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another fun question
May 26, 2004
1:02 am
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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How are you all finding the humidity in your wine coolers? Ideally it should be below 50% to prevent damage to chocolate, so I’m wondering if condensation is forming in the 14-18 C temperature range.

Be interesting to know your feedback, seeing as there are no affordable ‘consumer’ solutions we can recommend for home chocolate storage.

cheers.

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

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
May 26, 2004
9:02 am
alex_h
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since i have no wine cooler i cannot say much. my styrofoam box will hold me over the summer i think. i keep a couple of bars in it and that should suffice.
for the summer months i intend to store less.

has anyone tried a cigar humidor? but they are probably useless when it comes to temperature control.

May 26, 2004
6:51 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Well, I haven’t had any problems with humidity. I keep my chocolate wrapped in its original packaging, then in an airtight Ziploc bag, then I store them all in small plastic containers (Tupperware). So if any humidity does exist, the chocolate probably won’t be harmed too much by it. I’ve been storing my chocolate in the wine cooler for over a year, and all my chocolate still tastes and looks fine. Some condensation does form on the back wall occassionally, but it drips down and is emptied out.

When I go cross country for grad school, I’m thinking about buying another wine cooler and ordering a new supply of chocolate, mainly Domori and Amedei, to enjoy there.

May 31, 2004
8:28 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Seems like “chocolate consumption” is associated with “eating chocolate bars” ;-)

Montegrano, where did you get Cluizel cocoa powder from? I’ve only tried Valrhona, Droste (bought at Amsterdam airport) and Slitti. Only Slitti was worth the effort I think. Tasting and smelling like chocolate – rather sweet aroma though. Cocoa powder is not my favorite for hot chocolate (or cocoa) as quite much sugar is often necessary – I better like to have this pure chocolate taste. The best bars keep their taste when mixed with hot milk – even when not pre-tempered/melted. There are boxes of “hot chocolate chocolate” (dunno what to call it) from Bonnat which I haven’t tried and from Max Brenner. Max Brenner’s was excellent although he had some flavored ones I wasn’t that happy about.

Alex, what is Domori hot chocolate? Powder, chocolate pieces? I’ve tried Zotter (all of them), but I didn’t remember them as that good. I might change my mind, though. I’ll buy again next time I go to Austria or Germany.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 1, 2004
5:02 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I got the Cluizel cocoa from a local store here in Virginia, USA. They don’t carry it anymore because they got stuck with the Chocovic cocoa that was sent to them instead. The Cluizel cocoa was rather bitter but still very good, if I remember correctly. I haven’t tried the Chocovic yet, but I do know that it’s Dutched. The store also has cocoa from Dagoba, Schokinag, and Scharffen Berger. I haven’t tried Valrhona’s yet, but I can pick some up easily. How is it? I have a box of Caffarel cocoa, actually, and I’ve been meaning to try it. It’s a couple months past the expiration date, though (and it’s not defatted, so I wonder if it’s still good).

June 1, 2004
4:51 pm
alex_h
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lone, they’re sticks of chocolate.

<<ce qui fait du bien au palais ne fait du mal à l’âme>>

June 1, 2004
10:55 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Monte,
Valrhona’s powder was to me quite ordinary – compared to Slitti Valrhona was nothing but dust! I’m not that much into powder anyway, but Valrhona seemed to me as only slightly better than Droste. It was more aromatic though. In general I use it for making hot cocoa (which I’ve basically stopped since I prefer hot chocolate), garnish, on truffles and so on. Not too bad judged on its own, but compared to Slitti pointless to me.

Alex H,
I’ve heard of the Domori sticks – I just forgotten. As far as I know they’ve even got sticks with chili – kind of a must I think. Are they like Zotter’s sticks or thinner, more or less soluble?

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 1, 2004
11:12 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Mmm … here’s a confession – I’m EATING the Domori sticks right now! They are just too tempting and never seem to get as far as a drink …

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
June 2, 2004
8:35 am
alex_h
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lone, i too must make a confession: at home i hardly ever make hot cocoa or hot chocolate. i just saw the sticks at a shop here. they had the chili ones as well. so i can’t really compare. check out domori’s website and they have pictures.
when i get the urge for hot chocolate i usually go for the really evil cheap stuff: swiss miss with marshmallows. i know! a sin! but it’s really really rare. i’ve been going for tea more and more lately, when it comes to warm drinks.

martin, i thought the same thing when i saw them on the website. they look delicious and i can’t imagine them making it to the drink :-) maybe i should go and get some! it would also be a nice treat for when guests come by for breakfast or on a cold winter’s day.

<<ce qui fait du bien au palais ne fait du mal à l’âme>>

June 2, 2004
10:13 am
elektra
United Kingdom
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Another confession. I never, ever make hot chocolate – it’s too diluted, and almost certainly too sweet for my taste. The last time I had one was in a refuge at the top of a mountain, to replace lost fluid and calories.

Elektra

June 2, 2004
10:20 am
alex_h
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my rule of thumb when i order hot chocolate/hot cocoa somewhere: never add sugar! either the stuff is sweet enough on its own and doesn’t need extra sugar or it’s “bitter”. in the latter case i’d rather drink it as is, since you i never seem to get the right amount of sugar. i prefer sugar-free drinks anyway (and i don’t mean “diet” drinks which are such nonsense imo).

<<ce qui fait du bien au palais ne fait du mal à l’âme>>

June 3, 2004
7:13 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Your confessions may stem from a confusion. I looked at Domori’s web site some months ago and I remember their sticks. I guess it was the people in my shop who told me they’d planned to stock Domori and mentioned their hot chocolate sticks in particular. May be they’re not intended for hot chocolate? I use to make hot chocolate from eatable bars so why not eat hot chocolate sticks if they taste good?

As for some of you guys’ reluctancy to hot chocolate: To me it seems like hot chocolate is too much considered a drink for children – mild and sweet. Most often hot chocolate means that the chocolate flavors are killed or faded out. To what extent this happens depend on several factors: Some chocolates do not keep their characteristics after tempered and mixed with milk, some need to be tempered properly in advance, some need to be mixed with boiling water before mixed with milk, it depends on how much and which sort of milk, how much sugar added (if at all), what kind of sugar (fructose, brown sugar, cane sugar etc.) used, whether vanilla, chili or other spices are added – and so on. I can’t see any regularities in all these factors. According to my experience, some great bars are nothing but excellent as hot chocolate while others equally great bars don’t do well as hot chocolate. My favs are Amedei Toscano Black 70% and Michel Cluizel’s Los Ancones. They keep their taste although there is no journey through different notes as when eating the bar as it is. The whole experience depends on the factors mentioned above. Sometimes sugar or vanilla (or even chili) is necessary to bring back the flavors if they’ve been faded by the milk. Other times adding sugar and other stuff makes it a better, though different from eating, experience. It is certainly a matter of personal taste, but I’d also say it has to do with the chocolate bar itself. Most places serving hot chocolate seem ignorant to the potential of the drink and I don’t think it’s a fair basis for judging hot chocolate as such. Even one of the most respectable coffee houses in Vienna who ha got a detailed, very professional, presentation of hot chocolate in their menu, serves this boring and too sweet machinemade drink. Price is probably a matter. Properly made hot chocolate is very expensive. I think I paid €5.80 for a mug of the only ultimate hot chocolate experience I’ve had in a café (in this case a patisserie).

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 3, 2004
10:45 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I’m looking at the Domori box right now, and it has instructions for making hot chocolate! So I think that is really what it is meant for.

Try Manjari in hot milk (as server in the Chocolate Society shop). This does the job for me.

Martin Christy
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http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
June 4, 2004
5:29 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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You know what? Forget all the additives. Just melt a bar of chocolate and drink it. Now THAT’S hot chocolate [:D]

June 4, 2004
10:03 am
alex_h
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martin, what’re the ingredients of the sticks? how much cocoa?

<<ce qui fait du bien au palais ne fait du mal à l’âme>>

June 4, 2004
10:36 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Monte, in principle I agree totally – although it’s more like eating chocolate. The simplier the beter. But, not all bars are as good melted as solid. Even when mixed with milk only some bars are d*** good but some get even better with more stuff. After all, melting does something with the tasting experience although the basic notes are still intact. I don’t consider adding stuff is a way of compensating – it’s just improvement. But of course, if you ever happen to stay in a nursing home, I’ll make sure you’ll get your hot chocolate [:p]

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 5, 2004
9:35 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Lone, when I reach that age, I’m afraid drinking might be the only way I can fit that much chocolate in my mouth [;)] Well, melting the chocolate certainly affects the taste of the chocolate too, since, as we’ve discussed before, temperature is a crucuial factor in detecting flavors. However, if I were to drink hot chocolate, I wouldn’t be so concerned with detecting subtle flavor nuances, as I would be in just enjoying the overall flavor and sheer pleasure of consuming so much chocolate at once [:D] This would probably be the only exception for me, though.

June 5, 2004
11:51 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Any exception is good enough. Chocolate, no matter in what form, need no excuse or occasion. (Well, there are some health issues that set some limits though …)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)