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origin chocolate
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Gracie
Chippenham, United Kingdom
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April 4, 2008 - 6:21 pm
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I use several "origin" chocolates from a variety of sources and have a meeting next week with the local Callebaut rep who would have me believe that they produce the very best to be had in this area (presumably in terms of products for artisan chocolatiers rather than retail bars). I was reading up on the company, their ethics and their new products online, and the following paragraph caught my eye.....

What’s in the origin of chocolate?
The term single-origin chocolate may be somewhat misleading, since it does not refer to the actual origin of the chocolate, but rather to the origin of the cocoa variety used for producing the chocolate. If that can be reduced to a well-defined territory, region, country or even plantation, then we can call the chocolate made with this special variety of cocoa beans a single-origin chocolate, or even a pure origin chocolate.

I had always thought that an origin cocoa had to be grown in said origin, rather than simply be a variety indigenous to the region...I'm happy to be corrected however, but would be interested to hear what others (of maybe less than expert status like myself) had taken the term "origin" to mean.

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miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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April 4, 2008 - 9:01 pm
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hi gracie,

i've been trying to find a callebaut rep in n. ireland with great difficulty. would it be possible to get your reps contact details? i would appreciate it very much.

miss coco

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Hans-Peter Rot
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April 15, 2008 - 12:57 am
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Someone probably just did a bad translation job. When I first read that passage, I interpreted the phrase "origin of the chocolate" not in terms relating to origin of the beans but to the origin of the bar, i.e. where in the world the chocolate was produced, because later in that sentence when "chocolate" is used again it is in the context of a chocolate bar, which makes me assume that the phrase "cocoa variety" is synonymous with "beans."

Also, if you think about it, no cacao variety is indigenous to any region except to where cacao originated, which is still under debate between Mexico and Venezuela, so any origin beyond those two milieus cannot have an indigenous strain of cacao.

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Alex Rast
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April 16, 2008 - 1:21 am
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quote:


Originally posted by Gracie

I use several "origin" chocolates from a variety of sources and have a meeting next week with the local Callebaut rep who would have me believe that they produce the very best to be had in this area....

What’s in the origin of chocolate?
The term single-origin chocolate may be somewhat misleading, since it does not refer to the actual origin of the chocolate, but rather to the origin of the cocoa variety used for producing the chocolate.


Well, in the real world, the term single-origin is used by different manufacturers to mean different things, so I don't think it's yet a rigidly defined term. However, I think in the world of the chocophile there's reason to have a distinction.

Regional origin chocolate would be from a broad but not unlimited area. For example, a chocolate that is labelled "Venezuela" is a regional.

Single origin chocolate refers to a much narrower area, generally a specific river basin, or village, or clearly identified subregion. For example, Madagascar Sambirano would be a single origin.

Cru chocolate (should) refer to a specific plantation, for example, Los Ancones is a cru chocolate.

Varietal chocolate is chocolate from an acknowledged single strain of cocoa. For example, Porcelana is a varietal. This can theoretically come from any number of origins, although in practice they are usually single origin or cru chocolate simply because that's the only way the manufacturer can guarantee purity of strain. (This is what Callebaut appears to be using as "single origin". For instance, Arriba is a strain of cocoa, but in practice it virtually all comes from a signle region in Ecuador, therefore one can, with the Arriba name, safely assume a single origin chocolate.

Vintage chocolate can be in any of the above categories, with the additional qualifier that it come from a single year's harvest. For example, Valrhona Palmira 2007 is a single-origin vintage chocolate.

IME Callebaut is rarely the best in origin chocolates, although in fairness they're usually not terrible. But companies like Domori or Cluizel on the whole do a vastly better job.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
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Gracie
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April 16, 2008 - 2:49 pm
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Thanks for your replies. I think firstly that Montegrano is right in that I misread, or failed to read with care, the original statement, which, looking back on it, seems maybe to be aimed at informing someone completely unfamiliar with the concept of single origin chocolate. I had not considered that anybody might think that "single origin chocolate" was a reference to the place of manufacture rather than a reference to the bean.
Alex is, as ever, precise and totally correct in the detail, although I don't imagine that Callebaut are so much focused on the detail as wanting to ensure they benefit from the rise in interest in quality chocolate in general. Maybe a little unfair, but I never expect their stuff to come up to the standards of Domori or Cluizel, but must confess that they do provide an affordable way for a small business to work with single origin chocolate and still stand a chance of making a profit! Ever the battle between purism and pragmatism!

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oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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April 17, 2008 - 12:25 am
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quote:


no cacao variety is indigenous to any region except to where cacao originated, which is still under debate between Mexico and Venezuela, so any origin beyond those two milieus cannot have an indigenous strain of cacao.

Actually, most (if not all) plant geneticists now agree that cocoa belongs to the South American Andes "Vavilov center" (i.e. centre of diversity).

Also, the study of cocoa DNA published by Motamayor et al in 2002 supports the hypothesis made by Cheesman in 1944 that cocoa's centre of origin (or, more accurately, its centre of diversity) is "near the Colombian-Ecuadorian border, on the eastern flanks of the Andes". (This fits in with the Vavilov center hypothesis mentioned above).

In any case, Motamayor's results effectively rule out both Mexico and Venezuela as cocoa's centre of origin.

Motamayor's study is well worth reading in its entirety:
[url="http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v89/n5/full/6800156a.html"]Cacao domestication I: the origin of the cacao cultivated by the Mayas[/url]

Sam

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seneca
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April 17, 2008 - 6:25 am
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Thanks for the link, Sam!

Maybe something of a tangent, but along the lines of understanding cacao's migration and diversification, I'd also recommend Bartley's The Genetic Diversity of Cacao and Its Utilization...a very readable and interesting account.

I think you can even read excerpts on Google books :-)

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com
http://www.bittersweetcafe.com

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
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Alan
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April 17, 2008 - 12:26 pm
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quote:


Originally posted by seneca

Thanks for the link, Sam!

Maybe something of a tangent, but along the lines of understanding cacao's migration and diversification, I'd also recommend Bartley's The Genetic Diversity of Cacao and Its Utilization...a very readable and interesting account.


Definitely agreed.

Alan

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