Please consider registering
guest

Log In Register

Register | Lost password?
Advanced Search

— Forum Scope —

  

— Match —

   

— Forum Options —

   

Minimum search word length is 4 characters - maximum search word length is 84 characters

Topic RSS
chocolate bars - what's the ingredient?
February 7, 2005
5:44 pm
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline

hello.
I am a recent convert to chocolate eating.
I have a question - I hope some of you can help me:
I have ate bars from chocolate brands such as rococo, l'artisan, and many others like varlona, amedei, but what I never quite understand is where do their chocolate come from? And how do they make it. From what I heard, they don't have their plantation nor big factory. My friend says that they just mix bought chocolates and mix their own blend and stick their logo on it, is this true? I f thats the case, I wonder what kind of brands they use - like callebaut, bellcolade? Maybe I could mix and temper my own choc. bar myself in my kitchen then in that case...?
I hope you can shed some light... thank you.

February 7, 2005
9:56 pm
alex_h
Member
Forum Posts: 1170
Member Since:
April 29, 2004
Offline

hi sam,

there are chocolate brands that do exactly as you say: mix and blend other chocolates and put their own label on the product. some add other ingredients as well.
but then you also have chocolate companies such as amedei and domori, to name but two, that are involved in the entire chain of chocolate production, ie 'from bean to bar'. that is to say they have a great deal of influence in how the beans are grown, harvested, fermented, dried, roasted, etc. etc. the resulting bar is a product of these companies controlling manufacturing each step of the way.
these are but two approaches to chocolate making. another is to buy beans and make them into chocolate, but not control harvest oneself. some companies make bars on order for brands. one example of this is this website's rio caribe bar, which is produced by domori.
hope this gives you a rough idea. for more info scan some of the other headings in the forum. somewhere there's a list of companies that make their chocolate and control the entire process.

February 7, 2005
10:56 pm
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline

thanks for your reply alex. Really useful information. But when you say 'some add other ingredients as well' - what kind of ingredients are you talking about? Like spices or extra cocoa butter?? And do you know which brand chocolate they might use to mix up? I've been cooking with chocolate recently, but never tried mixing different brands, but I might give it a try for fun.

February 7, 2005
11:43 pm
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline

sorry, can I ask one more? What about cocoa powder? do some brands who do not have big factory also just get some somewhere and then mix up their own and call it their own like chocolate?

February 8, 2005
5:27 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
Member
Forum Posts: 1462
Member Since:
August 1, 2006
Offline

Not to beat a dead horse, but in a nut shell, some brands do produce chocolate from bean to bar, while others simply use re-formulated couverture. There is a thread regarding this topic, and here's the link:

http://www.seventypercent.com/.....,chocolate

The title of this thread is, "Who Really Makes Chocolate," so read on. Also, some brands who do use re-formulated couverture might state that, but if not, the cocoa content and origin might imply which brand's chocolate they're actually using. For example, if Chocolatier A markets a 64% bar made from Madagascar beans, and it bears a heavy resemblance to Valrhona's Manjari, then simple deduction will result in an answer.

I think what alex meant by, "adding other ingredients," is that some brands will add nuts, spices, tea, etc. into the chocolate. Either that, or a chocolatier will add extra cocoa butter.

February 8, 2005
5:31 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
Member
Forum Posts: 1462
Member Since:
August 1, 2006
Offline

I forgot to mention, and I'm too lazy to edit my reply, hence another post [:D] It is possible to create your own chocolate bar by blending and tempering other bars and forming a new bar, as it were. Just keep in mind, though, which chocolates might pair well. For example, blending Chuao with anything else would be pointless, as the Chuao would dominate most other chocolate. So, you have to take into consideration flavor profile, intensity, and even cocoa content. It's a fun enterprise, actually, and it's interesting to see what turns out.

February 8, 2005
9:24 am
alex_h
Member
Forum Posts: 1170
Member Since:
April 29, 2004
Offline

heyo,
one example i was thinking of when i said some add ingredients to existing chocolates was l'artisan du chocolat's tonca bean bar. as far as i know (and i think it is mentioned here somewhere in the forum) they use valrhona's jiavara bar and add tonca beans. presto! well, maybe not so much presto ;-) but the result is heavenly. chocolatero should be able to tell you more in this case.
i don't know about the cocoa powder bit, but imagine that's one way to do it.
btw, there are two or three threads on tempering and blending. so if you have questions regarding these subjects, check them out.

February 8, 2005
9:45 pm
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline

thanks alex and montegrano - good to know that i can get good n informative replys here in this forum. Has anyone here ever tried re-formulating couverture? Which brand of chocolates did you blend?? (I'm asking this because I want to get a tip hopefully on which choc. to mix)

February 9, 2005
10:13 am
alex_h
Member
Forum Posts: 1170
Member Since:
April 29, 2004
Offline

any time, sam. i think you can pretty much blend to your delight, anything goes. trial and error. for more precise info check out

http://www.seventypercent.com/.....PIC_ID=138

and

http://www.seventypercent.com/.....PIC_ID=271

for starters. i think there is another thread on blending out there somewhere.
monte, i think this is more your ballpark. what say you?
masur probably has some good links, he's our linkmeister.

February 11, 2005
3:56 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
Member
Forum Posts: 1462
Member Since:
August 1, 2006
Offline
10

Well, do you mean couverture specifically or chocolate bars? Here are some general guidelines:
1. Know your bean. A hearty Forastero will dominate a delicate Criollo.
2. Proportion. If using Forastero, make sure its ratio is relatively low so it doesn't completely dominate the Criollo.
3. Bitter chocolate might require softer, less bitter chocolate (maybe sweeter, i.e. lower cocoa content) to reduce the overall bitterness.
4. Know the flavors. As with other ingredients, chocolate has hundreds of inherent flavors that can match or clash.

Ultimately, it's all about personal preference and what you like. Oh, and whatever you do, never blend a Porcelana with anything. It's just too good and too mild of a chocolate for that purpose. It's best as is.

February 13, 2005
10:35 pm
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline
11

monte, can i admit to my ignorance...?
I am aware of the types of beans Forastero, Criollo, Trinitario, but am not sure which bars from which company I eat that i buy use which bean... (all i know is that the artisanal chocolate bars are delicious!). Does it say on the packaging? I hear that Criollo sometimes is mixed with the other bean-types too...
from a little confused and embarrased Sam... [:I]

February 14, 2005
6:59 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
Member
Forum Posts: 1462
Member Since:
August 1, 2006
Offline
12

Some brands do tell you on the packaging which beans they use and some don't. Sometimes you might have to go to their web sites, which might have some information regarding bean type.

Certain countries and regions are known for their flavor cacao, i.e. a certain flavor profile inherent in the bean which is influenced by environmental and regional circumstances. For example, Africa is known for producing predominantly Forastero, which as you may know is a bulk bean. Most brands that source their beans from "Africa" may be using Forastero, and indeed, if they claim the beans are from "South America," this may too signal Forastero. Usually, most brands who actually use Criollo or Trinitario will use that as a central point of their marketing of the chocolate. Indeed, in this world of fine chocolate, consumers are extremely cautious and discriminating regarding this matter, and this is something they want to know immediately before investing anymore time, much less money, into something that doesn't meet their expectations. So, most of the time, you should know which beans are used. Besides, flavor says it all too. The best way to tell what beans a brand uses is to buy bars made from a certain type (Criollo, Trinitario, Forastero), then compare them. Of course, there will be discrepencies and variations, but a general, somewhat loose, pattern tends to arise. Pralus offers 10 single origin bars which are made entirely from one type of bean. Chocovic offers three.

Which bars and brands did you have in mind?

Yes, blending Criollo with Forasteros is extremely common. Forasteros provide the bulk of the overall product and lend the sometimes bitter and "chocolaty" flavor, while the Criollo adds depth of flavor and more roundness. However, it can be tricky to figure out which beans are used because even Venezuela and Madagascar have Forastero.

To give you a better idea, here are some countries that produce mostly Forastero: Brazil, Ghana, Sao Tome, Ivory Coast, and Ecuador. However, Ecuador is known for its Arriba chocolate, i.e. "Nacional," or fine flavored Forasteros. This is the only exception with Forasteros, as the Arriba is known as a flavor bean and indeed has an excellent flavor. It has a signature light red fruit and dairy tone and also bears a minimal bitterness, comparatively speaking.

Sometimes, color might be an indication as well. For example, Pralus Indonesia, although at 75%, has a tan color! Can we say Criollo? Forasteros tend to produce a deep black or dark brown color.

February 14, 2005
11:33 am
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline
13

monte, thanks for the thorough comment. I must admit, I am slightly too amatuer in this so maybe I ought to have not even considered blending!! But I aim to do it one day cos I am in to chocolate and hope to find out more about it.
So let me see wether I got it right
1. one can tell the bean type used from the type of place of origin like you listed.

Monte, what is the difference when you say 'Well, do you mean couverture specifically or chocolate bars?'?

February 14, 2005
4:32 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
Member
Forum Posts: 1462
Member Since:
August 1, 2006
Offline
14

Well, not necessarily, but generalizations can be made. Here's a link to a site that has tons of information:

http://www.icco.org/questions/.....ndex06.htm

Click on any of the links that interest you. To actually say that Country A grows Bean A and Country B grows Bean B is being too vague, because while Country A might grow Bean A, it could also grow a substantial amount of Bean B. As I said, most brands will tell you, and if they don't, then do a quick search online. I've never had much difficulty in finding the answers. Furthermore, just try a lot of different kinds of chocolate and compare. That's the fun part [:)]

Couverture is different than "eating" chocolate because it contains more cocoa butter and usually lecithin, which contribute to more fluidity, finer sheen, and easier melting. For example, some of Domori's chocolate bars do not contain lecithin, but the couverture format does, as well as added cocoa butter.

February 15, 2005
11:37 pm
sam
Member
Forum Posts: 24
Member Since:
February 7, 2005
Offline
15

thanks. I'll have to check the link out later...
I've managed to drop my iBook laptop last night and now the screen freezes sometimes at start-up, sometimes on desktop, so I'm borrowing a friend's PC for now... [B)] aaa... I so hate myself for being clumsy//...

February 16, 2005
1:03 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
Member
Forum Posts: 1462
Member Since:
August 1, 2006
Offline
16

Also, you might want to check the article on Amedei's site regarding Chuao. It has some interesting pieces of information as well.

chocolate bars - what's the ingredient? | General Discussions | Forum