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CHUAO and porcelana
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alex_h
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June 18, 2004 - 3:16 pm
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i just read the article on amedei's site (by gambero rosso) that states that they pretty much own all of the current chuao beans produced.
can anyone say whether this is true? does valrhona really only have a limited supply left in stock? and where does bonnat get their chuao from? maybe from valrhona?

and what's with porcelana? also apparently amedei's domain. well, if so, where do domori and scharffen berger get their beans?

the article makes some claims that i find a bit overblown. amedei are not, imo, the only "only company in italy to directly oversee the entire production process" or "the only chocolate makers in the world to produce chocolate ... with genetically indentifiable cocoa." hello! what about domori?

<<ce qui fait du bien au palais ne fait du mal Γ  l'Γ’me>>

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Hans-Peter Rot
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June 18, 2004 - 11:01 pm
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I have often wondered this too. I read the article on Amedei's site and found this statement:

"The contract was signed on 3 November 2000 before a notary public in Maracay. The agricultural company agreed to deliver all the cocoa grown in Chuao to the Amedei company for seven years, after which time, Amedei would still have rights to first-refusal regarding the price."

So, perhaps Amedei is licensing or selling unused crop portions to other companies, or the other companies are allowed to purchase the unused crop from the agricultural company.

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blakej
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June 20, 2004 - 3:03 am
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There are a few articles out there about the topic. I posted on it last month: [url]http://www.seventypercent.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=87&whichpage=2#677[/url]

I've related the story of Amedei's allegedly exclusive Chuao access to several of my friends, and they've all found it interesting. One, who works at a medium-sized newspaper in Iowa, tried to convince some of her coworkers that the discrepancy was a story waiting to be investigated, but they just looked at her like she were crazy. Maybe someone here in food-crazy San Francisco would pick it up.

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Masur
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June 20, 2004 - 11:00 am
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A few years ago a Swedish salesperson related to Amedei told me about Amedei's exclusive Chuao access. He also told me that Amedei offered to pay twice as much as Valrhona used to pay.

Masur

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
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Lone Ly
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June 21, 2004 - 4:21 pm
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Martin told me quite many interesting things about the relation between Amedei and Domori. Maybe he knows how things really are?

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
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alex_h
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June 21, 2004 - 4:50 pm
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tell us more about the relation between amedei and domori... sounds interesting

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Lone Ly
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June 23, 2004 - 9:47 pm
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I was at In't veld today. The man behind the counter had some interesting gossip, too ...

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
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alex_h
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June 24, 2004 - 1:16 pm
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well, don't hold back!!! πŸ˜‰

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Lone Ly
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June 25, 2004 - 12:48 am
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I will actually hold back in the forum. I mean, none would benefit from it if we caused either A. or D. to withdraw their stock.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
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alex_h
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June 25, 2004 - 9:35 am
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fair enough

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Lone Ly
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June 25, 2004 - 1:57 pm
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What concerns me is if this rivalry have consequences for the availability, quality and variety of chocolates.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
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alex_h
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January 31, 2005 - 12:25 pm
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just read through martin's comments on chuao and amedei and the withdrawal of valrhona and pralus (was ist pralus?) in the blog. what about domori? i read on their site that somewhere around 2007 they're planning to sell a hacienda san jose chuao.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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January 31, 2005 - 4:40 pm
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Yes, it was Pralus producing a Chuao. It was definitely a Chuao, i.e. it had all the flavor characteristics, but it was roasted way too long. Domori's "Chuao" very well could be a Chuao in that its genetic basis is from the Chuao DNA, which wouldn't neccessarily imply that the beans themselves are from the actual village. Domori might have to label the chocolate as "Hacienda San Jose: Chuao" in order to show that although it is of Chuao genetic heritage, it was grown in another location. In such a case, "Hacienda San Jose" would denote growing area, and "Chuao" would denote type of bean.

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legodude
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January 31, 2005 - 5:39 pm
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Untill all manufacturers of chocolate have the same level of commitment and knowledge as Domori, I guess it is okay to name chocolates with names like Chuao, Choroni or Rio Caribe, at least if the beans used are within the ballpark of the original tastes of these cacaos. Because of all the crossings and hybridization it is probably a variation of different beans even within a single plantation. And when chocolate producers buy huge loads of beans shipped from lets say Caracas, it is hard to tell exactely the beantype they are buying. With wine it is easyer because Cabernet Sauvignon is pretty much Cabernet Sauvignon all over the world. Then you can compare the terroir and winemakerskills of let us say a Napa Cabernet and a Bordeaux Cabernet.

I don`t know if Domori's Ocumare 61 is the same as the Ocumare 61 described in the cacao bean DNA database. There might be variations within Ocumare 61, but I hope that it is geographical.

I hope in the future the true bean DNA name will be on the label of the chocolates i buy. The can of course have a name of geographical origin or a fantasy name and then for example "made ofIMC 67 X Nanay 399 cacao beans".

"I`ve got lots of friends in San JosΓ©. Do you know the way to San JosΓ©?"
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Martin Christy
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January 31, 2005 - 6:18 pm
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I'm not sure the Domori Chuao makes sense, because what you get from Chuao village plantations is a unique mix of the varieties in different parts of the plantations (at different heights as I remember). There is not one genetic variety that is Chuao, far from it. I also think Domori will have a lot of trouble from the Venezuelan authorities if they go ahead with this, not to mention grief from Amedei. My guess is they will call it something else by the time they get to production - most people recognise Chuao as a place, not a variety.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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January 31, 2005 - 6:29 pm
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I think what I was alluding to was that Chuao, the chocolate, has become synonymous with a certain flavor profile, intensity, etc. in addition to the actual village. Hence the Chuao flavor profile and characterizations people refer to in descriptions and reviews. As you mentioned, Chuao chocolate might be a hodgepodge of different cacao grown in that region, but any genetic material within that origin can be labeled Chuao in much the same manner as some American-born citizens might refer to themselves as being German. They share the same genetic heritage, which is not based on a single type or common ancestor (i.e. a person or single type of bean), but rather it is based on origin. So you could have Bean A and Bean Z grown in Chuao, both with different genotypes but still regarded as Chuao simply because their origin is the same. The resulting chocolate might have Chuao flavors and characteristics, but it's not a true Chuao in that its actual "birth place," as it were, is in another location.

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Martin Christy
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January 31, 2005 - 8:52 pm
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Most of the opinions I have heard are that the unique Chuao flavour comes from the combination of these varieties AND the varying environments in Chuao. If you take out one variety and grow it elsewhere, that's a variety, call by it's name, but it's not Chuao. Flavour is not just about dna, it's also about the place and the treatment.

(I love these arguments!)

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Sebastian
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February 1, 2005 - 4:45 am
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Pedigree is certainly important when it comes to cacao flavor, but there's a huge host of other factors that play into it as well - soil composition, was fertilizer use? if so, what? most fermentations are done 'au natural', meaning that the organisms doing the work are very likely different, or at least present in different ratios, each time. Was the product turned during fermentation? if so, when? how often? what about effluent drainage? What else is in the heap? banana leaves? did it rain on the pile as it was fermenting? What moisture content were they dried to? were they dried via open air (exposure to sunlight or not?), or via another method?

lots of variables

It's interesting - if you take two identical trees, plant one in venezuela and t'other in malaysia, you're going to get radically different flavor profiles, even if you do your best to minimize growing condition differences.

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Hans-Peter Rot
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February 1, 2005 - 5:34 am
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It's true that soil, environment, weather, etc. all have effects on overall flavor, but then to classify something with such strict and rigid delineations does not allow room for expansion or for the varying multitude of variables. For example, if a cacao bean is grown near the Orinoco River in Venezuela using a Chuao prototype, then in the genetic sense, this resulting chocolate could be classified as Chuao. But if it were to be classified according to the flavor achieved due to Chuao environment, then it would not be Chuao at all. So, either you have to take both into extreme consideration and apply both accordingly, or you have to allow for some leeway. Too many factors contribute to flavor. I don't think that this should be the sole factor contributing to its classification, but rather a combination of the two: flavor and genotype.

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alex_h
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February 1, 2005 - 10:32 am
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is that why genetic databases are trying to match flavor to genotype? i think i heard a database in trinidad or grenada was trying this.

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