find..
James Cary
@James Cary
12/01/08 02:01:13PM
32 posts

Intentional Chocolate: Fact or Hooey?


Posted in: Opinion

I haven't done a quantitative analysis like this since college. So, I don't remember -- is the P value that they measured good? From the language it seems so, as it affirmed their hypothesis that the added intention 'ingredient' made a difference.The interesting thing is that this study is double blind -- the participants are not aware they are eating intentional chocolate. So that tosses out the whole placebo effect argument. The sample size seemed possibly a bit small. Other factors in their life (family / work life, exercise habits, etc) also make a big difference in terms of how one feels. The groups may not have been random enough.Also, I couldn't tell but are they using the same chocolate food ingredients? Or are they pairing the intentional chocolate to a Hershey's bar or something like that. Maybe the intentional chocolate has higher concentrations of chocolate's known psychoactive chemicals.I'm skeptical of the study, but I do believe in the placebo effect as others have mentioned. Stress can be reduced and thus a feeling of being healthier can be increased by allowing yourself to be more receptive to positive thoughts.
James Cary
@James Cary
11/24/08 02:02:39AM
32 posts

Single Origin and Cacao varietals


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

Clay, color me impressed. Chateau d'Yquem? $600 a half bottle?! I know where I'm going if I've got a wine question. :) Oh, and I think I'm actually on the flipside of the chocolate-wine debate -- $200 is a little out of my range for wine, but I didn't think twice about purchasing the Amedei Porcelana bar (in Italy.. when the dollar was weak!) :)Good idea to drop the 'single' part of the phrase and just go with 'origin.' I think that's where I was getting hung up, too.So as a chocolate consumer, it would be best when comparing chocolate from different chocolatiers to ensure that the origin and year match? And the origin must also match in its specificity (both must be general region, or both must be more specific region, or both must be specific plantation) in order to be fair. Oh and the chocolatiers must also match in their honesty in the representation of their chocolate origin (either both honest or both dishonest) ;) But, more hopefully through more consumer awareness, those dishonest chocolatiers are forced to change their ways or put out of business.
James Cary
@James Cary
11/20/08 08:38:49PM
32 posts

Single Origin and Cacao varietals


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

If it's not explicitly labeled with the type of cacao used, how often does a single origin (such as Ghana, Madagascar, etc) utilize only one type of cacao? In other words, if I buy single origin cocoa beans or a single origin bar, am I likely to be buying chocolate from several different types of trees?Could one make the analogy, if you were to buy a single origin Ghana, it would be like buying a Napa wine and if you were to buy single origin Ghana forastero, it would be like buying a Napa white wine, but there is no way to buy a Napa Chardonnay type of chocolate, yet? Or am I thinking about this all wrong?
updated by @James Cary: 04/09/15 08:44:39PM
James Cary
@James Cary
11/19/08 03:08:58AM
32 posts

wwoof-ing on a cacao plantation


Posted in: Travels & Adventures

Hi,I'm interested in becoming a wwoof (willing workers on organic farms) on a cacao plantation. Preferably in Mexico (but willing to look at opportunities in all of Central America and India as well). Has anybody had any experience and have any recommendations? I much appreciate it!James
updated by @James Cary: 04/09/15 02:20:32PM
James Cary
@James Cary
12/14/08 05:02:34AM
32 posts

Raw chocolate-- what is it really?


Posted in: Make Mine Raw ...

Just reading Jane Goodall's Harvest for Hope. She notes that baboons and chimpanzees have been observed to "forage in the blackened ground after a brush fire has swept through. It seems that they like the taste of singed insects and certain plant foods."Could be our ancestors long ago mastered fire for taste first, then it was learned that fewer people got sick from the cooked stuff.But, I agree that taste is a very valid reason to consider raw vs cooked. I'll take a raw piece of tuna over a cooked one anyday (as long as it's ok to consume raw).
James Cary
@James Cary
12/12/08 05:56:45PM
32 posts

Raw chocolate-- what is it really?


Posted in: Make Mine Raw ...

But most orange juice, at least in the States, is not consumed raw. Most is at least pasteurized.Certainly there's a tolerable amount of pathogens as Clay mentions. But, I would think in order to insure safety on a mass scale, it will take a considerable amount of resources. Cacao pulp seems like a nice place to set up a homestead if I were a pathogen. And the process of drying is still mostly done in the open to all manner of creatures who might make a deposit of pathogens.I've done some reading (I believe in On Food and Cooking by McGee) which says that certain foods can actually be digested better when consumed cooked. What is the thinking in this regard to chocolate? Does it play an effect on the body, maybe the liver (or possibly the intestines) as has been suggested?Thanks for bringing up this topic, Sam and Lemm. I've really been wondering about this, too.
James Cary
@James Cary
11/24/08 02:15:13AM
32 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Thanks. For some reason, I was also thinking that depending on how the sucrose is obtained it might have a different flavor (cane, beets, etc).Why is there no organic/Fair Trade refined white sugar? Is it just too costly for organic, Fair Trade companies to make refined white sugar?
James Cary
@James Cary
11/23/08 03:33:37AM
32 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Also, are you considering flavor in non-100% chocolate? Does sugar contain some flavor of its own?
James Cary
@James Cary
11/21/08 06:59:41PM
32 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Thank you, Brady and Samantha for putting together a great set of information regarding the flavors of chocolate. This information was very enlightening.
James Cary
@James Cary
11/19/08 02:57:22AM
32 posts

Chocolate videos


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks for the links. Very cool one by Mr Scharffenberger.