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Raw Chocolate?
March 12, 2009
4:29 am
Dazeal
Ashland, USA
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So it’s the new buzz word around where I live… I offer them some Domori and they say: ‘I only eat Raw chocolate’.

Can anyone tell me what Raw chocolate is? Does conching or roasting the bean mean it is cooked? I have a feeling it is just the next buzz word since organic or free-trade isn’t good enough.

In general, what is the highest amount of heat does fine chocolate ever see?

I read raw chocolate sites and they say the chocolate never gets above 42 C, but isn’t that true for most chocolate?

Thanks! :)

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
March 12, 2009
5:14 am
Dazeal
Ashland, USA
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Is it possible that after they extract the bean and don’t roast it on the pavement they could separate the butter and nib and then call is raw because it wasn’t roasted?

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
March 12, 2009
12:38 pm
ellie
london, United Kingdom
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Cocoa beans heat up to 45-50C during fermentation anyway, so I feel that all that “raw” chocolate is a wishful thinking.

March 12, 2009
2:11 pm
Dazeal
Ashland, USA
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Ellie you rock and thanks a lot for the quick reply. Is there a way for the beans not to ferment and still make chocolate that is edible?

I am getting tiered of people coming in and telling me they won’t eat my Domori, Cluizel or Amedei because they only eat raw chocolate.

And another thing….. ever since I opened my chocolate boutique last week, I get at least a person a day telling me… ‘you know what you should start selling?’ AT LEAST a person per day. OMFG.

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
March 16, 2009
2:32 pm
alex_h
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never heard of raw chocolate. I think it’s a bunch of BS. Scuse my French.
Some kind of new trend.

March 17, 2009
8:28 am
Gracie
Chippenham, United Kingdom
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Dazeal,
Next time you get a smart a*** in your shop, put them on the spot and ask them what they believe actually constitutes “Raw” chocolate, and where they are supposedly sourcing it. Sounds like a case of misrepresentation at the least and something for Trading standards or their equivalent where you are. I had someone who wouldn’t try Valrhona because they only eat Green and Blacks!!

March 17, 2009
10:02 pm
Dazeal
Ashland, USA
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Thanks for your replies. It pissed me off when a hippy told me he wouldn’t eat Domori and would only eat “Raw Chocolate’. I am glad to see you guys are upset as well. I couldn’t sleep that first night I was so offended. Freaking Hippies and their ‘Raw’ Chocolate.

I had another health nut come in and try to sell me ‘raw’ truffles. I asked him the basic questions and he couldn’t answer them. In the end he told me he doesn’t care about the tag ‘raw’ he was just interested in selling his truffles. hahahah noobs.

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
March 18, 2009
3:08 am
ChemicalMachine
USA
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If customers want them, even after you have educated them, why not stock the chocolate?

Sell the good stuff to those who appreciate that which is good, but let the yuppies buy Endagered Species, Organic, Free Trade, etc. Their purchases can subsidize the overpriced Amedei.

I would not start someone on Domori. If I wanted to get someone hooked, I would give them one of each Amano bar. You want them to taste something in addtion to basic chocolate flavor, and you want that something to to be easily noticeble, distinct, and straightforwardly pleasant.

March 23, 2009
11:32 am
Forest
Peak District, United Kingdom
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Heh heh heh… Yet another ‘label’ to get the public to buy some chocolate along with sugar-free, lactose free, Organic, Fair trade, Equitrade, single origin, single estate….

I suppose if you have a shop…the mantra is ‘you sell what the customer wants’

March 23, 2009
8:54 pm
ChemicalMachine
USA
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Single origin and single estate belong on a seperate list. With these, the label actually relates to the flavor properties of the chocolate rather than some ideological fantasy or health claim.

The concept has been exploited and a single origin bar is not necessarily a quality chocolalte, but this does not make the good single origin chocolates any less valuable.

I actually enjoy Valhrona’s vintage bars. They do taste somewhat different every year, and it is a great selling point. “I have not had that bar since last year, better buy one.” I think it is time for the other fine chocoate producers to jump on the vintage bandwagon.

March 23, 2009
10:48 pm
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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Dazeal wrote: “I have a feeling it is just the next buzz word since organic or free-trade isn’t good enough. [...] Freaking Hippies and their ‘Raw’” Chocolate.”

ChemicalMachine wrote: “[...] let the yuppies buy Endagered Species, Organic, Free Trade, etc. [...] Single origin and single estate belong on a seperate list. With these, the label actually relates to the flavor properties of the chocolate rather than some ideological fantasy or health claim.”

Guys, I tend to agree that “free trade” is based on “ideological fantasy” … but I suspect that neither of you really meant what you wrote.

For the record, “free trade” and “fair trade” are two completely different things:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_trade

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_trade

If you want to ridicule other people’s ethics, it pays to get your terminology correct. Otherwise, you make yourself look foolish and ignorant to the people who actually understand (and care about) these issues.

March 24, 2009
2:11 am
ChemicalMachine
USA
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quote:


I suspect that neither of you really meant what you wrote.


Correct.

My focus was not on the (questionable) ethical concepts but rather on those who buy the poor quality overpriced chocolate. The producers are not to blame. Produce what sells. But as a consumer, I wish I could get something better than Lindt or Ghirardelli at the grocery stores which stock countless poor quality gimmick chocolates.

Why not buy a quality chocolate bar and donate to the endangered species cause separately? Consumers like chocolate, so they are looking for an excuse. They say, “I am eating it for the antioxidants, to help the environment, to support the fairly treated workers, etc.” The fantasy is the lie the consumer is telling to himself.

If it is tastes good, like Girl Scout Cookies or Theo Chocolate, I will go along and not complain. In fact, I cannot think of a better use for bulk quality chocolate than a Samoa cookie.

March 24, 2009
5:25 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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ChemicalMachine –

You mention “gimmick” chocolates, and imply that organic agriculture and ethical trade are gimmicks. I couldn’t disagree more strongly.

You also imply that people who are concerned about ethics and the environment are ignorant, and are deceiving themselves.

On the contrary, I would suggest that it is the people who are not concerned about these issues who are living in a self-absorbed fantasy land.

However, this thread is (or was) about raw chocolate. But you and Dazeal have both inexplicably lumped raw foodies into a group with yuppies, greenies, and people with ethical concerns. Furthermore, you and Dazeal both exhibit contempt for all of these people.

Dazeal -

Please share the name and location of your shop, so that your local raw foodies, hippies, yuppies, greenies, ethical consumers, and sundry “freaking” idealogues will know to stay well out of your way.

March 24, 2009
4:09 pm
ChemicalMachine
USA
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quote:


Originally posted by oz_choc
You mention “gimmick” chocolates, and imply that organic agriculture and ethical trade are gimmicks. I couldn’t disagree more strongly.


I define gimmick chocolate as any overpriced low quality chocolate which markets any features beyond the sensory qualities of the bar, regardless of the validity of that selling feature.

Chocolate is about the sensory qualities. No one truly buys it for any other reason. Chocolate does not represent a cost effective means toward anything else. There are far more efficient ways to help the environment, improve one’s health, support the poor, save endangered species, etc. than buying a chocolate bar. Considering this, when these issues allow the compromise of sensory quality, I complain.

I see 300 pound women buying the Antioxidant Chocolate Bar. Am I to believe that she really cares about her health? Why not buy some antioxidant rich broccoli?

Note that I have not criticized the producers nor their intentions. Selling candy is probably a great way to support Endangered Species or the Girl Scouts, because many consumers are truly quite indifferent about these issues. Girl Scouts would not do as well going door to door asking for donations. Endangered Species bars are prevalent enough that I suspect far more people have bought a bar than have made an independent donation toward the cause. My criticism is of the consumers and their acceptance of decreased quality chocolate in exchange for an excuse to buy themselves a treat.

I have no desire to debate organic agriculture and or fair trade. I am not an expert on these issues, and the validity of these ideas is irrelevant to my point.

I apologize if I have offended you, although I feel your reactionary hostility has been excessive.

March 24, 2009
5:30 pm
Forest
Peak District, United Kingdom
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ChemicalMachine -

While I agree with what you say to some extent..’single origin’ and ‘single estate’ are still decriptive terms that label the bar you are buying. The same as organic, fairtrade, equitrade, raw etc
These labels help the consumer to choose which chocolate to buy.
Only those who care to investigate further find out more of the details e.g. most fairtrade chocolate comes from Ghana etc
Most people don’t question anything. Look how many people still ask for ‘diabetic chocolate’ After years of trying to turn people in the right direction…I just smile and say ‘no’
Give ‘raw’ chocolate a few weeks and they will be after something else.

March 24, 2009
11:08 pm
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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ChemicalMachine – If you don’t want to debate fair trade or organics, why drag these topics into an unrelated thread?

=====

alex_h wrote: “never heard of raw chocolate [...] Some kind of new trend.”

Forest wrote: “Give ‘raw’ chocolate a few weeks and they will be after something else.”

I’m really surprised that people on this forum perceive raw chocolate to be a new and fleeting trend.

As a trader of raw (i.e. fermented, but un-roasted) cocoa beans, I’ve received a constant flow of inquiries from raw foodies about raw cocoa products since 2006.

Most raw foodies I’ve corresponded with are fans of the so-called “nutrition guru”, David Wolfe, who published the book “Naked Chocolate” back in 2005.

Also, for anyone who’s interested, the subject of raw chocolate has been discussed extensively over at The Chocolate Life since mid last year:

http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/1978963:Topic:11710
and

http://www.thechocolatelife.com/forum/topics/raw-chocolate-what-is-it

Whether you love it or hate it, I reckon raw chocolate is here to stay.

March 25, 2009
10:48 am
Forest
Peak District, United Kingdom
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Oz Choc..I don’t doubt it is here to stay but at the end of the day…it’s just another ‘way’ to sell chocolate. There is nothing wrong with that…though it will come to a stage where the public will get sick and tired of all these different labels.
I may be wrong and maybe one day every manufacturer in the world will turn to ‘raw’ cocoa but my guess is it will eventually end up with-in its own little niche as will all the other labels mentioned above.
I look at the chocolate business as a great pyramid. Hershey, Nestle, Cadbury etc are at the base. High quality, functional chocolate.(insert label here).etc is a small (growing?) blip at the top.
New things do scare people…look at some of the comments above… but if you have a shop…I suppose you have to sell these things.
Chocolate just happens to be one of those foods that attract controversy…some historians would say it always has.
When Cadbury’s go Fairtrade with some of their products later on in the year… we will have some explaining to do. People will not see the politics, the difference with bean varieties etc They will see a label. It’s human nature to label things. It makes us feel safe. But it can be a pain in the back-side.

March 25, 2009
12:18 pm
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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quote:


Originally posted by Forest

[...] I may be wrong and maybe one day every manufacturer in the world will turn to ‘raw’ cocoa but my guess is it will eventually end up with-in its own little niche [...]


The fact is that raw cocoa has had “its own little niche” for at least 4 years now.

I certainly have no expectation that “one day every manufacturer in the world will turn to ‘raw’ cocoa”. However, every genuine bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer starts out with raw cocoa.

For the record, I buy raw cocoa beans because … that’s how they’re sold on the international market. And, I like to do my own roasting.

But some people like to eat raw cocoa, and I see no reason to call them derogatory names (like Freaking Hippies, for example) because of that.

March 25, 2009
4:37 pm
seneca
USA
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The issue that I perceive with raw food and chocolate is fundamentally one of misunderstanding/misinformation. Every raw foodist (if that’s a term) that I talk to tells me the highest acceptable temperature is 118ºF.

Personally (just a matter of observation and reading here), I’ve never seen a fermentation heap or box where temperatures did not meet or exceed 50ºC (aka about 122ºF) for at least a day or so. To my way of thinking, this means that any fermented cacao (the vast majority of what’s marketed as ‘raw’) doesn’t meet the community’s own definition of a raw food. I think most folks interested in raw foods don’t understand this basic fact about cacao’s post-harvest processing, which I see as a bit of a problem. There’s also a potential food safety concern here, as a lot of these ‘raw’ chocolate products are made with the testa (cocoa hull) still intact, thereby integrating into the final manufactured product one of the most likely homes for nasty bacteria like E. Coli. One of the great things about roasting cacao is that it doubles as a sterilizing activity…

I’m also seeing a lot of things marketed as ‘raw’ that clearly aren’t, such as cocoa powder. (Just search for ‘cacao’ on Twitter for a billion hits on ‘raw cacao powder’)

I certainly have no problem in general with raw foodists, but I am concerned that products are being marketed to that audience improperly. Of course, this is just a small part of a bigger concern about chocolate in general: we need more transparency, honesty and quality information across the board in order to help consumers make informed choices that are actually in line with their personal beliefs.

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

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
March 25, 2009
4:57 pm
Forest
Peak District, United Kingdom
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Oz choc-I’ve read some of your comments on ‘the chocolate life’ website. It is obvious that you are very knowledgeable about the bean. I completely agree with your views concerning people using derogatory remarks to describe other people who happen to be into something they are not (even though it happens all the time in almost any walk of life).
I understand that when chocolate is picked, fermented and dried it can be classed as ‘raw’ if you wish to label it so. I also understand that when the bean is then roasted at high temperature it ceases to be ‘raw’.
The point I’m trying to make is what ever you package it up as..it’s still chocolate. The problem is that the general public will probably perceive it as something else.
In the west, we like to pigeonhole things. It makes us feel safe. We also get something, re-package it and try and sell it for more than it originally cost.
Madonna is a classic example. She dyes her hair, changes her clobber, gets a new producer in, contorts a bit and makes a million. Critics will say this album is better than that one and rub their chins in amazement. It’s still Madonna.
Look at all the different diets out there; they come in and out of vogue, all there to help us lose weight, feel more healthy and shift more books.
Take the ‘Mersey Beat’ out of the equation and we are a little behind the US, when it comes the next ‘big’ thing in the UK. When ‘Raw’ finally makes a brake-through, the media are going to lap it up and someone, somewhere is going to make a hell of a lot of money out of it.
I’ve got to the age where I’m getting numb to the white noise of ‘what to eat/what not to eat’. I stand perplexed when I see people flapping their arms about and screaming because they believe someone has re-invented the wheel (Try telling the Olmecs). That’s my only point. Going back to the original questioner, if I had a shop and wanted to make some money, don’t waist your time going blue in the face trying to sell something the customer doesn’t want…sell them ‘raw’. A percentage will eventually return back to Domori.Thats business.