January 10, 2005

Madagascan adventure begins

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Written by: Martin Christy

Had a very interesting meeting today with a Lancaster development organisation working with Madagascan companies to produce finished chocolate bars made at source from locally grown beans.

Madagascar has become famous in the fine chocolate world in recent years as top fine chocolate makers have looked there for good quality beans, while Criollo supplies from Central America have reduced through disease and politics. This searching has resulted in some of the finest bars around: Valrhona’s Ampamakia and Michel Cluizel’s Mangaro being of particular note. These are also some of the most accessible bars, with light, fruity notes easy on the palate.

Madagascar though is one of the poorest countries in the world, and is mostly known to us for the commodities it exports, like cocoa beans and its famous Bourbon vanilla. This new project aims to redress this balance by marketing completed, branded, packed products in the European market. Along with other member of the Academy of Chocolate, we’ve been very privileged to be asked for advice on this project and have been giving notes and opinions on early versions of the chocolate in development. Already we’ve collectively fed back some comments and advice and have seen the chocolate come on significantly.

Currently one of the projects development team is in Madagascar helping to develop the recipe further and I’m eagerly awaiting new samples to be shipped over. More info when these arrive.

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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