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Scharffen Berger tasting
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Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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April 14, 2005 - 8:35 pm
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If you haven't all already noticed, here is a little more promotion. We have John Scharffenberger over for a talk and tasting in London on 27 April 2005, full details here http://www.seventypercent.com/.....berger.asp

Forum members will get a discounted price of £20 per ticket - drop me an email and I'll send you the discount code.

Hope to see some of you there.

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 15, 2005 - 5:33 am
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Maybe he can show up for a chat session on Sunday? Oh, and btw, you need to edit the link so the period at the end gets removed [;)]

Nevermind, I did it for you. I just remembered I'm the moderator for this forum [:)]

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Polarbear
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April 15, 2005 - 8:11 am
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A virtual meeting would be cool, since many of us have too many kilometers and too few frquent flyer points to come to London.

BTW, I think Scharffenberger and Dagoba are the only American chocs that really are worth something. A friend of mine just brought me a bunch of chocs he bought in Seattle, but the rest of the dark chocs are overly sweet and taste very "American" in the worst sense of the word. Scharffenberger doesn't have a very strong personality, but they have a rich and clean taste, and a good balance og fruityness and bitterness. The 82% is the second best eightysomething I have tasted, only beaten by Marcolinis Fleur de Cacao.

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*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 16, 2005 - 12:14 am
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What other American chocolate did your friend bring back to you? You're right about Scharffen Berger being a good brand, but it's perhaps too fruity for some occasions. The sharp red fruitiness is very distinct and pronounced in all their bars, even in the 41% milk, which btw, is an excellent milk chocolate. I recently had the pleasure of trying the limited edition Cuyagua 75% bar, which is probably their best chocolate I've ever tried. Too bad it's only produced in limited quantities.

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Polarbear
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April 18, 2005 - 10:35 am
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

What other American chocolate did your friend bring back to you? You're right about Scharffen Berger being a good brand, but it's perhaps too fruity for some occasions. The sharp red fruitiness is very distinct and pronounced in all their bars, even in the 41% milk, which btw, is an excellent milk chocolate. I recently had the pleasure of trying the limited edition Cuyagua 75% bar, which is probably their best chocolate I've ever tried. Too bad it's only produced in limited quantities.



Ghirardelli, Perugina, Newman's Own, Fran's (the best of the worst), Lake Champlain...just from my memory. And Dagoba, which was the other good brand. Most of them did not have the cocoa % on the wrapping, and I think I guess why. I have only tried the "ordinary" dark chocs of S-B, how was the Cuyagua taste relative to them?

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*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 18, 2005 - 4:55 pm
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Perugina is not an American brand, but the rest are. Ghirardelli has good bittersweet "baking" bars and some decent milk chocolate. Lake Champlain is simply reformulated Callebaut, and indeed, they're way too sweet for my taste. Newman's Own is a popular organic company over here whose only decent product I have tasted is their salsa [;)] And Fran's is actually quite a high-end brand; she uses El Rey chocolate, but a lot of her products are a little too sweet for me. Some products are much better than others, particularly her roasted and spiced Macadamia nuts! These are rather addictive.

Cuyagua was wild. It was extremely tart throughout the length with a slight spicy woody tone underneath. It also has some lovely dairy notes too, such as buttermilk. Some other fruits such as peaches joined the party too, but the general tone was an extremely puckery red tartness. Just imagine crossing Puertomar with Puertofino. Texture-wise, it doesn't live up to Scharffen Berger's standards, but it's still enjoyable nonetheless. I have half a mind to order some more from http://www.chocosphere.com right now, actually.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 18, 2005 - 5:02 pm
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Polar, which Dagoba did you get, btw? And have you tried Scharffen Berger's 41% milk?

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Polarbear
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April 19, 2005 - 9:06 am
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

Polar, which Dagoba did you get, btw? And have you tried Scharffen Berger's 41% milk?



Dagoba New Moon 74%

Nope, haven't tried the S-B milk.

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Polarbear
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April 19, 2005 - 9:12 am
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

Perugina is not an American brand, but the rest are. Ghirardelli has good bittersweet "baking" bars and some decent milk chocolate. Lake Champlain is simply reformulated Callebaut, and indeed, they're way too sweet for my taste. Newman's Own is a popular organic company over here whose only decent product I have tasted is their salsa [;)] And Fran's is actually quite a high-end brand; she uses El Rey chocolate,



Thanx for the info! In fact, the wrapping on Lake Champlain stated "Finest Belgian chocolate!" Some Newman's own stuf is also sold here, so I knew about them, but not the choc. The Newman choc was Sweet Espresso - and yes, it tasted that: Sugar and coffee.

I never imaggined that Fran could be El Rey. Cannot be the Careneor series? Fran's totally lack the fruity-moldy characteristic of the Carenero. But on the other hand, the 60% with roasted nibs is the only one I have tried.

Cuyagua sounds really interesting!

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My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 19, 2005 - 3:40 pm
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Fran's uses Caoba for her milk coatings and predominantly Bucare (although Mijao may be used) for the dark, which is part of the reason you can hardly taste it. The chocolate is already sweet enough as it is, and her recipes tend to be heavy-handed on the cream and sweetness, so therefore, the overall flavor is dilluted greatly.

I recently finished off some Lake Champlain origin chocolate, and I wasn't impressed. Even the Sao Tome 70% tasted too heavily of vanilla, and the others, well...sweetness abounds.

Yeah, Cuyagua is really interesting. It's definitely an eye opener.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 27, 2005 - 3:34 pm
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Today's the tasting. I hope it all goes well. Please post the results, Martin (but I'm sure you will). It will be interesting to see how well Scharffen Berger was received.

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alex_h
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May 3, 2005 - 9:10 am
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how did the tasting go, martin?!

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Martin Christy
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May 3, 2005 - 11:16 pm
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For once we managed to write about something right after the event, not a whole year after 😉 (Still working on that Domori interview ...). If you haven't already spotted it the feature is here http://www.seventypercent.com/.....berger.asp

Scharffen Berger are going in a good direction and expect more origins soon (but not constant - only when the beans are up to it).

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
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alex_h
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May 4, 2005 - 9:45 am
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thanks for the lowdown, martin!

pleeeeease give us that domori interview! 😀

anyone else from the forum go to the tasting?

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ellie
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May 4, 2005 - 2:05 pm
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It was a pleasure of an event. Organization was absolutely flawless, and it was so good to meet Martin and real chocolate people. John Scharffenberger is a delightfull speaker, in addition to intelligent fresh approach to making chocolate. Chocolate is excellent, especially liked the fruitiness of his Cuyagua. I think it's correct to have limited editions of plantation chocolate, because the harvest just can not be very consistent really, so when you have a good one, make sense to produce a single estste bars, otherwise all consistently good chocolate has to be blended. Sharffenberger 82% has that forgotten chocolate feel, not overloaded with additional cacao butter. Great to finally have it here.
Would be fabulous to have more events like this. Big thanx to Steve and Martin, everyone was absolutely delighted.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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May 4, 2005 - 3:51 pm
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See? We Americans know a thing or three about chocolate [;)]

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alex_h
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May 4, 2005 - 3:52 pm
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wow! i wish i could have partaken!

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alex_h
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May 4, 2005 - 3:52 pm
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hey, monte, u online now?
gotta run in ten, but am in chat now...

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filou
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June 8, 2005 - 1:10 am
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was great fun, i cam with two colleagues, so apologies for french invasion
i ve moved from one good chocolate make to another, now i am at la maison du chocolat, which makes jolly good bars and specialises in ganaches. anyway john was fascinating, agree with his philosophy of blending and variability of crops
he told us he was getting new equipment coz the chalkiness in texture his chocolate is due to some lack of machinery
also impressed his science and oenology bacground still makes him talk warmly about the tastes of chocolate, scientifically infomed but not too dry, perfect
loved his style
also loved the crowd, hello to everybody

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