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Channel 4 - Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory
March 1, 2008
7:26 pm
Marcellus
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Apologies if this has been posted somewhere else but I noticed this 4 part seies about Willie Harcourt-Cooze is to be broadcast on the next four Sundays on Channel 4 starting 2nd March. Should be interesting.

http://www.channel4.com/food/f.....2_p_1.html

March 3, 2008
10:36 am
NickLam79
Singapore
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April 29, 2006
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Just watched the programme and it is absolutely amazing. The first episode shows Willie and family going to Venezuela to harvest the cacao and bringing it back to the UK.

Its not only informative and educational, but shows the highs and lows that they go through togather as a family. Perhaps one day, I'll get a chance to sample his chocolates from halfway around the world!

Definitely looking forward to the next episode next week.

March 3, 2008
9:32 pm
dancingchocoholic
Hants/W.Sx Border, United Kingdom
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March 3, 2008
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I watched this too. Fantastic viewing and cannot wait until next week to see how he is getting on...

Dawn Shrives

Dawn Shrives
March 26, 2008
2:43 pm
Independent
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March 26, 2008
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Well I watched it too and all I can say is that you have been conned.

This program is fake and manipulative - it is one gigantic marketing exercise for Willie.

Do some research on other sites and you will learn the real story behing this artificial con exercise.

March 26, 2008
5:52 pm
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by Independent

Well I watched it too and all I can say is that you have been conned.

This program is fake and manipulative - it is one gigantic marketing exercise for Willie.

Do some research on other sites and you will learn the real story behing this artificial con exercise.


Do you have some specific information of which we should be aware? Let us know.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
March 27, 2008
12:44 am
Independent
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March 29, 2008
1:01 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by Independent

Alex

Try this :-
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/fo.....trade.html


From this I see nothing specific that would lead me to believe dishonesty on anyone's part. The article itself has a lot of editorial commentary but doesn't present many facts. Most of the discussion focusses on general differences between different business models.

It's my impression that Willie Harcourt-Cooze is manufacturing in England precisely because his specific role in the process is that of the raw bean processing - turning it from beans to liquor. Granted that may not return the very most maximal value to the source country (Venezuela in this case) but I'm not under the impression that Mr. Harcourt-Cooze is attempting to be a foreign investor - which is what he would be if he attempted to build manufacturing infrastructure in Venezuela.

In a larger sense, siting manufacturing in the source nation of raw materials isn't always the best choice anyway for a variety of reasons. Other aspects of the infrastructure: transport, power, distribution, etc. may not be in place in the country. The local workforce may not have the needed expertise - which means that even if you invest in an expensive, long-term training programme production problems will be endemic initially. Support service industries (who's going to repair your machine when it breaks down?) likewise may be nonexistent. Local attitudes and customs may not be conducive to the operation. These are just some of the economic factors, and in addition other problems often arise - social dislocation, destruction of native cultures, environmental damage, etc. etc. Let's not forget that in the specific case of Venezuela the Chavez administration means that *any* investment is at risk of being taken by the government and the attendant instability means that efforts at local development on your part might amount to nothing anyway.

Everybody applauds the efforts of Malagasy - they've done well and are producing a quality product. The Equitrade goal is an honourable one. However, it's not the only goal worth striving for, and in this case I think Willie's doing a remarkable job towards a very different but equally worthwhile goal - bringing quality bean-to-bar chocolate production to England.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
March 30, 2008
11:55 pm
Independent
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Alex

OK, maybe I should have pointed out that you should have ignored the article itself and read the comments. Forget about business models and Malagasy and stuff, just read the comments after the main article. My point is not about the rights or wrongs of where the value is added.

Also watch the programs again if at all possible. Willie has conspired with the producers to con you. Yes it makes for great TV if you cannot spot the underlying message but it is still artificial and fake. You have been used and manipulated.

March 31, 2008
1:12 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by Independent
... Forget about business models and Malagasy and stuff, just read the comments after the main article. My point is not about the rights or wrongs of where the value is added.


My impression is that the comments are equally inconclusive as the main article. Also, do you consider comments by 3rd-party contributors to be reliable?

quote:


Also watch the programs again if at all possible. Willie has conspired with the producers to con you.


In what way? I think everyone here is clear that he's trying to sell a product. My first-hand impressions of the product to date have been positive. The product is definitely real, definitely available, definitely (in my mind, at least) worth trying and buying. No con here that I can see. Are you party to information that the rest of us are not?

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
April 1, 2008
10:15 am
Marcellus
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I don't understand how the programmes could be considered a con job.
W H-C certainly took advantage to promote his product but so what?
I don't know about his bank balance and don't care. Was he saying "buy my chocolate because, look, I'm poor and I'm employing poor Venezuelan farmers so you have a moral duty to do so". That wasn't my impression. The Guardian article is typical of the paper and W H-C got off quite lightly. He was lucky not to be portrayed as a slave plantation owner holding a bull whip in one hand and a pistol in the other but you get the feeling the journalist would have liked to.
That said, I thought the series was overlong and could easily have been condensed into 2 x 1 hour slots but con job? No.

April 7, 2008
4:48 am
JasonBunting
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July 27, 2004
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I love how there are these attempts to malign Willie - I read the article before coming to this thread and am quite lost as to how anyone is being conned by that series; according to your profile the only reason you came here, Mr. Mackie, is to say mean things.

What do you hope to gain?

j a s o n b u n t i n g

j a s o n b u n t i n g
May 1, 2008
10:19 pm
seneca
USA
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http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
May 1, 2008
10:23 pm
seneca
USA
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I thought this quote was particularly intriguing:
"Mr Chavez added: 'We cannot continue exporting cacao, we have to process it, industrialise it.'"

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

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
May 2, 2008
3:02 am
JasonBunting
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July 27, 2004
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quote:


Originally posted by seneca

I thought this quote was particularly intriguing:
"Mr Chavez added: 'We cannot continue exporting cacao, we have to process it, industrialise it.'"


Lovely - that's just what we need: someone that probably has no understanding of the difference between good chocolate and the crap that so often passes as chocolate taking over all cacao in his country and industrializing it. Too bad George Bush doesn't care about chocolate as much as oil - maybe we would have bombed Venezuela instead of Iraq...

j a s o n b u n t i n g

j a s o n b u n t i n g
May 2, 2008
8:15 am
chocolatero
london
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There is clear trend from cocoa producing countries to move to higher value products such as liquor and to a lesser extent chocolate. This can only be positive to increase choice and fair trade. Since we started to process from liquor in the UK, we have been almost every month contacted by a cooperative producing liquor in cocoa country and directly targeting artisan producers in europe and bypassing the big buyers. So there can be some good in industralising and exporting a more value added product and i think this is an irreversible trend.

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