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Marcolini - quality vs price
April 24, 2004
4:44 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Marcolini's chocolates are great - no doubt. Sure, there are some variations, but on general Marcolini is in the chocomaker elite.

So are his prices. [}:)] In my opinion, you pay too much for the style and exclusivity. Marcolini is great - but not greater than the best from Cluizel, Artisan, Valrhona. And when Cluizel's Hacienda - one of the best I ever tasted - sells for £3.25 per 100g at the snobbish Fortnum&Mason, £5 for 80g of Marcolini is just not worth it.

My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
May 21, 2004
2:20 pm
alex_h
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quality vs price is an interesting topic in itself. especially when you buy bars by the best chocolate makers. i don't hesitate to spend money when i have the feeling what i am getting is good. but sometimes i buy an expensive bar an realize it just isn't as good as the last one i had.

polarbear, you rate marcolini alongside the likes of valrhona. if that is the case then the high price isn't justified imo. yet, if marcolini is comparable to domori or amedei you get a price i am used to paying.

May 24, 2004
1:29 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by alex_h

quality vs price is an interesting topic in itself. especially when you buy bars by the best chocolate makers. i don't hesitate to spend money when i have the feeling what i am getting is good. but sometimes i buy an expensive bar an realize it just isn't as good as the last one i had.

polarbear, you rate marcolini alongside the likes of valrhona. if that is the case then the high price isn't justified imo. yet, if marcolini is comparable to domori or amedei you get a price i am used to paying.


Unfortunately I haven't tried Marcolini, but I agree it is a topic worth to discuss. In Norway I use to pay approx £4.50 for a 50g bar of Amedei Chuao or Porcelana in the shop. (Chuao is available in 1 kg blocks for a good price in comparison.) I'm aware it's lots of money, but as long as the taste is marvelous, I'm fine. From what I've heard of Marcolini some of their bars are so great that it is worth every penny. Yet I have to approve this myself. I'm actually more annoyed by "quasi-quality" brands that appear to be particularly good and nice looking, but which aren't anything but disappointing. These are often available at snobbish shops like Fortnum&Mason (or Julius Meinl in Vienna which I'm more familiar with).

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 24, 2004
4:29 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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What are some of these "quasi-quality" brands you speak of? Are they ones that dress bars in fancy packaging and tout it as being the best, while in reality it tastes like a piece of cardboard?

May 24, 2004
8:29 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Yes, more or less, Montegrano. I'm actually trying to forget the brand names as I don't want to have anything to do with them in the future, but if I'm going to try to mention some: Cote d'Or, Valor (I remember this brand as generally bad, but I think I came across one nice bar), Hachez, Callebaut. Please forgive me if I step on someone's toes now.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
May 25, 2004
3:28 am
Hans-Peter Rot
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Hey now, Callebaut's not so bad [;)] Lots of pastry chefs use Callebaut in their recipes and restaurants. I wouldn't be surprised if you were eating Callebaut chocolate in your next chocolate cake or chocolate mousse [;)]

May 31, 2004
8:41 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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It might very well be that some of the chocolates I don't like eating as they are taste great when mixed with other ingredients :-) I didn't like Cluizel's 99% the first time I tried it, but what a wonderful chocolate mousse I made from it!

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 2, 2004
3:29 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by alex_h

polarbear, you rate marcolini alongside the likes of valrhona. if that is the case then the high price isn't justified imo. yet, if marcolini is comparable to domori or amedei you get a price i am used to paying.


We all have personal tastes; I am much on the fruity side, while Marcolini is more on the dark, mocha side; off course this could influence my ratings. I rate Valrhonas single estates (the so-called Grand Crus are not in the same high class) as just as good as most of Marcolini's. Marcolini probably use rarer beans from small farms, but I pay for taste, not exclusivity. I havn't tried Amedei or Domori, so I can't say how they are.

LoneLy; do you get Amedei or Domori in Norway? Where?

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
June 3, 2004
2:50 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Polarbear,
Amedei, Michel Cluizel and Enrico Rovira are available in Oslo - in different shops. Honestly it's only the Amedei provider that seems to know what they're selling though. The Michel Cluizel and Enrico Rovira sortiments seem strange and coincidental to me.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 3, 2004
11:57 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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quote:


Originally posted by LoneLy

Polarbear,
Amedei, Michel Cluizel and Enrico Rovira are available in Oslo - in different shops. Honestly it's only the Amedei provider that seems to know what they're selling though. The Michel Cluizel and Enrico Rovira sortiments seem strange and coincidental to me.


Which shops? Although I live in Tromsø, I will spend one month in the "south" this summer.

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
June 3, 2004
5:22 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I'll tell you by mail, Polarbear - I guess the general readers aren't interested in finding their way around Oslo. I'll check out the Cluizel supply before I get back to you - I've promised Legodude to do it for a week now ... Btw, the Amedei provider will close for July, so they're selling out their stock these days. However, if there's something particular you're looking for, please let me know, and I'll put it on my list. They've said they can bring special goods from Italy to me if there's anything I "need". It's kind of fun that my fav chocolate shops are all accessible by tram - so now and then I take my own "Oslo tram trip for chocolate" with a friend.

How is chocolate in Tromsø? It's my mother's hometown and I've been there for conferences. You've got great restaurants there! The Amedei people had told my providers in Oslo that they're happy to have their chocolate in Scandinavia as we don't have much storage problems according to temperature. Although you've already had some hot days up north, I guess it might be even better in Tromsø than in Oslo.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 4, 2004
9:34 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Thanx, LoneLy, send me a mail at karsteneig (alphawhirl) hotmail.com (remember to close spaces, we have to make som trouble for the spammers, you know).

There is a dedicated chocolate&candy shop in Tromsø, Sweet Heart. They have a decent stock of Valrhona (they got the single estates yesterday), but it's much more expensive than in Oslo. They used to have an occasional Cluizel bar, but no more. Otherwise, it's our old "friends" the "Belgian Chocolates". Say no more. Rovira's small boxes (no bars) also are available at a delicatesse shop, but they are insanely expensive. Some whole foods shops have Green&Blacks and Pronatec, which are the ones I eat most.

See why I need to get to the "South" sometimes?[:D]

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
June 4, 2004
3:31 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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A general problem is how we can get our local shops to stock great stuff. The prices might be an issue for why some are reluctant, especially if they aren't guaranteed to sell a lot. However, I'm quite sure the Amedei shop didn't expect the success it turned out to be. I'd be happy to hear experiences from people in the forum. Any good arguments we can use?

Polarbear, I'm eager to take a trip further south myself soon - that is Germany/Austria and/or UK - to buy chocolate of course. I lived in Tromsø for a short period myself and I remember the prices were ridiculous. I mean, foreign tourists complain about the prices in Oslo. Anyway, how much is it for a Valrhona bar - let's say Chuao? At the importer's shop in Oslo (Jacob's) it's approx 40 NOK (4.70 €), 200 g bars for 60 NOK (7 €), the other shops have slightly higher prices (e.g. 68 NOK for a 200 g bar). How much is it for the Rovira boxes? Here from 75-95 NOK. The one I tried was good but not exactly worth it considering quality vs price (to keep up with the topic).

Btw, I haven't heard of Pronatec. Is it worth a try? Can't remember to have seen it either.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 4, 2004
6:11 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Chuao, Ampamakia, Gran Cuova: 50 NOK (~6€), 200 g bars 80 NOK (~10 €) (1€~8 NOK). Rovira: Approx 100 NOK (~12€) (which is why I havn't tried them).

Pronatec (www.pronatec.ch) is a swiss maker of organic fair trade chocolate from the Dominican republic. They make 59 and 71%. The chocolate is quite similar to Green&Blacks, but slightly less spicy and somewhat "darker" (but without the forasteros-ash-taste), but with some fruit too, and quite a bit of vanilla. They also make a 37% white chocolate with a lot of black dots in - irrestistible!

For locals; they are sold in the health food store at the Gunerius shopping centre.

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
June 4, 2004
6:21 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Black dots??? Can you describe what is irresistible with them, or the bar? I'll see if I can find them here. Btw, the prices up north seems inhuman [V]

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
June 4, 2004
6:32 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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The black dots are vanilla grains - which is why they are irrestistible! Green&blacks white choc have them too, but G&B's white is not so good. While at white choc - try the white from El Rey, in the Carenero Superior series.

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
June 5, 2004
9:50 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
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Once you try El Rey's Icoa white chocolate, you'll never want to eat another brand of white chocolate again. El Rey's is unbelievably good and is not sweet at all. It has a nutty flavor, which results from the non-deodorized cocoa butter.

June 6, 2004
10:30 am
Polarbear
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quote:


Originally posted by Montegrano

El Rey's is unbelievably good and is not sweet at all. It has a nutty flavor, which results from the non-deodorized cocoa butter.


Hear, hear! It may sound crazy, but the aftertaste of Icao somehow reminds me of plastic - but it is not bad at all! Call it surrealistic, but it is what makes the choc so special.

Pronatec's white has in fact more cocoa butter (37 vs 34%), but it has slightly more sugar and is a bit sweeter. But the cocoa areome is fantastic.

Another white, which I long to taste again when I go to Copenhagen this summer is the 39% white from Mølle Skovly. I have only tried it once, but still dream about it!

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
July 6, 2004
12:00 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Back from almost four weeks of field trip to Lofoten! Fun to tell the tourists that I actually got paid to be there - but quite abit of people thought we were strange, standing in a roadcut all day and measuring fracture orientations. Very interesting and very hard work.

But I need some real choc now! I have had only two bars during the trip - one G&B Maya Gold (only dark thing in the shop, except for the annoying Villars), and one new to me: Kung Markatta 70%, a Swiss organic from a Swedish company. Taste was dominated by hints of liqourice and raisins, and the texture was somewhat grainy. Not bad, not in the top range.

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

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
December 8, 2004
8:06 am
alex_h
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i've just tried three marcolini bars after trying my first two a couple of months ago and must agree with polar. marcolini no doubt makes a good chocolate, but i find it entirely overpriced. i guess the packaging (which is really nice) must cost a bit too.

i am coming to the conclusion for myself, that i don't want to pay as much as i have so far for chocolate. while the chocolates that are most expensive are definitively the best (domori's chateau, amedei porcelana and chuao, marcolini...) i am now opting for less expensive stuff, such as domori's 75g series.

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