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Organic Chocolate Opinion
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itsmecheryl
Roseville, USA
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January 25, 2008 - 3:53 am
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Ok! I am going to carry my first bit of organic chocolate and I have narrowed it down to three bars.

Which of THESE three are your favorite?

Nirvana Belgian Chocolate 72%
The Grenada Chocolate Company Organic 71%
Cao Grande Noir 70% Valrhona

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Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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January 26, 2008 - 12:08 am
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quote:


Originally posted by itsmecheryl

Ok! I am going to carry my first bit of organic chocolate and I have narrowed it down to three bars.

Which of THESE three are your favorite?

Nirvana Belgian Chocolate 72%
The Grenada Chocolate Company Organic 71%
Cao Grande Noir 70% Valrhona


Pressed to choose one, I'd go with the Valrhona. Nirvana is a Barry Callebaut remoulder, and while I like the idea of supporting a small company like the Grenada Chocolate Company their bar is not quite yet up to snuff.

However, I'd consider strongly other choices. It's really too bad that Domori seem to have exited the market because their organic (Chacao) was the best by far. But now Pralus has released a line, with excellent results. There are some misses here: the Ecuador just doesn't work, but the Madagascar is excellent as is the Dominican Republic. Terra Nostra produces another excellent organic (can anybody confirm or deny whether they're bean-to-bar?). So before leaping, I'd see what else may be found, if possible.

Alex Rast
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Eshra
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January 26, 2008 - 12:58 am
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I am actually going to disagree with Alex here. I would go with the Grenada bar. It has a very...untamed flavour that I have come to like very much. The cacao solids are not overwhelmed by the cocoa butter and there is a just a punch of cocoa-y goodness. It's texture isn't very good at all...but on flavour alone..this is my choice. Valrhona's Cao bar is overrefined and possesses far more cocoa butter.

Sean

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Polarbear
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January 28, 2008 - 1:21 pm
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Don't know the Nirvana. The two others are both very good, but the Grenada is best - as Eshra says, a wild, untamed very chocolaty flavour.

Other good organics are Pronatec 71% and Vivani 70% Ecuador. The best organic ever (ever!!!), Claus Meyer 67% unfortunately does not seem to exist any more.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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January 28, 2008 - 6:06 pm
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Terra Nostra's 73%, I thought, was exceedingly disappointing; it's very mild and subdued presumably by the blending. With an Ecuador component, I don't think Peru and Trinidad were the best options to throw in there. Theo, by contrast, did an excellent job with their three-way blended bar (TN could take a lesson here). TN's 60%, which they use as a base to add other flavors to such as nuts and caramel, is significantly superior to the 73%; it's disappointing not to see it in unflavored format.

Is Nirvana's organic the same base for Chocolove's organic bars as well? I just finished the 73% recently and have mixed feelings about it.

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Alex Rast
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January 29, 2008 - 2:04 am
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quote:


Originally posted by Polarbear

Don't know the Nirvana. The two others are both very good, but the Grenada is best - as Eshra says, a wild, untamed very chocolaty flavour.
Other good organics are Pronatec 71% and Vivani 70% Ecuador. The best organic ever (ever!!!), Claus Meyer 67% unfortunately does not seem to exist any more.
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This makes me think of an interesting simple poll. Style on organics seems to contain 2 camps - those who prefer an organic chocolate to taste "wild" and untamed, and produce a very "rustic" chocolate, and those who aim for a refined, highly "polished" chocolate, whose bars tend to be "approachable". What style do people here prefer?

I know I'm definitely for the latter, which is why I would go for the Valrhona over the Grenada.

But, each camp has their negatives, and I think illustrate the dilemma in organic these days. The risk, and usually the reality, with the former group is the bars will taste harsh, bitter, chiding. The risk, and again usually the reality, with the latter is that the bars will taste mild, generic and uninteresting (rather as Monte points out with Terra Nostra's 73% which because of my style preferences I think is still excellent but it could indeed use more oomph and character). It's this style contrast that IMHO has made a truly excellent organic chocolate so elusive - that most manufacturers seem to be more interested in particular market positions than they are in producing the best chocolate overall. In other words, really, there shouldn't be any reason to evaluate organic chocolate by standards different from conventional - they should follow the same guidelines and a great organic would be great against all comers, organic or not.

Monte, I didn't mention Theo because the blend is IIRC fair trade but not yet organic, but I agree it's better than any of those mentioned. The Madagascar is their only fully organic to date and while it's reasonable I think still has a fair bit of improvement to go.

It's been my experience that of organic sources, in general the Dominican Republic seems to produce the best overall-average results and I've encouraged Theo to introduce this, but they weren't overly excited about the origin - I'm not sure why. I've heard that Los Ancones is an organic grower - do they actually have certification or not? If so Cluizel could do a grand service to the world by getting the bar certified - and then we'd have an organic that was a hands-down, no-argument-about-it winner that could truly stand up to any competition from any source, organic or not.

Alex Rast
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itsmecheryl
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January 29, 2008 - 2:24 am
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Thank you! Interesting input!!

Which of these do you think might be enjoyed by the majority, or rather, the general public?

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ChemicalMachine
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January 29, 2008 - 6:18 pm
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I think that the Valhrona would be more enjoyed by the general public.

No one is going to find the Valrhona offensive, and it will be greatly enjoyed by many.

One the other hand, some will find a raw, unrefined tasting bar unpleasant.

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Polarbear
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January 30, 2008 - 8:03 am
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I have tasted several really bad organics - which I have deliberately forgotten the names of, but may remember if you throw out names - but I think that the Valrhona bar, Pronatec and Grenada all are excellent chocs in their own rights.

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

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choconeill
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January 30, 2008 - 11:56 pm
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Equador Chocolate Boxes

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choconeill
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January 31, 2008 - 12:13 am
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Organic Chocolate, like Coffee just doesnt work, Fairtrade Coffee and Cocoa has a place- as does leaf products such as tea

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choconeill
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January 31, 2008 - 12:15 am
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I would stock the Grenada if they would reply to me, but I guess they signed a pretty tight contract - so no Island of Grenada Chocolate for Ireland!

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Polarbear
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January 31, 2008 - 9:37 am
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quote:


Originally posted by choconeill

Organic Chocolate, like Coffee just doesnt work, Fairtrade Coffee and Cocoa has a place- as does leaf products such as tea


Do you really mean that no organic chocs are good???

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