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Cluizel Lecithin free bars
August 25, 2005
11:43 am
le noir irlande
Ireland
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August 4, 2005
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I've just completed tasting a good range of single origin/estate bars from Michel Cluizel, and was very impressed with the overall quality - great depth and density. What I do note as part of their marketing is that they do not use any soy lecithin in their chocolate making. Nearly all other producers seem to use it, but I found nothing lacking - and indeed would say the quality of Cluizel bars is probably above most others - in the taste. Just how important is soy lecithin in the mix, and why do most producers still use it, when Cluizel have obviously acheived great success using none.

August 25, 2005
12:41 pm
Sebastian
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September 30, 2004
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Lecithin normally doesn't add anything to flavor (lecithin does have it's own flavor, but it's fairly mild and the usage rate in chocolate is very, very low) - it's purpose is an emulsifier. What this means is that many chocolates aren't fluid enough (think of water vs ketchup) to be 'poured out' into a mould - squares, bars, etc. Lecithin effectively makes the particles of the chocolate/sugar/milk/whatever more slippery, and thus the chocolate as a whole finished product becomes more fluid, making it easier to mould. Many high cocoa solids products are sufficiently fluid that they don't require lecithin, as cocoa solids refers to be the liquor (which is ~50% cocoa butter) as well as additional cocoa butter that may have been added (but not always). The more free cocoa butter you add, the less viscous the product becomes. Lecithin isn't required - it's use is essentially as a cocoa butter replacer, to allow you to use less cocoa butter (save $) and keep the same fluidity.

August 25, 2005
5:11 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Not to beat a dead horse, so here's an additional comment to put lecithin's use into perspective: One part lecithin replaces 10 parts cocoa butter, and it typically comprises about .5% of a chocolate's weight. As you can see, Cluizel is spending a bit more money by exlcuding it.

But, if you've done some research about Cluizel and his philosophy of "Noble Ingredients," you would know that soy lecithin is not - by his definition - "noble" enough to make its way into chocolate. He wants to present the cacao in its most natural form without such ingredients.

Other manufacturers are producing extraordinary chocolate without lecithin as well. For example, there's Bonnat, but their addition of extra cocoa butter is quite noticeable. And then there's Domori; their processing techniques are minimal, and the end result really is something unique that you need to try. Some of Castelain's bars are devoid of lecithin, as is the entire Plantations line, the latter of which uses solely Arriba, so the fat content is naturally lower.

August 25, 2005
10:50 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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March 17, 2005
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How interesting about Plantations Arriba, didn't know it has less cocoa butter content. Never tried it, not here anywhere.
I quite often wonder if lecithin so really nececcary and try to avoid it, just don't think fine chocolate calls for cutting corners. I mean even with all my love for Amedei, others equal, i'd choose Domori purely on the grounds the latter one beeng w/out lecithin.

August 25, 2005
11:05 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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And Bonnat is really buttery, true. Not that I'm complaining too much, cacao butter been apparently not bad at all.
Is it a mechanical reason, different equipment,is it so hard to process cacao mass without lecithin or additional cacao butter? What's Domori have or doing to make a difference?

August 25, 2005
11:30 pm
Sebastian
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70% cocoa solids can mean many things. It can mean 70% liquor, which means your viscosity is higher. It can mean 35% liquor and 35% butter, for example, which means your viscosity is much lower. Both are in all liklihood going to be fluid enough to mould into bars w/o the need for lecithin. They may make depositors a bit messy, tho. Perhaps their pumps aren't sufficient to handle the added viscosity. Perhaps their transfer lines are too narrow such that back pressure builds up when trying to pump unlecithinated materials. Perhaps they add the final fat in a tank other than where they conche, and they need the lecithin to fluidize the product sufficiently to transfer it from tank to tank. Lots of variables.

August 28, 2005
5:33 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Or maybe it's just personal philosophy and stylistic leanings [;)] Bonnat's old-school packaging certainly harkens back to a more traditional style, and it seems that they are proud to carry on tradition. And Cluizel proudly adheres to the purity of his "noble ingredients." It might just boil down to the chocolate's natural viscosity and mechanical strains because only some of Castelain's bars have lecithin, while the others do not. What is interesting, though, is that older Cluizel bars did not contain extra cocoa butter, whereas newer ones do.

Ellie, Arriba cacao is naturally lower in fat, with approximately 45% of the bean comprised of it. As a result, most manufacturers will add a proportionately greater amount of cocoa butter for a smoother texture, but consequently the flavor is subdued and somewhat watered down. It's kind of tricky to balance it all out, but Slitti has done it perfectly with the Tropicale 90%. Also, Plantations has done wonders with their 90% bar.

August 28, 2005
2:05 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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March 17, 2005
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Now I know what to wish for to be brought from States! [:D]

August 29, 2005
4:11 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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August 1, 2006
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What's that, Plantations? Check out their web-site at:

http://www.echocolates.com

Cluizel Lecithin free bars | Fine chocolate bar discussion | Forum