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Raw Chocolate?
March 25, 2009
6:04 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Pacari is well worth checking out in this field. They've produced a minor miracle in making 'real' raw chocolate that's been properly processed, but is not fermented above 49C and is NOT roasted. The texture is actually very decent and flavour wise very interesting. The chocolate has been made in a normal process apart from the roasting. They're based in Ecuador and are also one of the suppliers of raw ingredients to all those kitchen businesses out there.

http://www.pacarichocolate.com.....ducts#raws

We got pretty excited about this at the Salon in Paris last year, and I since met the company in Ecuador. Their other chocolate is also pretty good, though very floral and unusual, so not necessarily to everyone's taste. (Like a new Domori, you'll either love it or hate it.)

Pacari are certainly one of the best 'growing country' makers I've come across, so even if you're not taken by the raw idea, I'd recommend checking them out.

I'm planning to do a review feature on raw chocolate sometime soon, like a lot of plans it's progressing rather slowly at the moment, but might be a good summer project.

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

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
March 25, 2009
11:49 pm
seneca
USA
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'Unusual' would be an extremely polite version of our reaction to Pacari :-), although I agree it is one of the better of this category of products at the moment.

Personally, I just don't get it...if people really want to pay attention to cacao as a legitimate raw food, why not just focus on it as a fresh fruit? It's perfectly delicious that way, so why go through all this rigmarole just to make a chocolate simulacrum?

We've got at least a couple thousand years of human history involving the fermentation and roasting of cacao seeds, and I for one see no reason to stop now.

(On a related note--is there anyone out there brewing 'raw' coffee from unroasted green beans? I really hope not...and am a bit afraid to find out.)

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

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
March 26, 2009
12:56 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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quote:


Originally posted by seneca

The issue that I perceive with raw food and chocolate is fundamentally one of misunderstanding/misinformation. [...] 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.


Seneca - I totally agree with you on this subject, but I find your concern about misinformation highly ironic, given your own attempts to perpetuate the rather more harmful myth that cocoa is "fundamentally organic":

http://www.seriouseats.com/2008/01/chocolate-purist.html

It seems to me that the amount of outrage caused by a chocolate-related myth tends to be proportional to the myth's triviality: the more trivial the myth is, the more outraged the connoisseurs get.

What difference does it really make if cocoa is heated to 42 degrees C, or 50 degrees C, during fermentation? As far as I can tell, it makes either no difference, or very little difference (especially when the beans are thoroughly dried afterward).

But what difference does it make whether or not you spray your cocoa with lindane (a.k.a gamma-HCH)? Well, lindane can quite easily kill you. At best, handling the stuff without proper protective clothing is likely to make you infertile. But who cares about the health of cocoa growers? Obviously not people like ChemicalMachine, who actively goes out of his way to avoid organic chocolate.

Incidentally, if you're gullible enough to believe that dangerous pesticides aren't used on cocoa, you should read Chapter 12 of "Cocoa" by Wood and Lass, and/or watch this video excerpt from the BBC World TV series "Survivors Guide":

The chocolate industry is built on myths, misinformation, and propaganda. Just take a look at this advertisement for Cadbury's Old Gold Chocolate:

Try counting the myths this Cadbury ad portrays! (If you can't spot at least three, you're not trying).

On the subject of misinformation in the chocolate industry: of the dozen or so chocolate-related books on my bookshelf, the only one I've never spotted a factual error in is "Cocoa" by Wood and Lass. Misinformation is everywhere.

And anyone who thinks that it's worth getting upset over a few degrees of heat is, in my opinion, missing the bigger picture.

March 26, 2009
2:10 am
seneca
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The standard of 118º is one that I understand to be self-imposed by the raw food community...nothing to do with me.

As for the body of chocolate and cacao literature--there's a substantial difference between misinformation and error. (The small matter of intent.) It seems to be that you frequently confuse the two, which, in my opinion, helps no one. My advice to all is to spend some time on the ground with cacao and then read thoroughly. Wood and Lass is fine--but so are papers and books by: Hardy, Zipperer, Whymper, Knapp, Bartley, Van Hall, Braudeau, Cuatrecasas, Hart, Chatt, Motomayor...the list goes on.

As for the topics of organics and labor in cacao, we've certainly had those conversations elsewhere, and I'm not sure there's all that much to add at the moment. Here are a couple more links if anyone is interested:
http://www.seriouseats.com/200.....sweet.html
http://bittersweetcafe.blogspo.....stion.html

As an aside, it frequently seems to me like we're basically in agreement on many of these topics, but the tone of your posts here and elsewhere is so often contentious that it's difficult to have an open and productive conversation. None of us has all the answers.

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

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
March 26, 2009
3:26 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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Seneca - I can't know for sure whether a person who spreads misinformation is doing so intentionally (because they stand to profit from the misinformation), or accidentally (because they're simply ignorant).

But the effect of misinformation is the same, regardless of whether it is spread by malice or by mistake.

The fact that any given piece of misinformation may result from an "honest error" doesn't make it any less misleading.

Here's an open invitation to everyone who writes about cocoa and chocolate, and who is tired of my "contentious tone": please, fact-check before you publish, and starve me of myths, misinformation, and errors to complain about!

March 26, 2009
3:46 am
seneca
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Thanks Sam, and fair enough that you may not know the intentions of others.

For what it's worth, I do think that intentional misinformation is more dangerous than honest error, in that it tends to propagate more quickly through the media (who maybe are most in need of education) via PR firms and marketing departments. It is personally very important to me to avoid intentionally misleading anyone, but I certainly don't consider myself beyond error :-)

Your last paragraph there scares me a bit, in the sense that it seems to position you as the final arbiter of cacao and chocolate information. As I said before: None of us has all the answers. It's all well and good to advocate for positions and ideas we believe in strongly, but I think we have to do it from a position of reasonable humility considering the size and scope of what there is to learn in this field.

Also, just as a caveat--I want to clarify that I'm talking here about factual information (as I think you are as well, if I'm not mistaken). Matters of taste, like my expression above of dislike for 'raw' chocolate to date, I think properly belong in another realm altogether...

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

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
March 26, 2009
4:34 am
ChemicalMachine
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Some boycotts by fair-trade advocates in the past have made conditions worse for the workers they supposedly support. Take away the sweat shop, and the workers must find some other job which is worse. The opportunity for “unfair trade” existed in the first place because the “unfair trade” was mutually beneficial.

A dogmatic organic only approach is unnecessarily limiting. Some chemicals are most definitely worthwhile even when considering all externalities. The existence of harmful chemicals does not categorically make all chemicals harmful. Many of the world’s most deadly substances are organic.

What difference does a few degrees mean? What difference does not roasting mean besides inferior taste and better sales? There is no conclusive evidence showing that raw chocolate is healthier. It might be healthier, but as of now this is just another hypothesis which affluent people with nothing more important to do with their time find entertaining.

The one thing that has consistently proven true is that moderation is beneficial and that rigid categorization is harmful.

quote:


Here's an open invitation to everyone who writes about cocoa and chocolate, and who is tired of my "contentious tone": please, fact-check before you publish, and starve me of myths, misinformation, and errors to complain about!


The more one learns, the more they realize how little they know and how questionable that which they know is.

They tell medical students, “Half of what we teach you is wrong.” Yet, they continue teaching and the world is better for it. I feel the same principle applies here. Discussion is beneficial and should not be discouraged.

March 26, 2009
5:28 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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quote:


Originally posted by seneca

[...] Your last paragraph there scares me a bit, in the sense that it seems to position you as the final arbiter of cacao and chocolate information. As I said before: None of us has all the answers. It's all well and good to advocate for positions and ideas we believe in strongly, but I think we have to do it from a position of reasonable humility considering the size and scope of what there is to learn in this field.

Also, just as a caveat--I want to clarify that I'm talking here about factual information (as I think you are as well, if I'm not mistaken). Matters of taste, like my expression above of dislike for 'raw' chocolate to date, I think properly belong in another realm altogether...


Seneca, you're correct that I'm talking about factual information.

And facts, by definition, are knowable. (My Oxford dictionary defines a fact as being "something known to be true").

Hence, I'm entirely comfortable responding to (as I wrote) "myths, misinformation, and errors" with pertinent facts.

For example, it is a fact that pesticides are used in the cocoa industry. I don't see any reason to faff around and equivocate on matters of fact.

I've spent about 6 years intensively researching (and occasionally writing about) cocoa and chocolate. Many people have told me that they've benefited from my sharing of knowledge, so I'm not about to apologize for knowing as much as I do, or for sharing what I know.

And yes, I totally agree with you that matters of taste belong in another realm altogether.

March 26, 2009
5:40 am
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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quote:


Originally posted by ChemicalMachine

Some boycotts by fair-trade advocates in the past have made conditions worse for the workers they supposedly support.


So, therefore we should abandon all attempts at fair trade? Maybe you can help everyone here understand the complexities of the situation by providing some specific examples of harm caused by fair trade. (Although I do recall that earlier in this thread you wrote that "I have no desire to debate organic agriculture and or fair trade. I am not an expert on these issues".)

quote:


The opportunity for “unfair trade” existed in the first place because the “unfair trade” was mutually beneficial.



Given that a lot of early "unfair trade" in the cocoa industry was based on slave labour, you seem to be implying that slavery was a "mutually beneficial" arrangement. If so, I disagree.

quote:


A dogmatic organic only approach is unnecessarily limiting. Some chemicals are most definitely worthwhile even when considering all externalities.



Please enlighten me by providing some actual examples from within the cocoa industry (including "all externalities").

quote:


The existence of harmful chemicals does not categorically make all chemicals harmful. Many of the world’s most deadly substances are organic.



So what?

quote:


What difference does a few degrees mean?



Good question. (I posed the same question myself earlier in this thread).

quote:


Discussion is beneficial and should not be discouraged.



I agree.
March 26, 2009
4:41 pm
seneca
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Okay, just one more comment :-) (And apologies that this discussion has veered to far off course...)

Sam--your reply above is a good example of what sometimes disturbs me about your tone. (And please be aware that I'm trying to be positively critical here--I do appreciate your time, dedication and efforts to educate.)

You said: "For example, it is a fact that pesticides are used in the cocoa industry."

While technically true, this statement (for me, anyways) gives the impression that this is a universal fact about cacao cultivation. That's certainly not true. I've been to dozens of plantations that aren't organically certified, but where no pesticides are used. In short--it's quite possible to make factual statements that are still misleading.

I'm not worried here about my learning curve, or anybody else with a reasonable body of experience, but I think it's important for those entering this field--whether as growers, manufacturers or consumers--to be presented with the honest complexity of the system. And for those of us trying to help, I think the best path is to remain keenly aware of how much we don't know.

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

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
March 26, 2009
10:27 pm
oz_choc
Kandos, Australia
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quote:


Originally posted by seneca

You said: "For example, it is a fact that pesticides are used in the cocoa industry."

While technically true, this statement (for me, anyways) gives the impression that this is a universal fact about cacao cultivation. That's certainly not true. I've been to dozens of plantations that aren't organically certified, but where no pesticides are used. In short--it's quite possible to make factual statements that are still misleading.


Oh, come off it, Seneca!

Criticizing certified organic chocolate is one of the most popular activities on this forum, as demonstrated by ChemicalMachine's rant on this very thread. So, any member of this forum who is under the misapprehension that organic cocoa doesn't exist must have been living under a rock.

As a matter of interest, I just searched the forum for the term "organic", and got ten pages of results!

And for the record, I can't possibly write everything I know about organic agriculture every time I simply mention the term "pesticide".

If I had meant to say that all cocoa, everywhere in the world is grown using pesticides, with no exceptions, I would have said that. But I didn't say anything like that.

What I did say is that "pesticides are used in the cocoa industry". This is undeniably true.

Furthermore, I've spent literally years talking here, and in that article I linked to in this thread yesterday, and on my own website (which is linked from my profile page) about how we at Tava source cocoa beans that are grown organically (but not certified organic) in the South Pacific.

I accept that you don't like the way I communicate, but I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on that subject.

March 27, 2009
1:05 am
ChemicalMachine
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I believe you have exaggerated my aversion for organic chocolate, raw chocolate, etc. Show me a convincing academic study which confirms that raw chocolate is the elixir to all of our problems, and I will gladly become a supporter. Show me a convincing study that shows that all non-organic chocolate is unsafe to consume, and I will start buying organic. (Your website cites that eating 1 kg a day everyday is unsafe. I consider myself a heavy user, but I have never once consumed a kg in a day.) Show me a convincing study showing that organic agriculture is required for sustainable agriculture, and I will switch to organic only. Produce a top quality organic bar which is either unique in flavor or priced less than non-organic competitors, and I will buy it.

I do consume some organic chocolate. I would consume more if more unique, quality organic chocolate was being produced rather than subpar chocolate which sells due to the label.

March 27, 2009
2:56 am
oz_choc
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quote:


Originally posted by ChemicalMachine

I believe you have exaggerated my aversion for organic chocolate, raw chocolate, etc. Show me a convincing academic study which confirms that raw chocolate is the elixir to all of our problems, and I will gladly become a supporter. Show me a convincing study that shows that all non-organic chocolate is unsafe to consume, and I will start buying organic.


You're accusing me of exaggerating? That's a tad ironic, isn't it?.

For example: nobody here has suggested that raw chocolate is "the elixir to all of our problems".

By the way, I'm still waiting for you to provide any evidence whatsoever to support the dubious claims you made in your previous post.

In fact, browsing through some old posts earlier, I noticed that you've been making the same old argument about fair trade and boycotts for more than 3 years ... and you still haven't provided a single piece of supporting evidence:

http://www.seventypercent.com/.....PIC_ID=755

Regarding the use of pesticides - you seem to be convinced that your "right" to consume chocolate is more important than the health and safety of both cocoa growers and the environment.

Your apparent lack of concern for anyone or anything other than yourself speaks volumes, and clearly nothing I say is going to change that.

March 27, 2009
4:33 am
ChemicalMachine
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quote:


By the way, I'm still waiting for you to provide any evidence whatsoever to support the dubious claims you made in your previous post.

In fact, browsing through some old posts earlier, I noticed that you've been making the same old argument about fair trade and boycotts for more than 3 years ... and you still haven't provided a single piece of supporting evidence:


It is basic economics as I was taught in college. My professors warned us not to participte in fair trade boycotts. With a quick google search I found an article by a PhD for you.
http://www.econlib.org/library.....shops.html

quote:


Economists across the political spectrum have pointed out that for many sweatshop workers the alternatives are much, much worse.1 In one famous 1993 case U.S. senator Tom Harkin proposed banning imports from countries that employed children in sweatshops. In response a factory in Bangladesh laid off 50,000 children. What was their next best alternative? According to the British charity Oxfam a large number of them became prostitutes.

March 27, 2009
5:13 am
ChemicalMachine
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The first one had some nice graphs, but here are few more articles on the topic.

http://www.hoover.org/pubaffai.....64991.html

quote:


Candida Rosa Lopez, an employee in a Nicaraguan garment factory, works long hours over a sewing machine at less than a dollar an hour. Interviewed recently by a Miami Herald reporter, Ms. Lopez has a message for people in the United States and other wealthy countries who are nervous about buying goods from "sweatshops": "I wish more people would buy the clothes we make."

Contrary to what you have heard, sweatshops in third-world countries are a good deal for the people who work in them. Why? Because work, other than slave labor, is an exchange. A worker chooses a particular job because she thinks herself better off in that job than at her next-best alternative. Most of us would regard a low-paying job in Nicaragua or Honduras as a lousy job. But we're not being asked to take those jobs. Those jobs are the best options those workers have, or else they would quit and work elsewhere. You don't make someone better off by taking away the best of a bunch of bad choices.


http://www.gmu.edu/departments.....tshop.html

quote:


There might be a few ministers, college students and other uninformed people who sincerely care about the Third World poor. But the thrust of the public relations campaign against the multi-nationals comes from the U.S. and European union movements and some businesses who see their jobs and profits threatened. They wish to raise the cost of overseas operations in order to forestall company relocation, or as Congressman Gephardt said he wants an international minimum wage high enough so that American workers are not competing with slave, sweat shop, and child labor around the world.

April 1, 2009
1:49 am
Dazeal
Ashland, USA
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oz chocolate is now officially annoying.

I said raw chocolate was a gimmick and still think it is if by definition the bean never reaches 114 degrees. (from the definitions of my raw food friends.) Fair trade is a good thing.. organic is a good thing.. in fact all the flowers we sell are both and veriflora certified. You want to know my shop? http://www.chicfloral.com Phone number and address are there to tell your friends to avoid me. I am good friends with Sean at Askinosie (fair trade / organic) and Fredrick at Dagoba (lives 3 miles from me) They both are skeptical about raw chocolate and the safety issues it raises. Sorry if you assumed I said fair trade/organic was a gimmick. Start over.. my post was on Raw Chocolate.

Your replies of arrogance, know-it-all and defensiveness shows an insecurity that very un-attractive and says a lot about who you are in real life. There are other ways to make yourself look knowledgeable and help people, rather than cutting them down to make yourself look smarter.

President Obama said 'you will be known for what you build, not what you destroy' (or something close to that)- In the future I suggest you help 'ignorant' people like me, in a more cleaver or subtle way.

It is true, I am ignorant about a lot of things and I come here for help a lot, but the way you go about posting oz chocolate is child like.

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
April 1, 2009
1:51 am
Dazeal
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Martin, thanks a lot for post, I look forward to reading all about it. :)

Chemical, nice links! Thanks a lot! :)

Seneca, you posted exactly my thoughts... I have nothing wrong with the raw foodies, I have two best friends who make awesome raw food and are both true to its philosophy. In fact I sell a lot of chocolate from one of my raw food friends who calls it raw and it's really good tasting. It's when I hear the definition of what I hear here versus the heat I read about here that makes me want to educate them and let them know more about it. Ty for your post, it made my day. :)

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
April 1, 2009
2:08 am
Dazeal
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Chemical, have you tasted Askinosie's Sambrano bar? It's really good. Complex and tasty. They also make a real white chocolate (the only white chocolate bean to bar in the US) with goat's milk. Yes it is sweet, but the finish of goat's cheese is brilliant.

Taza's 70's bean to bar is amazing too. CAN YOU SAY Banana! :)

Both are Organic and Fair Trade. Does it help marketing.. of course... do people in Europe and Australia understand the power of those two tags when it comes to marketing in the US? Maybe, maybe not.

I don't care so much about organic as much as I do fair trade. :) Is it real? I don't know. I'm ignorant to it all and is why i come here. ;)

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
April 1, 2009
3:02 am
Dazeal
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Chemical machine, I do agree that Amano or Amedei is a great bar to start new people off on, but you would be surprised that when a choco noob is introduced to Dormori's Arriba how well they love the hints of balsamic, nuts and fruit. You see, there is no way to explain the complex flavors of fine chocolate like having them taste it for themselves. Now if I were to start someone off with Pralus, then I'd be the noob for sure. :) - Domori's recent batch of Arriba is breath taking. But then again, I am a sucker for Domori's crazy complex flavors of fun!

p.s. Endangered Species was started and located, until bought out, 1 mile from my house. A lot of chocolate going on in Southern Oregon. If you are ever here, let me know and we'll go drink Rogue Ale Chocolate Stout!

----------------------- www.poshcircle.com where businesses meet with their customers online Ashland, Oregon USA
April 1, 2009
4:15 am
oz_choc
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Dazeal,

Your propensity for senseless name-calling (e.g. "Freaking Hippies") was what brought me into this discussion.

And sadly, I see you're still at it.

You can go right ahead and call me whatever unpleasant names you can think of (over the years, this forum has helped me develop a hide like a rhinoceros). But if you lay off the name-calling, you might find that the discussion becomes a lot more productive.

On the subject of raw chocolate:

On the first page of this thread, I linked to two detailed discussions about raw chocolate that I have contributed fairly extensively to. I know that many people have found those discussions useful and interesting, because they've publicly said so. (It seems sensible to provide links rather than repeating the thousands of words that I and many others have already written on this subject).

Here are those links again:
http://www.thechocolatelife.co.....opic:11710
http://www.thechocolatelife.co.....what-is-it

If you take the time to read them, I think you'll find that those linked threads answer all of the questions you asked in your original post.

And by the way, if you really want to know who I am "in real life", you should ask someone who actually knows me in real life ... like your good friend Shawn Askinosie, for example.

Samantha Madell
http://www.tava.com.au

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