October 13, 2009
I went to this event yesterday. It was one LCW might well use more of.
Mott Green started off with a sobering reminder of the political realities in chocolate countries with a description of the specific bureaucratic hurdles they had to overcome with the Grenada Government. Too much to go into, but let's say that time and again they needed to find creative solutions to really absurd limitations.
He has done a lot of tinkering with DIY chocolate equipment and gave us quite a lecture of the different machines they either built or bought. Interestingly, they started out with a home-built wood roaster but have abandoned that in favour of a propane roaster because of temperature-control issues. Mott has an intuitive feeling that perhaps wood roasting might be better if it could be controlled but thought the effort might be too much for possibly little gain. One of the major needs in the industry is small-scale production equipment: Grenada as well as others resort to a combination of home-built stuff, lab equipment, buying expensive pieces if and when they can afford them, and general ingenuity. He was quick to point out that chocolate-making on his scale isn't really a profit-making venture, not in the commercial sense, and is mostly about a social statement - a reality he thinks is true of any chocolate production at that scale.
Most importantly, though, I think the chocolate is a VAST improvement on earlier Grenada chocolate batches that I've tried [:D]. They've clearly come a very long way in experimentation and process control. Now the chocolate is certainly good enough to go up against the likes of Cluizel or Valrhona, and for an organic chocolate, in particular, stands out dramatically. Assuming that they can continue to improve I think it is proof positive as Domori Chacao was a few years ago (sorely missed - I wish greatly that they'd revive the line [:(]) that organic chocolate really can be as good as conventional. A full review will appear shortly.