Forum Activity for @Brady

Brady
@Brady
04/16/09 10:43:30PM
42 posts

Chocolates of Ecuador -- Arriba, Nacional, CCN51


Posted in: Opinion

I've often asked people about the attempts to plant Arriba outside of Ecuador. Some people say it can't be done. Not that the trees won't grow, but that they have failed in that the flavor profile is not the same. Speaking with a company rep at the 2008 Fancy Food Show in NY, Republica del Cacao has claimed that the ocean currents off the coast of Ecuador make a unique passage that in someway is not replicable anywhere else and therefore creates an environment that leads to this unique flavor of Ecuadorian Arriba. They actually had a binder at their booth with various photos, one of which was this diagram of global ocean currents. El Nino does create unique environmental changes along Peru and Ecuador. Could this go along one of the theories Samantha wrote in an earlier post in this discussion?Since this was also started as a general discussion about Ecuadorian chocolate I thought it would be interesting to list the companies that produce the chocolate in Ecuador. There are quite a few and my hopes is to hear from people who have tried these chocolates and can comment on flavor profile. It's been said that the Arriba flavor profile is almost non existent, but with so many companies in Ecuador, my hope is that some small Ecuadorian company might actually have access to some very interesting beans. For example, Bouga Cacao has a 77% bar labeled Hacienda Bosque de Oro. I had this bar and think it's the most obviously floral bar I've tried. I should add that those who tried it with me didn't really agree. However, I thought it was clearly lavendar and I'm not that good at picking up floral notes. I'd like to hear what people's impressions are or know of the following companies. Granted, some of these I only know the name. Not so sure these smaller companies even have a web site and unless you go to Ecuador you probably can't get them.VintageRepublica del CacaoCaoniChchukululuCacaoyereKallariPacariFloralChocolate del Castillo (not to be confused with El Castillo del Cacao of Nicaragua)San JoaquinVincesHoja VerdeBouga CacaoVere (not really an Ecuadorian company but the chocolate is processed at Tulicorp)At least five of these companies process at Tulicorp. It might also be interesting to know more about Tulicorp and where do the other companies process.
Brady
@Brady
10/03/08 11:36:21PM
42 posts

New Chocolate Store opens in NYC


Posted in: News & New Product Press

TCL member RunnerNYC and myself paid a visit. The store is very nice. It is spacious, has an upscale design with an educational component. Something needed in NYC. Also, the staff were great, very accomodating people. All the products sold are made under the name "Pure Dark". They have several interesting products. But from our point of view the labels on the products did not provide enough information. No label of cocoa % yet the products come in 3 different %. If I remember correctly it is 50%, 57% and 65%. With the educational component and the name Pure Dark we expected to find origin chocolate also. They do not produce in this way. The chocolate is a blend of West African and South American beans (someone can correct me if I got this wrong) and all seem very sweet. To our disappointment the dark chocolates all contain milkfat. The bars aren't labeled or advertised as milk choc or dark milk and they seem to all be sold by the description 'dark chocolate'. Furthermore, the ingredient label also includes 'artificial ingredients' at the end. As RunnerNYC quickly noted, you'll also see on the packaging that it is a product of Mars. Apparently, two Mars employees started this division of the company. But all the products, as we understand it to be, are made at the Mars factory in NJ. Seems like a version of Hershey's Cacao Reserve. Not as exciting as having a small scale B2B producer open a store but still worth a visit.
Brady
@Brady
07/01/08 09:46:22PM
42 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Olorin- The discussion has went in another direction, but I found some things tonight that might interest you. (Taken from Cocoa by Wood and Lass): Fat(cocoa butter) content of a bean is normally between 45- 65% of a dry bean. Most forasteros fall between 55-59% and criollo beans have a lower content of about 53%. Fat content of the bean also varies according to the growing season or environment. Beans developing during a dry season have a lower fat content.
Brady
@Brady
06/29/08 11:31:17PM
42 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Alot of companies don't have the nutritional information on the package either. It's my understanding that different bean types have different cacao solid/cacao butter ratio but 54% percent cocoa butter per bean is considered the average. In this way you could calculate the amount of cacao solids in a bar without fat content indicated on the package. A rough estimate of 50% is even easier to calculate. I forget which beans have more fat but I think it is forastero from Ghana. At least I remember that the butter content in those beans is supposed to be harder, which makes them more suitable for milk bars.
Brady
@Brady
07/04/08 10:01:25AM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Cocoa, 4th ed. by Wood and Lass: ISBN0-0-470-20618-7 and 063206398x both work. Hans recommended the book.
Brady
@Brady
07/03/08 11:38:01PM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

I've now found in a book the Catongo and another exception, the Djati Roenggo, a white seeded Trinitario from Indonesia.
Brady
@Brady
07/03/08 11:13:45PM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Alan- Thanks for the follow up. A quick internet search identified it as a white seeded cacao of high cacao butter content.Clay- Interesting news about Bonnat. Those 3 bars will set me back a cool $51 plus shipping, but I'm looking forward to it. BTW- Sorry you missed our porcelana tasting, it went quite well.
Brady
@Brady
07/01/08 09:28:39PM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Olorin- I probably shouldn't have used the word 'meat' to describe the inside of the bean, but that is what I was referring to. As Alan clarified, cacao pulp (or mucilage) surrounds the beans and is a thick moist substance that you first see when a pod is cut open. Each bean(or seed) has a thin shell. I was using 'meat' to refer to the bean without the shell. Alan's picture of the porcelana pod is great. It's actually better than the picture he refers to in Presilla's book. Although if you are not familiar with her book you should look for it. It does have alot of great pod, tree and bean photos. Alan's photo is of a white pod, but pod color isn't always white with porcelana and isn't the best indicator of what type of bean is in any pod. Overall, I thought pod color, size and shape were poor indicators of what type of cacao bean it holds. On the other hand, I thought physical characteristics of the bean were a reliable way to determine cacao type.Alan, what other beans are you aware of with a white color that isn't criollo? Even M. Presilla alluded to the proof of a good porcelana was the pure white color (paraphrased from pg 90). Also, did you happen to see the photo I was referring to at Amano's booth?
updated by @Brady: 09/07/15 02:32:51PM
Brady
@Brady
06/29/08 10:19:33PM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

I spoke with a NYC based Regional Sales Manager from Valrhona today at the Fancy Food Show in NY. He confirmed for me that the Palmira is indeed Porcelana. He also said it is the same as the Porcelana de Pedegral bar that Valrhona sells in Europe. If I understood him correctly, it was a marketing decision not to pacakage the bar with Porcelana indicated on the box because the large majority of consumers would not be familar with the term.Furthermore, I discussed porcelana with a few other people at the show. The Mexican version of porcelana, that Pierre Marcolini and now Coppeneur have made bars with, is not considered a true porcelana. Regardless, Art Pollard of Amano, had a slide show presentation of photograghs at his booth. One of which was a porcelana bean from the estate in Mexico (located in Tobasco) that grows them. The meat of the bean was purely white, clearly resembling porcelana in appearance. It was a beautiful picture. Apparently there is only one small estate in Mexico with this bean, currently owned by a lady in her 70's, who inherited the land from her father.
Brady
@Brady
06/23/08 12:29:44AM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Gwen- I don't know how to explain the fruitiness in the Valrhona Palmira. It seems to fit the Valrhona profile though, so likely it is intentional. I don't think there is any deceiving manipulation. Hans probably has the best answer in that variation in fermentation could be playing a role. I think part of Valrhona's style is a light roast and a deliberately shorter fermentation (Anyone can set me straight on this point if I am wrong). The shorter fermentation resulting in more acidic flavored chocolate. Could this acidity level be likely bringing out the fruity flavors we experience? Being slightly more specific, I found Palmira 2005 to be fruity, tangy, rich with vanilla notes coming through. The 2006 by the way, was not as rich or deliberate. It resembled a chocolate brownie at times. Also, reviewing my tasting notes, the Coppeneur Mexican Porcelana also had a tangy dark berry note to start, but overall the bars were very different.Theobroma- I had tried to confirm by emailing Valrhona that the Palmira was indeed a Porcelana. I received an auto-reply awhile ago stating someone would get back to me but have never received confirmation from Valrhona. I did however read it on Han's site in a review of the Bonnat Porcelana. Coming from Hans, it was confirmation enough. As evidenced from his posts on the other three sites he posts to, Han's is full of information.
Brady
@Brady
06/21/08 11:25:08PM
42 posts

Porcelana Cacao The best Cacao in the world?


Posted in: Opinion

Myself and six other friends recently had an evening we called the Porcelana Bash. We compared seven different Porcelana bars (Bonnat's, Coppeneur (Mex. and Ven.), Amedei, Valhrona (Palmira 2005 and 2006), and Domori). The styles of the makers varied greatly and came through in each bar. Beyond makers we found a difference in the 2005 v. 2006 Palmira. RunnerNYC has posted a few pictures on her TCL page. In one of her pictures you can see the difference in color of the bars. That impressed me in that pure porcelana bars should be lighter in color with a reddish tint. Some of ours were pretty dark. The Coppeneur from Mexico matched the appearance description the best. None of the bars could be passed off as being similar to the others. The differences between bars were great but there were some similarities between some of them too. Across all of them, we didn't find any bitterness and little to no astringency. Except for the Valrhona, no strong fruity flavors. I think the Bonnat matched the flavor description of what I expect a porcelana to taste like. For me, it was Domori's ultra creamy texture that clings somewhat to the roof of the mouth that made it stand out. It had a honey and chocolatey flavor.
Brady
@Brady
05/18/08 10:54:50PM
42 posts

Hi Everyone


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Jim- A sincere welcome to The Chocolate Life. I've seen your site before and just went through it again. It's well done and fun to go through. I liked reading the reviews. My feedback is in relation to your search for the best "chocolate" bar. Great mission, but there is very little chocolate in the 12 bars on your top five list. Even if you extracted the chocolate from all 12 and combined it. I know there are members of TCL who share your enjoyment of these bars. I also read your profile. You're mission is light hearted. I just prefer we give them another label. "The Best Candy Bar in the World!" Keep up the great site though. Brady
Brady
@Brady
05/19/08 10:14:01PM
42 posts

Top 10 most expensive chocolates


Posted in: Opinion

My find isn't near as outrageous as the prices of Cocoa Gourmet or Noka, but still expensive. I recently went in Dessert Studio (the old Michel Cluizel boutique) and saw they were selling Amedei Chua 50g bars for $19.50 and Amedei Porcelana 50g bars for $22.50. Thats almost $10 per bar more than Chososphere and the other shops in NY.
Brady
@Brady
05/03/08 01:00:18AM
42 posts

Weird Flavors and Inclusions in Chocolate


Posted in: Tasting Notes

DeBrands "Sweet Potato Pie" bar was probably the weirdest I've had. Not even sure if they are using actual sweet potatos.
Brady
@Brady
06/24/08 11:34:24PM
42 posts

Mast Brothers Chocolate- bean to bar producer out of Brooklyn, NY


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I tried another Mast Bros. This time it was their Dark Milk 65%. TCL member Rumi had a dark milk tasting a couple days ago. We put the Mast Bros in a lineup w/ Pralus Melissa, Bonnat Java, Bonnat Surabaya, Domori Latte Sal and Weiss Chocolat au Lait Entier. Everyone seemed to like the Mast and I picked it as my favorite of the lineup. I thought it was quite complex. Very dark flavor, roasted, short spicy notes in the middle, caramel appeared toward the end with a pleasant coffee flavor in the aftertaste. It resembled a hot chocolate drink at times. Another bar worth getting ahold of.
Brady
@Brady
04/22/08 09:59:03PM
42 posts

Mast Brothers Chocolate- bean to bar producer out of Brooklyn, NY


Posted in: Tasting Notes

A group of four of us tried the the Mast Brothers origin bars. Three bars labeled Venezuela 72%, Ecuador 66%, and Madagascar 64%. Due to a lack of major buzz generated about this company, we tried these bars with little to low expectations. Very small company operating in a kitchen in Brooklyn. Starting from the beginning, the visual appearance of the packaging is very cool. Heavy duty paper with various prints from floral to musical notes. No ingredients label to hint at what's inside. The mold is basic but the bars all had a very nice appearance with few flaws and wrapped in foil. Although the thickness was noticeably uneven. Most importantly, the experience of tasting them surpassed our expectations. Smooth texture and even melt for each. Bitterness well controlled. They also had a pleasant and fairly long aftertaste. Each bar exhibited the unique flavors of their respective region. The Madagascar was fruity, Venezuelan had subtle notes of berry but chocolaty flavor quite noticable, and the Ecuadorian bar was spicy with a cinamon flavor and some coffee notes. The Ecuadorian bar was so impressive we were suspicous of flavors being added. None the less, these bars are worth getting ahold of. Only available at a few locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at the moment.
updated by @Brady: 04/10/15 12:31:16AM
Brady
@Brady
08/27/09 10:34:11PM
42 posts

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


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I'm adding the following:Fresco, http://frescochocolate.com/default.aspxFounder Rob Anderson in Bellingham, WA, started producing approx. Nov. 2008Black Mountain Chocolate, http://www.blackmountainchocolate.com/Founder David Mason, North CarolinaOlive and Sinclair, http://www.oliveandsinclair.com/Founders David Sellers and Scott Witherow, started producing August 2009I see Soma is added to the list. Do we want to make it a North American list? Then I suppose we should include Choklat. I am not adding, but am eagerly awaiting bean to bar from this Canadian chocolatier, soon to be chocolate maker:Wild Sweets Origin, http://www.dcduby.com/chocolate/bean-to-bar.phpFounders Dominique and Cindy Duby, Richmond BC, CanadaBradyUpdated List:Amano Artisan ChocolateAmbrosia (ADM-owned, bean-to-couverture)Askinosie ChocolateBittersweet Chocolate Cafe (Seneca is doing some micro-batch bars)Black MountainBlommer Chocolate CompanyCioccolato (located in Wyoming and Mexico--bean-to-bonbon)De Vries ChocolateDe Zaan (ADM-owned, bean-to-couverture)Escazu Chocolates (just starting to release a bean-to-bar line)Fearless Chocolate Company (raw)FrescoGhirardelli (Owned by Lindt in Switzerland)GuittardJacques TorresKraft (German-owned)MarsMast BrothersMerkens (ADM-owned, bean-to-couverture)Nestle (Swiss-owned)Olive and SinclairOriginal Hawaiian Chocolate Factory (also grows their beans on American soil)Patric ChocolatePeters (Cargill-owned, bean-to-couverture)Rogue ChocolatierSacred Chocolate (raw)Scharffen BergerSoma Chocolatemaker (actually in Canada)TazaTchoTheoVan Leer (Belgian-owned)Wilbur (Cargill-owned, bean-to-bar)World's Finest Chocolate
Brady
@Brady
04/22/08 09:24:34PM
42 posts

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


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I just remembered, Casey started a similar discussion in the Uncategorized Forum covering all bean to bar making countries.
Brady
@Brady
04/22/08 09:18:14PM
42 posts

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


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Complete List:GuittardScharffen BergerTheoPatricDevriesAmanoAskinosieTchoMast BrothersOriginal Hawaiin Chocolate Factory (also grows their beans on American soil)TazaTchoThere are several more companies, many of them larger companies, but I'm not sure the point was for one person to complete the whole list.
Brady
@Brady
07/04/08 10:13:09AM
42 posts

To conche or not to conche?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I spoke with Claudio Corallo's son at the F.F. Show in NY. He talked about not conching. Because his dad is an agronomist and they control every step of the process from growing the trees they believe their cocoa does not need conching. Based on their reasoning that conching dispells the valued flavors of the cocoa and if treated properly they would not have a need to dispell any off flavors since their wouldn't be any. Another process he talked about was drying. The environment is too rainy on Sao Tome so they do not sun dry. They created their own heated drying table.
Brady
@Brady
04/11/08 10:07:05PM
42 posts

Pralus packaging


Posted in: Opinion

Is anybody annoyed with Pralus's packaging? I like bars that can be rewrapped without having to get a ziploc bag or more foil. Pralus used to use a clear plastic bag. It was thick, durable and could be folded over and resealed to store a partially eaten bar. The packaging they changed to a while ago is a foil wrap with paper on the outside. I understand foil and paper is a good choice and possibly the plastic wrapper they used before could have imparted a slight odor that might mask the flavors of the chocolate. My problem is the foil they use now is too thin, it tears easily (especially at the corners if you are not careful) and makes it difficult to rewrap using the same foil. Making matters worse, they use an adhesive on the paper that attaches to the foil. This makes it almost impossible to to open the bar without tearing the foil from one end to the other of the bar. The paper wrapper simply can't be folded nicely around the bar either once it is opend. Domori uses a sealed plastic wrap (again the risk of an unneccessary odor infecting the bar, even if ever so slightly) inside the box, but you can easily fold the wrapper over the end of the bar and slide it in the box without taping it if you don't plan to store it for too long. Ideally, I like the foil wrappers that Valhrona and Cluizel use. They seem to be thicker, aren't adhered to other packaging with glue and can be refolded and placed back in the box for longer term storage. Any thoughts?
updated by @Brady: 04/10/15 08:44:53PM
Brady
@Brady
10/22/08 10:08:07PM
42 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Samantha, Thank you for the time you spent sharing this great information. I hope many others read it too. This is what I was looking for with this post. Brady
Brady
@Brady
06/14/08 10:41:15PM
42 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hans: Thanks for the book recommendation. I've have seen this book online while doing other searches but never actually used it. I looked it up today and it is available at two libraries near me. I hope to have it in my hands in the next week.
Brady
@Brady
06/09/08 10:48:05PM
42 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Theo BromaThanks for the link to FCIA. I hadn't seen their site before last week. I hear now that they will be at the Fancy Food Show in NY this month.Brady
Brady
@Brady
06/05/08 11:04:38PM
42 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Theobroma- Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad someone read it. If you have anything to add or change, please post it and I'll update the document. I wanted to add to my original post that there are actually three ideas I find useful when trying to understand flavors and experiences. 1. the inherent regional characteristics of cacao 2. harvesting and post harvesting practices (found in the notes I posted) 3. styles of the individual chocolate maker. It's #3 that I didn't mention in my original post. As I'm sure you are aware, many chocolate makers have a trademark flavor that you can identify in any one of their bars and say this is Pralus, or this is Amedei, no matter which bar you pick up. We may be starting another database here that tries to examine the styles of individual makers and interpret that style in some way. I think it will be difficult to do but worth the effort. Most companies aren't going to give away too many secrets though. Brady
Brady
@Brady
04/11/08 09:01:51PM
42 posts

notes on flavor


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Genetics, terroir, fermentation and drying along with other post harvesting and processing stages can all play a role in the flavor of the chocolate we eat. Trying to understand why I experience what I am experiencing is a part of the enjoyment for me and also has enabled me to appreciate the skill of the makers of these chocolate bars. I was hoping this forum could improve on my "Notes on Flavor". It is a table that lists a flavor or mouthfeel with a possible explanation. There are definitely genetic and regional differences in cacao. That is really a bit more than I am addressing. I refer to notes by Peter Rot and Karen Hochman on thenibble.com (http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/chocolate/flavors-2.asp) for those descriptions of regional characteristics.Between that type of list and the type of list I started it should be a good way to understand the flavors and experiences we have with the chocolate we eat. Any help correcting or adding to my notes on flavor is the idea behind this discussion. Also, if any one has any other ideas on understanding how flavors and mouthfeels are developed in single origin chocolate or blended chocolate it would be interesting to hear.(Clay: What is the best way to add my file to the body of the discussion? It would be great if it could be viewed without having to open it as an attachment.)
updated by @Brady: 04/10/15 08:08:45PM
Brady
@Brady
06/29/08 10:51:33PM
42 posts

Comparing the styles of Chocolate Makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Olorin-For what it's worth (and I'm not sure it is worth much) I'm going to attach the spread sheet I had started rather than retype the entries individually. I'm very hesitant to post this but I did start this thread originally. I have some basic information I had put in a spreadsheet that maybe you or someone else could build on to attain our original goal. I've taken out a lot of information regarding flavor profiles as alot of people, and I'm tending to agree, find these generalizations inaccurate. Also, the data I have left could very well be inaccurate so be open minded. I'm finding it very difficult to connect the dots with basic information that I have. After talking to several makers individually, I have not found one to admit to any standard formula or process that they use to attain an identifiable characteristic as a maker. The answer by most is that they vary the process with each bean as needed. I imagine that is true and so I'm not sure how to further pursue this post. Going back to Hans' House Tour on thenibble, his narrative approach is alot more interesting and useful. The practices of the individual makers is quite different and interesting, I just think I've tried to simplify it too much with this spreadsheet comparison. Also, it is created in Microsoft Works Spreadsheet, so hopefully you can open it.
Brady
@Brady
06/09/08 10:59:24PM
42 posts

Comparing the styles of Chocolate Makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Theo BromaTo add to your latest list of categories I have two more: aging (a rarely mentioned process that several makers do) and equipment. As far as equipment, I'm wondering if we'd find any connection between companies who for example, all use the Universal.Company:Country:Ingredients:Roast:Conching time:Fermentation:Aging:Equipment:Characteristic taste:Characteristic style:Misc:We could place each entry individually with each post, just the way I started the discussion or we could make a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet would be easier but most people wouldn't open it. If we entered everything manually we could copy and paste things to a single list when we think we're done. I have information on several companies in my notes already but may not get time to start entering in the discussion for a few days.Brady
Brady
@Brady
03/28/08 10:29:51PM
42 posts

Comparing the styles of Chocolate Makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Clay:I viewed the openrecord demo. I trust your judgement on this since I'm not familiar with other software. I think it would work and seems simple enough to use for everyone. It's not all that attractive but I think it would do well to serve the main purpose of organizing data and possibly linking it to other databases (such as Sera's Chocolate Slotting Mapping). I have a feeling the dead space will be filled with google ads. I find that distracting. And on a page that is all white and set up more like a spreadsheet, it might even be uninviting enough that people wouldn't participate. Just a thought. I realize it's free software. With The Chocolate Life site itself, you have color, photos and a background. Would this be implemented to make it more appealing for use and would you still feel like you are working within The Chocolate Life site? I hope I'm not out weighing visual appearance over functionality. Also, how much can people overwrite and change the original format? Can the database essentially be hijacked and transformed into something different than the original database? A couple of functions I'd ideally like to see, but not sure if it's worth the effort at this point. 1. A "search" feature. 2. A forum attached or linked so that people could make requests and discuss content.Brady
Brady
@Brady
03/21/08 08:59:15PM
42 posts

Comparing the styles of Chocolate Makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

For a chocolate connoisseur or an aspiring one, I think a study of the styles of individual chocolate companies is very useful. A few years ago, a website called The Nibble, provided a tour by Peter Rot, called 'The World's Great Gourmet Chocolate Producers'. It was a comparison of how each differed in style. I was very impressed with this 2 part tour (written in 2005 and 2006).I'm hoping Chocolate Life members would like to create a database of the styles or characteristics of bean to bar chocolate producers. A similar database would be useful for those who produce bon bons and truffles but I'd prefer to keep the database's in separate discussions.I'll start with a couple that I have on my list as an example of what I have in mind. Any corrections to my listings are welcome as well as improvements in how to document the styles.BonnatCountry: FranceIngredients: no lecithin, no vanilla, extra cocoa butterRoast: darkConching time:Fermentation:Misc:DomoriCountry: ItalyIngredients: no lecithin, no vanillaRoast: darkConching time: shortFermentation:Misc:GuittardCountry: USAIngredients: less cocoa butterRoast:Conching time: shortFermentation:Misc:
updated by @Brady: 04/10/15 05:25:22AM
Brady
@Brady
12/31/10 12:03:18AM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

What I want to see is the most accurate labeling today's technology can provide. That includes genetics but it shouldn't stop there. And I do think more accurate geography could be easier to implement and more meaningful. Take for example, Hacienda San Jose, where alot of bean types are grown. Their Chuao does not taste the same as the ones found in Chuao Village. I think that reinforces what you and Seneca are saying? I think a more specific label could also give the consumer insight to the quality of post harvesting practices, if we start to see more plantation names, certain reputations might be formed. Even broad origins give some insight to post harvesting practices. Overall, I wonder how it is possible to appreciate the chocolate we have without really knowing what it is?
Brady
@Brady
12/30/10 11:46:01PM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

I got ahold of some of these Peruvian Nacional in '09 and posted some of my pictures of them on my chocolatelife page. If you check them out they are currently the first 4 pictures. You'll see both purple and white beans. I'm looking forward to trying the chocolate made from them. I just wonder what the profile will taste like. As you mention below, genetics isn't everything. Will the storied floral flavor of the Ecuadorian Nacional be present?? Geography also plays a part.
Brady
@Brady
12/26/10 09:34:21PM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

Clay, Thanks for posting the links to this. You were right, everything I've read on these releases today focus's on the criollo. I have to admit, I was hoping for (and expecting) another classification system. Also, we didn't get the actual research paper today so maybe that will come too. Brady
Brady
@Brady
12/13/10 11:51:02PM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

I think we may see another classification scheme in an upcoming paper by aPenn State research group. My understanding is that it will be published by the end of the year. Clay, do you know what to expect from this?

Brady
@Brady
10/09/08 10:10:51PM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

Samantha, I'm glad to see you found this discussion. I read the study (thanks for the free link!) this week and found it exciting that this work has been done and someone can actually propose a new classification.Have you or anyone else found an interpretation or commentary on this study(do you have your own commentary)? As you noted, more studies still need to be done. But, now I'm wondering how easily could a new classification be applied. If genetics were needed to determine the differences how easily could the international cocoa trade identify these populations. As Clay mentioned with the grading systems, maybe small companies could start using the system for identified populations and the trend might trickle up. It looks like Curaray could easily be used for a big part of Ecuador. Even there though, some clusters of Nacional were found.Also, Clay, you mention above that pods on the same tree can have different genetics. If this is very common then I would imagine that only producers working directly with farmers could make good use of this system. I just didn't see in Motamayor, etc. study how any of the clusters could now be identified with organoleptic techniques. That would seem necessary for this system to succeed.
Brady
@Brady
05/03/08 01:20:54AM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

Alan, thanks for the suggestions. I'm always interested in reading suggestions. I've definitely seen Bartley's book. There's a big portion of his book devoted to drainage systems that I skimmed through, but overall found quite a bit in the beginning of that book as well as the last quarter of it that interested me. His address's the topic of cacao classification in terms similar to Cheesman. As for your other suggestion from 'Tropical Science', I flipped through my notes and don't believe I have seen that one. I'll look for it next time I go to the library, unless you know an internet link to a full text version. I found it tonight on some sites I need to pay a fee for. While looking for that article I came across the following:http://www.ifama.org/tamu/iama/conferences/2007Conference/SymposiumPapers_files/1067_Paper.pdf
Brady
@Brady
03/17/08 11:27:37PM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

Brendan, Gwen and Clay- Glad you joined the discussion.I think Brendan's right, it would be an astonshing taxanomic effort. You can get a good sense of that just by looking at the paper wrtten by Cuatrecasas (Clay, thanks for attaching the link.) I've seen it cited before, but never read any of it until this week. I agree with Gwen though. Keeping the system unchanged just to avoid confusion doesn't seen right to me.Renaming the Family is a start, but the Family, Genus and Species aren't as important to the consumer. When you talk about the subspecies or varieties, I think that would be most useful to a consumer and the grower as well. From the trade point of view, there are only two varieties: criollo and forastero. If you have flavor bean (Nacional for example) listed as a Forastero, is the farmer getting a premium for their beans? (This, I'm sure opens another whole topic about farmers benefiting from a premium). Another reason to update the system is usage of pod shapes(Amelonado) as a way to differentiate varieties, as this has been shown to be fairly useless. Although, when some 80+% of all beans being classified as Forastero, and they are growing all over the world, they couldn't possibly be the same or of equal quality. For example, genetics has identified markers that significantly differentiate between upper and lower Amazon forasteros. If it's too unrealistic to expect a new classification to differentiate groups, then I think the consumer deserves to have the grade at which the beans were rated for quality. Just because the beans are Madagascar doesn't mean the manufacturer used premium grade beans.Concerning the Ecuadorian bean specifically. Arriba is often thought of as synonymous with Nacional. It is my understanding that Arriba is only a subtype of Nacional. I also haven't found it written anywhere that Nacional beans are found outside Ecuadorian borders but I'm not sure why we think that way. Every other type has traveled the globe, why couldn't a Nacional bean have been taken (smuggled even) at least across the Colombian border. I still have questions about Santanders beans and seen another forum that refers to them as the same as the Ecuadorian Nacional.
Brady
@Brady
03/14/08 12:10:25AM
42 posts

Reclassification of cacao varieties?


Posted in: Opinion

Is it time for an updated classification of cacao varities? Today the most commonly accepted classification of cacao 'varities' is as follows:1. Criollo2. Forastero2a. Nacional3. TrinitarioEven when E.E. Cheesman wrote "Notes on Nomenclature... " in 1944 he felt the system above was inadequate. Today, and back then, the terms Criollo and Forastero were not used as defined and were also too broad to apply to the distinct differences in cacao. Today, many pure varities are almost wiped out and replaced with hybrids. I thought that in 2008, genetics must have surely identified markers to clear up the controversy surrounding nomenclature and in turn new nomenclature created to distinguish all the varities that exist. It has been very difficult to find an answer to this and I still have not found one. Along the way, I have come across numerous alternatives to the above. And in 2008, as Cheesman wrote in 1944, it seems that "changing nomenclature at this point would cause even more confusion and out of convenience the terms have been kept, if in some cases they are indicated with qualifiers indicating origin."It seems clear to me that genetics does identify that Nacional was incorrectly identified as Forastero, but where it belongs is still not agreed upon by everyone. Some research identifies it as a subtype of Criollo while another as a separate variety of it's own.Does anyone think cacao should be reclassified? If so, does anyone want to take a stab at suggesting an alternative classification model?
updated by @Brady: 04/16/15 06:37:51PM
Brady
@Brady
03/27/11 12:00:29PM
42 posts

Bean to bar chocolate makers


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hi Louis,

What is the relationship between Ki Xocolatl and CACEP, a chocolate manufacturer in Tabasco?Is Ki Xocolatl subcontracting CACEP for the manufacturing? FYI, I live in Battery Park City, so I will try to attend the Battery Place Market tasting on April 3.

Brady

Brady
@Brady
03/17/08 11:44:07PM
42 posts

My Top Ten places to buy choc in NYC (but there are so many more...)


Posted in: Opinion

ChocoflyerAll the Brooklyn locations on my list are easy to get too without a car. Both the Chocolate Room(5th ave, two blocks from the 2,3 stop at Bergen St.) and the Cocoa Bar(7th Ave, same train stop) are in Park Slope. Get off the same train at Clark St. in Brooklyn Heights to go to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and Jacque Torres. It's a little further walk than the Park Slope places but a fun neighborhood(Dumbo) to explore if you haven't been there. The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory is right under the Brooklyn Bridge in a little white house and J. Torres is a couple blocks away. If you like Pizza, Grimaldi's is my favorite and it's right up the block.
Brady
@Brady
03/08/08 10:42:16PM
42 posts

My Top Ten places to buy choc in NYC (but there are so many more...)


Posted in: Opinion

It's fun to make lists. Here's my picks.1. The Chocolate Room (Brooklyn)- 2nd best selection for bars and a nice cafe2. The Chocolate Shop at the Food Emporium (68th and 3rd Ave.)- largest selection for bars in NYC(Amedei, Pralus, Felchlin, Domori, not bad)3. Pierre Marcolini (UES)- only interested in the bars4a. Jacque Torres (King St. and Hudson)- my favorite hot chocolate and favorite cafe. 4b.(Brooklyn) feels like Europe5. Michel Cluizel(Union Sq)- Cluizel bars are great, also my favorite place for Clay's meetups6. Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory- the chocolate fudge is sweet but great on ice cream7. Kee's- my favorite fresh truffles8.Grom (UWS)- named origin chocolate gelato, they also use Valrhona9. Cocoa Bar (Brooklyn)- I love the atmosphere and the patio out back.10. Christopher Norman- for the feeling of being lost in the Financial District and finding these beautifully painted truffles
Brady
@Brady
03/10/08 10:58:15PM
42 posts

Inside Rating Systems


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Hi CaseyI enjoyed reading your thoughts on rating chocolate. It's a topic that deserves more attention. Outside of Seventypercent's site, I haven't seen any detailed and comprehensive lists. I like their system but it is somewhat cumbersome for me to use and like you, the bottom line for me is the taste experience. Their system is weighted though, and well thought out. To me, their ratings have done alot to have chocolate labeled and appreciated like other fine products.I think rating, comparing and taking notes is a great way to learn about chocolate. More useful, it has helped me discover what I prefer. I don't have a great taste memory so I started my notes as a form of a shopping list. It has taken alot of chocolate but my note taking skills have improved. Regardless of the notes on flavor, texture, etc., I like to write my short overall opinion of the bar and then assign a number rating. I use a number scale of 1-5.5- my absolute favorites4- purchase frequently3- purchase on occasion2- eat for free or buy to retest1- probably won't eat this againThe problem with my system is that with such few choices, I want to differentiate between the three's, fours, etc. and I start adding .25, .5, or .75 to the score. This usually is the result of comparing chocolates back to back. They both still belong in the 3 category but I do want to make a note that I prefer one over the other. It gets even more confusing when my taste's change and I decide to go back and start changing scores. Overall, the notes and lists are just for me and they serve the purpose of learning and creating a shopping list.I've used this system for a couple years and have tried to come up with ways to improve it. I haven't come up with a way I like better but am open to suggestions. It's interesting to factor in price of the chocolate (I only take notes on solid unflavored bars) but also a bit complicating. Price changes from store to store and fluctuates greatly with the packaging. It's hard to make a direct comparison so I haven't implemented this.