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September 15, 2004
2:36 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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If you’d like something special it is probably better to call them in advance.

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 15, 2004
3:03 pm
alex_h
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nah, no problem. i usually just take what i can get. if they don’t have it i won’t worry.
but thanks for the advice.

September 16, 2004
7:37 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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It’s so easy for you to say that because it’s easily available to you. For me, I have to order it online because there aren’t any stores here that sell good chocolate. (Back home is a different story, but Southwestern US is almost devoid of good chocolate). Actually, I stumbled upon some Dagoba bars at a natural foods store the other day, so needless to say, I picked up a couple. However, although Dagoba isn’t exactly my first choice of chocolate to eat, it certainly isn’t my last, because they are really a good brand. How is Dagoba’s availability in Europe anyway?

September 16, 2004
9:28 am
alex_h
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never seen a bar here, but like i said i am not really the hunter.

September 16, 2004
1:55 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Same with me, never seen. But my aim is to try, at least once, every brand worth trying, and it is difficult to get hold of everything.

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 16, 2004
2:24 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by LoneLy

Same with me, never seen. But my aim is to try, at least once, every brand worth trying, and it is difficult to get hold of everything.


He, he, without trying, we cannot know whether it’s worth trying. [8D] (Except for the bars with vanillin, of course). E.g. I have tried Feodora, and it is just like making love by a burnt-down campfire, but how could I know without trying a bar? We just have to live with a disappointment now and then.

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
September 16, 2004
3:53 pm
alex_h
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you norwegians have some funny sayings :-)
how is making love by a burnt-down campfire? just curious ;-)

September 16, 2004
4:50 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Please, don’t count me in on that one!

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 16, 2004
5:39 pm
alex_h
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ok, sorry for generalizing.

September 17, 2004
1:15 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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No, problem. I said something offensive about Milka, men and Germans earlier, so I guess you’ve got your vengeance ;-)

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
September 17, 2004
7:57 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by alex_h

you norwegians have some funny sayings :-)
how is making love by a burnt-down campfire? just curious ;-)


Have you forgotten your Monty Python knowledge?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
September 17, 2004
9:41 am
alex_h
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unfortunately i have only seen little of monty python. i need to catch up sometime.

September 17, 2004
10:01 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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The three Australian philosophy professors, Bruce, Bruce and Bruce visi the USA but brings their own beer, because American beer is just like making love in a canoe. – F****n’ close to water!

Figure it out with the cheap forasteros choc for yourselves…:)

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
September 17, 2004
12:41 pm
alex_h
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ah, ok, i know that one. now i get it!
a bit slow sometimes ;-)

September 19, 2004
12:31 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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As far as I know, Hawaiian Vintage is only available through mail order. I had a friend try to get some for me in Hawaii, but she said that it is not sold in stores. I haven’t tried it either, but I would really like to. I think the strongest chocolate they make is 64%, but I could be wrong.

October 3, 2004
4:50 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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quote:


Originally posted by chocolatero

Madong is atrinitatio variety ” Papoua new guinea” growm on volcanic soil with strong notes of hay, leather and smoke. If some of you have tried Pralus Java, it is similar but stronger!


The Pralus Java is a bit jarring, especially upon first taste if you’re not familiar or used to those flavors in chocolate. The words “liquid smoke” were in my mind during the entire melt, and I even tasted mushrooms. I think the Columbia bar is rather accessible in terms of a chocolate having a non-challenging flavor profile yet still providing a strong and solid chocolate flavor without the bitterness.

October 27, 2004
10:04 am
alex_h
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question:

how can i tell the difference between forastero, criollo, nacional and trinitario (taste, color, consitency).
as far as i understand trinitario is a hybrid of forastero and criollo and nacional is a type of forastero. is that correct?

i think i can pretty much tell some of the differences but am not sure.

and how can i tell how long the beans were roasted or fermented (not in hours or in days, just in ‘short’ or ‘long’) or anything else that influences taste, consistency or color of a chocolate?

and final question: what does varietal mean?

thanks for any and all help,

a

October 27, 2004
1:07 pm
Sebastian
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Tough questions, but good. Generally speaking, the more a bean is fermented, the lower it’s polyphenol content (healthful) is, and the darker and more chocolate like it’s flavor will be. Longer fermented beans tend to be more acidic. Unfermented beans are less acidic, lighter in color, and carry less of a chocolate flavor profile, with more of a green or woody flavor profile, as well as bitter. These are generalizations, remember – there are so many differences between growing conditions, regions/types (varietals..), and processing techniques that the above things tend to blur.

If a bean has been alkalized (dutched, processed with alkali, etc), the color and flavor will be dramatically different as well. Dutching gives darker, redder colors and more of a fudgy flavor. Conching times and conditions will affect final flavor as well, and of course the types of flavors, if any, used are important (just as with chocolate, there are differences in flavor from different vanilla sources, for example).

Most of these things are hard for consumers to know what the conditions are, w/ the exception of alkalization as it’s on the label. In most cases your chocolate brand isn’t going to have any idea of what the fermentation conditions are (some are peripherially aware, but very very few know in detail what’s going on). And conching conditions are going to be kept closely held as a trade secret, usually.

Consistency – particle size plays a huge impact here (granulated sugar is very large, you need it to be < 22 microns for typical ‘fine’ chocolates; < ~18 microns isn’t perciptible by the human palate, and can actually make the chocolate ‘sticky’ and slow to leave your mouth. The presence of milk fat will affect the melting profile (generally makes it softer, quicker melting). Total fat level (usually cocoa butter) – higher usually means better quality, to a point of course – you wouldn’t want a chocolate that was 70% total fat. 33% is a fairly common industrial standard, i tend to like about the 38% area.

Hope that helps

October 27, 2004
2:34 pm
alex_h
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sebastian, thank you very much for your answer.

can you tell me something about the characteristics of forastero and criollo beans? how do they compare? and trinitario and nacional?

all i really know is that forasteros are more bitter. is that the main difference?

oh! another question: does anyone know more about porcelana in general? i’ve tried amedei, domori and marcolini bars, but fail to make a connection.
i find it difficult as well to compare amedei’s chuao with their porcelana.

thanks

October 27, 2004
6:56 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Forastero beans are “bulk beans” meaning that the majority of a chocolate’s bean constituency consists of Forasteros, whereas Criollos and Trinitarios are “flavor beans,” meaning they add varying dimensions to the overall flavor. It’s hard to generalize a basic flavor profile of each bean, because within each type exists great variation as well, which also is influenced by other factors such as origin, soil, fermentation, etc. For example, a perfect night-and-day comparison of contrasting Criollo flavors are Porcelana and Chuao. Whereas the Porcelana is soft and delicate with flavors of strawberries and cream, the Chuao is strong and assertive with flavors of molasses and blueberries. Both are Criollos, but the latter is unusually strong for its gentle natured pedigree. So, as you see, not only does variation exist but so do exceptions of the overall flavor expectations. Overall, though, Criollos tend to be gentler in flavor and feel more “pleasant,” as it were, than Forastero. A Forastero bean will deliver a good chocolaty punch and will be slightly bitter. A good exercise in differentiating among the three types, perhaps, and especially origin, is by getting the Pralus Pyramide des Tropiques, which features 10 bars of different origins and of different bean constituency. Each bar is comprised entirely from one type of bean from one country. For example, the Sao Tome bar is entirely Forastero, and the Indonesia is entirely Criollo. The difference are amazing, especially with the Java bar. Also, if you act now, you might be able to find a set with the Chuao bar, which will no longer be included in future samplers. I’m still trying to discern differences among bean type, origin, etc., and I find that the easiest and most fun thing to do is simply taste as many chocolates as you can. Take three or four similar bars and compare them to find differences and similarities, but keep in mind, though, that different brands have different takes on the same bean or origin, so try to see if certain flavors were transformed into something different due to manufacturing differences. For instance, Pralus is a dark roaster, and certain flavors are changed and mutated into something completely different than in a bar that was roasted for a shorter amount of time. One way to determine roasting time is by how acidic or fruity a chocolate is. A chocolate that has been roasted longer generally has a “darker” feel, that is it contains more tobacco, earthy, and ashy tones. Flavors tend to be caramelized and even subdued a bit due to the longer exposure to heat. Light roasting, otoh, tends to produce fruitier and more vibrant flavors, perhaps. Valrhona and Scharffen Berger are among the lightest roasters around, whereas Chocovic and Pralus are definitely dark roasters.