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Dolfin and Magasin
September 10, 2004
9:35 am
alex_h
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that's right: ultra smooth and cool. that's what i never liked about their milk bar.

September 10, 2004
10:22 am
chocolatero
london
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he he the truth is getting out
Dolfin is completely tasteless... pretty packaging
too bad it just tastes of nothing, except may be cardboard. it is vile! I am almost 99% sure it is callebaut
In fact Callebaut handles about 70% of the world's cocoa beans
so most belgian brands use it. WE DO NOT.
AS far as I know you can call home made when you process but that
does not mean making from the beans. SO in france every corner shop can say home made chocolates...

HEre are the people I know make from beans (they are VERY few)
Domori, Amedei, Varho (except for cocoa butter and cocoa powder), cluizel, marcolini, Pralus, Schaffenberger, WEiss, bernachon, Chocovic, Chocolaterie de l'opera, El rey, felchin
Please add if you know more

The issues for me are

1) are people prentending to do something they are not? Should there be a clear labeling?
2) regardless of the "PR" issue in 1), you can only ultimately trust your palate. It does not really matter where the chocolate is made.
Essentially if it is sourced properly and made well, it will be high quality (length, intensity, distinctiveness and complexity).
If it is bought in from cheap sources, it will be tasteless.
3) finally the question of value for money comes. Is it reasonable to pay up to in the UK GBP 8 for 85g for a bar? You may not be paying for the taste but for the set up of the manufatuere and the rarity of the beans (which does not necessarily mean quality). Has Origin chocolate sometines become a snobism and a way to overcharge?
my advise: trust your palate, try as many as possible and ahve reference points for evaluating the price and remember this: they are ver very few people in the world making from the beans and making all from the beans so in case of doubt, assume they don't..
4) still think homeblending is an otpion, you would be surprised by how mny professionals do not take much care in sourcing their raw ingredients. You seem to know many taste profiles so why not try? Blends of bad beans will always be crap but blends of good ones can be really good (see also my previous email re hybridization and buying process)

Regards
Chocolatero

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September 10, 2004
10:44 am
alex_h
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bonnat?

September 10, 2004
3:38 pm
choca
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The Grenada Chocolate Company

September 10, 2004
3:51 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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GBP 8 for 85g - which brand/bar is that?

One of the most expensive bars I found in London was Marcolini's and Amedei's, but it all depends on the shop, and I don't think it is fair to blame neither Amedei nor Marcolini for the pricy Fortnum & Mason.

Examples:
Porcelana (Amedei) 50 g @ Harvey Nichols = 3.75
Porcelana (Amedei) 50 g @ Fortnum & Mason = 5.5
Fleur de Cacao (Marcolini) 85 g @ Marcolini UK = 5
Fleur de Cacao (Marcolini) 85 g @ Harvey Nichols = 5.75
Fleur de Cacao (Marcolini) 85 g @ Fortnum & Mason = 6

Btw, are L'artisan's 'discs' (white, milk & dark) at sale at Fortnum & Mason? Price: 7 GBP, and size looks similar - which is why I said F&M is my nightmare chocolate shop ...

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 10, 2004
4:01 pm
choca
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and are you really saying you use NO callebaut for any of your products ? none of their origin range , cocoa nibs , powders or butters ?
On your points i would agree with most of it , labelling should be more honest especially . Origin chocolate can get caught up in the whole snob argument , but then are you not part of this yourself .
Have people new to the chocolate world forgotten the history of confectionery in this country ? We have Montezumas saying that they make chocolate from scratch and that they are the only chocolate shop in Brighton !! Lies on both counts . I do not put them in your league and
I agree that you work for a far more honest firm and that you make a good product , but what about the presentation of your chocolate bars , do you really say who makes them ? And you seem quite friendly with Rococo , how much chocolate do they make themseleves ? Then we have the chocolate society and all that entails !!

September 10, 2004
4:31 pm
choca
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Are you sure on Cluziel ?
100 % ?

September 10, 2004
5:09 pm
chocolatero
london
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from what I know Cuizel makes all.... from someone else who visited their factory and said they could survive anything with their level of self sufficience. but can ask if you have more specific questions.

No we do not use ANY callebaut, in fact we had to stop using cooca butter from Varhona as it was bought from Callebaut. (Varho does not have the cocoa presses). we took Callebaut to court last year over a trademark issue so we will NEVER EVER use them as long as I am alive!

No we do not say on labelling who make the couverture from our bars because 1)nobody else does and it would put us as a disanvantage 2) we have some exclusive suppliers and do not want other people from trade using them. However we always answer questions asked in all honesty. apart from the couverture, we make everything else, except we do not candy the peels and ginger ourselves.
We have a factory tour during the choco week so we have nothing to hide...

In fact i would prefer if everyone said exactly what they use because I think we use more expensive raw materials than others but at the moment very few people are honest about what they do or do not.
Does that make us the best of a bad bunch?

MArtin: not trying to pick on anyone again... just responding to a question.

I don't know why you are all picking on fortnum. I think they have done a great job in increasing the quality of what they have on offer.
and frankly there is worse... my nightmare place is harrods!

regards
Chocolatero

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September 10, 2004
5:48 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Choca, I recall Martin told he had a video from Cluizel's factory. Sounds credible to me.

http://www.seventypercent.com/.....hichpage=2

Chocolatero, the problem with Fortnum & Mason is the price level. People complain that Amedei is too expensive, and I agree it is expensive, but F&M makes it far worse by selling Porcelana for 5.5 GBP which is quite much more than Harvey Nichols 3.75 - and they are not exactly cheap either. It doesn't help having some great stuff in stock when scaring people from buying it. I don't even consider Harrods as I couldn't find much _chocolate_ there at all ;-)

Are you 100% sure about Valrhona's cocoa butter? It is quite interesting as my local Valrhona provider ranted on a quasi-good chocolatier for using Callebaut - claiming Valrhona was the one and only, the best and the only honest ...

As for who are the best of the bad - no one knows ;-) - and preferences are so individual anyway. It is just great to have a chocolatier on the forum and I would love to see others, too.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 11, 2004
5:18 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I don't think that's too bad of a price for Amedei's Porcelana because it really is worth it. Domori's Porcelana, however, is slightly better, imo, and is cheaper per gram than Amedei's. So all in all, the better deal is with Domori, both price-wise and quality-wise. Amedei's regular blended bars are indeed overpriced for their quality but still worth trying or even eating occasionally.

September 11, 2004
6:53 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Agree, Montegrano. What I simply love with Amedei's Porcelana is that it is so different from all other chocolates, and still holds high quality. I like Domori's a lot as well, but I think the two Porcelana's are quite different. Amedei's is more like a piece of art. As for the price; I wouldn't stop eating apples even if they are more expensive than pears [;)]

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 12, 2004
12:47 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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Amedei's Porcelana does taste a lot different than Domori's, but of course there are similarities. Domori's Porcelana has more a brown grassiness and a stronger "bread" flavor. It reminds me of eating the crust of a piece of hearth bread slathered with sweet butter. I even tasted honey. Also, the fruitiness is slightly more tart but still tasting like strawberries. I think Amedei's flavors are a bit more subtle with the main flavors being the cream and strawberries. I actually enjoy that pairing a bit more than Domori's, but I find Domori's "brown" flavors much more interesting, and overall, I'd say Domori's is slightly more complex. Of course, both are ultra smooth and creamy, without any bitterness or astringency whatsoever.

September 12, 2004
12:24 pm
choca
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Thanks very much for that answer Chocolatero . I,m starting to like you !!!
The Callebaut rep , who I talked to at a trade show recently said that you did buy stuff from them , so you must have needled her , which is good ! I saw the callebaut range coming out and thought that would clash with your name , I hope you are succesful in court and the very best of luck with that case .
I am pleased with your comment on Rococo and would put them in the same place as The Chocolate society . Presentation and a big head with little respect for history or learning the trade .
How do you feel about Sara jayne-staines and this talked about accademy of chocolate ? if it is run by Rococo and s j-s will it be of any use at all?

September 12, 2004
1:02 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I have to jump here and add to the argument that taste comes first and the source second. I think origin is very important, but the reason we are so obsessed with it is because the industry as a whole has hidden the origin of chocolate, so that we don’t know there is a better tasting chocolate out there - well now we do. This does not mean though that all artisan 'origin' bars are good, and all mass produced chocolate is bad (though if it looks industrial, it IS a good time to ask questions!)

As well as a lot of ‘standard’ chocolate, Callebaut also make some good chocolate - they produce the whole range from vanillin based, vegetable fat laden stuff that I wouldn't even call chocolate, to not bad origin and organic. I like the organic Rococo use, and I would rate it quite highly (in fact I did!) I like what Rococo do with the chocolate, even if the way they add flavours to the bar is not the 'right' way to do it - they throw stuff in and you get crunchy bits of herbs and stuff - I like it, it's interesting! I love what L’artisan are doing - choosing different couvertures for each of their chocolates and finding the best flavour matches, this is fantastic, but does not for me take away the value and interest of different approaches - celebrate the difference I say! Anything other than Rococo’s own tempered bars though, well - they have their market and I'd rather not talk about it ...

Chocolate Society are very much a Valrhona company and don't really hide it – even their organic bar is obviously Valrhona, and says so all over the block if you buy it as couverture (quick plug – now available in our shop!) The Academy of Chocolate aims to do what the Chocolate Society set out to do, but was too early (before it became just a retail brand) - promote fine chocolate in the UK and beyond. Both myself, and Anne/Chocolatero (I hope) are also involved and for the first time nearly all of the main figures in UK fine chocolate are coming together to do something really constructive. There’ll be much more information about all this soon, but I’m personally very excited about it and the position of the Academy on origin and quality will be pretty much the same as the view of this site.

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
September 12, 2004
3:43 pm
Lone Ly
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Thanks for the comment, Martin. I agree that taste comes first, but for me honesty is an issue too. I don't like to be tricked to consider something genuine and homemade when it is not.

Rococo is one flower on the meadow I wouldn't be without. Personally I do like even a couple of Dolfin's bars - their mint and the one with cocoa nibs. And there are others, too.

I have a question about sources:
Chocolatero, you said there is no Callebaut in your products. You also informed us that Valrhona buy their cocoa butter from Callebaut. But your Tonca Bean milk chocolate - which is simply great - is made of Valrhonas milk chocolate according to your web sites. If Valrhona's cocoa butter is Callebaut's, then I presume the different Valrhona bars contain Callebaut's cocoa butter as well. Is it still possible for you to "escape" Callebaut? Just wonder ...

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 13, 2004
9:09 am
choca
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it is very hard to escape the callebaut range .

on the question of the academy i hope it is nothing like the chocolate society and i am worried that it is London centred and the key people involved are self proclaimed experts , not voted by their professional peers , and that a grounding in the craft is not recognisied .Is Sarah Jayne Staines an expert in our craft , are the founders of a site set up as a hobby interest talking shop that is now becoming a marketing front for a shop really the ones that should be representing our industry .?
Discuss ? !!

September 13, 2004
9:18 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by LoneLy I don't even consider Harrods as I couldn't find much _chocolate_ there at all ;-)


He, he, they were stuffed by fancy pralines from the BigBadBelgians etc - but very few bars. I went out with only two bars - a Jivara from Valrhona, and a 70% from the Max Brenner shop - the last one was awful, by the way.

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
September 13, 2004
9:49 am
Lone Ly
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BigBadBelgians - I love that name, Polar. And I can get Valrhona at my local ICA (comparable to Sainsbury's or a slightly more posh version of Spar), yet I still don't consider it a chocolate shop. And in most countries there are small candy stores self-claimed specialist on chocolate, but all you can find of chocolate is Lindt. If I am to operationalise 'chocolate shop' myself it must be a shop that sells at least a fair number of high quality brands.

On Max Brenner, I have only tried one of their bars, the 70% I think it was. Not good at all. But their drinking chocolate is OK (the ordinary one, didn't like the orchid oil which I think was too perfume-ish).

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 13, 2004
10:26 am
Lone Ly
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Choca, on the academy I am not the one to answer, but I am pretty sure it is VERY different from the Chocolate Society, cf Martin's message above. I would like to 'answer' your further questions with another question: You put it as if self-proclaimed experts are different from candidates voted by their professional peers. But, if the professionals vote in a few people, aren't they to be considered the trade's self-proclaimed experts? Consequently one can question their independency? I guess, and guess only, that this trade is still so small that it is inevitable to make it London centered and so to speak impossible to find skilled and experienced experts that are independent. What seems promising is that there are both dedicated non-professionals and professionals involved.

As for "a site set up as a hobby interest talking shop that is now becoming a marketing front for a shop" I am pretty sure you mean _this_ site and moreover that L'artisan is 'represented' with a member in the forum. I don't think this forum has become a marketing front for any shop. Any chocolatier is free to become a member here, and hopefully even more will take part in the future. As for the marketing, all the members do from time to time recommend shops and/or products. In fact, I think it is quite brave of L'artisan as this group of people are quite demanding. People like the two of us do question their sources and methods which does not necessary allow them to look like the best kid in class. As far as I am concerned, I think it is great to have this opportunity to learn more from an 'insider'.

On the other hand, as I mentioned in another message, my impression is that if chocolatiers have something to say about their peers, it is usually something bad. As a consumer I appreciate all information though. Hopefully the academy is an initiative that will lead to consolidation and integration and lessen my temptation to write a choco soap ... Until then all I can do is to dream of a future in peace, and even if Amedei and Domori never get to shake hands, it might be possible to say publicly that they are both great ...

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 13, 2004
11:36 am
Martin Christy
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I confess, I am self-proclaimed! I just like chocolate, and this is it. One thing I have learnt is that the level of knowledge about fine chocolate amongst the public, journalists and many professionals is quite low, with a very small number of exceptions. Just by participating on this forum many of you have already become as knowledgeable, or more so, than many many chocolatiers and experts. So – you can all be 'self-proclaimed'! I’m not just being flippant here, I am serious.

As more information about the Academy comes out I hope any worries will be placated. A lot of effort has gone into bringing as many as possible of the major figures in the UK into the Academy, and once the basis of the Academy has been finalised, the Academy will be inviting members to join from all areas, and will be open to public membership. It is not the intention that it will become a commercial venture and will be constituted so that this will not happen.

Judge by your own impressions, but more work goes into this site than could ever be returned by any commercial interest; on the other hand like many of us here the opportunity to earn a living from chocolate is very appealing - running an online shop will help pay for all this, and feed my personal addiction!

Martin Christy
Editor
http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com

Dolfin and Magasin | Page 2 | Fine chocolate bar discussion | Forum