January 15, 2005

Amedei chat

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Written by: Martin Christy

Just met up again with Alessio and Cecilia Tessieri, founders of Amedei, while they were on a visit to London. Had another excellent chat about fine chocolate in general, the continuing Chuao saga, and the ins and outs of selling fine chocolate on the web – always good to spend time with people really in touch with the cacao bean and so passionate about it’s treatment and origin. (And with some strong opinions I might add!)

It’s taking some time for traditional businesses to fully grasp the idea of the internet as global market – a place where regional exclusivity just doesn’t make sense. The Amedei siblings seem to be getting the idea though, and I’m looking forward to helping to promote their products and ideals a lot more this year – look out for press features soon, and after an invite to their factory in Italy, which I hope will be this year, some detailed reports on Amedei’s production.

Alessio also updated me on the latest news of the ‘Chuao wars’ – the fight over exclusive rights to the legendary cocoa beans from this famous remote village and region in Venezuela. At our last meeting Alessio showed me official letters from the Venezuelan government asking companies other than Amedei to stop producing chocolate called ‘Chuao’ as only production from the village, which has an exclusive deal with Amedei, can be result in a chocolate bearing this name. In the last year both Valrhona and Pralus have ended their bars of this name (hence Valrhona’s new ‘Palmira’ bar as a replacement), but the French company Bonnat continues to sell a ‘Chuao’ bar, despite the letter asking them to respect the people of Chuao. Of course there are two sides to every story, and I’m hoping to get a response from Bonnat regarding this. Exactly where their beans are coming from is a mystery, but their’s no doubt the chocolate has some Chuao like notes in there – maybe the source is
from a nearby region? I’ve no doubt this one will rumble on and on …

Writing this reminds me of something else Alessio told me the previous time we met, during Chocolate Week in London last year – that Chuao are working to make their production organic. This will be just one more reason to sample one of the world’s great chocolates.

Ok, you may notice the absence of Chuao from the Chocopaedia, it’s been on the review list for quite a while, but every time I start on a review, I’ll feel I’m in an atmosphere that doesn’t do the chocolate justice, as ever, coming soon …

About the Author

Martin Christy
Martin Christy is Seventy%’s editor and founder and is a leading voice in the chocolate industry, promoting the cause of fine chocolate and fine cacao and those who produce them. With twenty years’ experience of fine chocolate, he has travelled extensively visiting cocoa plantations and meeting the world’s top producers and is a consultant to the fine chocolate and cacao growing industries worldwide. Martin is Judging Director of the International Chocolate Awards, which he founded in the UK with Kate Johns of Chocolate Week. He is also Acting Chairman of the new fine cacao and chocolate industry association, Direct Cacao and is a member of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative Tasting Panel. He is also a freelance writer about fine chocolate, contributing to UK magazines and several books about fine chocolate.



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