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Business of Chocolate

What makes a chocolate "rare"?

by ConstantineJan 30, 2023

Cacao beans are not rare. Cacao is a global commodity that is traded in quantities of 10 metric tons at a time on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Our definition of "rare" is the method of creating a chocolate, not the variety or genetics of the bean.  

Chocolate Maker vs. Chocolatier

by constantine  oct 28th, 2019

storefrontChocolate Maker
Chocolate makers are as rare as snow leopards.  What's even rarest is a chocolate maker roasting a pound at a time, shelling each bean by hand; yielding the entire contents of the cocoa bean. 

What is the difference between a chocolate maker and a chocolatier?
A chocolate maker begins with the cacao bean and the chocolatier with rectangular blocks of highly processed chocolate.  The chocolate maker: roasts, shells, grinds, then tempers.  The chocolatier: melts blocks of chocolate in a melting tank, then transfers to a tempering machine.  

A chocolatier cannot tell you where the beans came from, when it was processed, or if there was blending with other ingredients involved.  

Chocolate makers create chocolate bars and/or melting discs. Chocolatiers make ganaches, truffles, fancy decorated candies, etc..

Chocolate makers focus on the inside: the chocolate.  Chocolatiers focus on the aesthetics of decoration, packaging: the outside.

What's the difference between chocolate and confectioner's chocolate?  
Confectionery coating (note: they cannot use the word 'chocolate' unless it has a minimum of 12% chocolate,) uses a vegetable fat (GMO hydrogenated oil) to replace the cocoa butter that is found in genuine unadulterated chocolate.   

What's the difference between our steaming hot chocolatehot chocolate disc and hot chocolate powder? Ours is 'real chocolate', has 'real sugar' and is mixed with only hot water.  Cocoa powders' ingredients are cleverly written, but do not mention the word 'chocolate' in the ingredients and contains UFO Unidentified Fructose Objects, high fructose corn syrup, and must be mixed with a fatty liquid, otherwise you would choke on the watered powder. 

What is the difference between cacao and cocoa?  
Cacao is the bean unprocessed on the tree and cocoa when a process takes place.

A Melanger/Conch machine
Two granite rollers rotating on a spinning granite surfaced bowl to create the smoothness we associate with chocolate. The capacity of the bowl ranges from 5 to thousands of pounds.
 

odd things inside bag Sorting the cacao beans
Stones, tying wire, nylon cord, bag fabric, and pulp encrusted beans are among the items we have encountered in the sorting task. We select from the smallest to the largest cacao bean into pound bags, which we store in a larger bin for later use.

We prepare five pounds in a batch.
Each pound is roasted separately in order to observe and control the changes taking place in the roasting.  Rubi uses her acute sense of smell to determine the stages in the roasting progress, similar to our experience roasting coffee. The focus toward the end stages of roasting is to determine the degree of shell casing separation off the cocoa nibs. This is critical as it determines the amount of time devoted for the next step in the process.

Shelling the beans
close up hand shelled beansThis step is the humans most time consuming, tedious, and rewarding, for the final product taste. It takes one hour to hand-shell one pound of cocoa beans.  Rubi spends the next four to five hours shelling the cocoa beans until the wee hours of the morning.

Chocolate manufacturers typically feed the beans into a bean cracker, crushing the shells encasing the beans. The cracked beans are vacuumed to separate the shells, dirt, pulp, and particles of cocoa beans. The remaining large fragments are the only chocolate you will have the pleasure to taste. A lot of the smaller particles end up in the garbage. To recover the entire contents of the cocoa bean, we remove the shells by hand, one by one. A tedious process, but imagine what the taste would be, as the entire beans' content is in the chocolate
bar. No chocolate maker in the world claims this distinction (except To'ak, but their bars are a little more expensive) except us.


Melanger/Conching
Inoxidizer melanger conching machine the morning we bring the beans to the store for the next steps.  Weighing the cocoa beans to calculate the amount of fibrous cane sugar to be added to the batch.  Using a cracking machine to crack the beans. At the same time, heat up the granite based bowl to ease the feeding  of the beans into the Melanger. It takes one to three hours to feed the beans and then the sugar into the vessel, which depends on the ambient temperature. After six or seven hours, the liqueur is smooth as thick honey.
By this time Rubi arrives to transfer the liqueur into the tempering machine. This step takes a half-hour, scooping and scraping each fragment of thick liqueur into the tempering bowl.  

The chocolate industry would have you believe that multiple days are required to bring out the true taste of the chocolate.  Not true. Chocolate aromas are developed in the fermentation stage, not the conching stage.

Here's what you taste as a result of over-processing: wax, sweet, then chocolate; ending
with sweet.  Catering to the sugarholic – mission accomplished.


Tempering
tempering machine This machine heats up the liqueur to 108 degrees, then lowers the temperature to 87.7 degrees. This procedure lines up the crystals in the chocolate to form a strong body, which prevents the penetration of moisture. When it is "in temper"  the chocolate bar will have a distinct snap when you break it.  If you ever experienced a bending and not a snap, it means moisture is in your chocolate and is not safe to eat. This step takes about an hour, depending on the ambient temperature and humidity inside and outside the store.

Inclusions
Inclusions are prepared by roasting nuts, seeds, berries, and roots, encapsulating the product with caramelized sugar.
   
At this point Rubi begins to scoop the liqueur into the molds with or without inclusions. Acetate sheets are placed on the mold trays, then placed into a cooling enclosure to cool down and solidify for the next day.

our new chocolate moldsMold Detachment
The next day Rubi pops the chocolate out of the molds. She trims the overflow on each mold from the tray, then scores the 3 oz breakaway molds with a knife, then splits them into 1 oz bars. She then hand wraps each bar with a triple fold of aluminum foil paper to prevent little critters laying their eggs inside. Then folding the ends of the foil at an angle and creating a folded endcap, which will be used to join the other end into an opposing clasp.  She uses glue to enjoin the endcaps to prevent tampering. She then wraps and glues the outer label to the foil.
Finally, she places the bars in display cases for sale. Any extra chocolate is saved and sent to the Philippines to be enjoyed by her relatives.
Adding all the time spent amounts to 17 hours over the next two days.

Chocolate Makers in the World?

by constantinenov 18, 2022

How many...WikipediaFlavors of  Cacao
...in the world89N/A
.. in the United States 22337 (24 closed)
.. in New York State 119
.. in New York City 112
.. in Queens  01 Us

Chocolate Transparency

by constantineoct 13, 2022

Detailed Transparency

We had to consider the basis of what 'big chocolate' claims to be excellent quality: twenty microns. Then, the marketing departments of ' big chocolate' convince you to consider the smoothness of the chocolate as the only measure.
Finally, they seduce you with words like luxurious, smooth, silky, velvety, sensuous, and exotic, encouraging you to be gluttonous.
Yet, throughout your experience, every purchase of chocolate ends in disappointment with the enduring (goo) issue of the aftertaste.

The Chocolate Business 

by constantinejan 5, 2022

There is a concerted effort in the chocolate manufacturing business to shut out small-batch, storefront-style businesses. Perhaps we can create a sustainable project with your support. The controversy is in the oxidation/crushing/conching stage. Notice all the definitions of the process of oxidation? Again, it's to confuse your understanding of what takes place: erasing the aroma and taste.

What is Conching?
Conching refers to smoothening cocoa beans and sugar. Wikipedia defines it as 78 hours of conching, which yields high quality, and 6 hours to lower quality chocolate. Deception by omission. How many pounds were in the batches? Wikipedia does not disclose this crucial fact but instead says: "manufacturers keep the details of their conching process propriety" to end the discussion. Conching is a fancy word for crushing or shear: a flattening of a three-dimensional body to achieve smoothness. Oxidation is happening scientifically: Continuously breaking up cocoa particles Exposing the innards to air Releasing its aroma molecules in exchange for moisture molecules. The more surface area of the cocoa exposed to the air, the more oxidation occurs. As a result, the health-related benefits get destroyed at the conching stage.

How many pounds are in a batch?
Wikipedia omits the batch size. We researched who made the first conch machine. Unfortunately, the specifications did not indicate the batch size. However, we found an article in The New Yorker about the author's visit to the chocolate factory in Hershey, PA. In an interview with Bill Wagner, who for 45 years was in charge of conching. 'He lays some chocolate on the tip of his tongue and presses it upward. The statement that sends 90,000 pounds on its way to being eaten is always the same. Wagner's cheeks blossom, saying, "That's Hershey's." '

The batch size is 90,000 pounds.
The conspiracy by omission. What is it? Comparing 78 hours and 6 hours in the conching process without disclosing the batch size is deception. Purposely to discourage people from starting a chocolate business, as it did for us more than ten years ago. When we learned about the 35 to 78 hours devoted per batch, we just gave up on starting a bean-to-bar chocolate business. 

The most expensive chocolates in the world

by constantine  oct 22nd, 2019

10. La Madeline au Truffle by house of Knipschildt
Made with 70% Valrhona dark chocolate, [melting chocolate] heavy cream, sugar, rare truffle [mushroom] from France, truffle oil and vanilla, a ganache [whipped filling of chocolate and cream]. 
RC: For $250, you get chocolate in a bed of pearls in a silver box tied with a ribbon.

9. To’ak Chocolate Bar
To’ak chocolate is a 50 gram [2 oz] chocolate bar that costs $360 per bar. The process of chocolate making starts with roasting cacao beans in a pot over wood fire, and [hand-shelling] the beans one by one. The chocolate bar is presented is handcrafted box made from Spanish Elm wood. 

8. DeLafée’s Gold Chocolate Box With Swiss Gold Coin
Delafee’s gold chocolate box contains 8 chocolate adorned with 24 karat edible gold. For $390, you also get an antique gold coin, dating from the years 1910 to 1920. The chocolates are presented in a dark brown, satin covered gift box.

7. Debauve & Gallais Le livre
Debauva and Gallais, founded by Sulpice Debauve in 1800, is a French chocolate manufacturer. In 2000, they introduced ‘Le Liver’ to commemorate Debauve & Galais 200th anniversary. Le Liver is a gold adorned leather box in the shape of a box filled with 35 handmade creamy ganaches and pralines [$550]. 

 6. Noka’s Vintage Collection
This box of chocolates comes with the price tag of $854. The chocolates are presented in an elegantly crafted brushed stainless steel box. 
RC: They got caught cheating claiming bean to bar, while melting blocks of chocolate.

5. Wispa Gold Wrapped Chocolate
Would you pay $1,600 for a Cadbury chocolate bar? In hopes to promote the re-launch Wispa chocolate bar, they created one of the world’s most expensive chocolate bar. The wrapper of this bar of chocolate is covered in an actual gold leaf, which is the cause for this insanely high price. 

4. Swarovski Studded Chocolates
Priced at $10,000, a Lebanese chocolatier and Harrods have tied up to bring out Swarovski studded chocolates. The premium packagings are handmade and wrapped in Indian silk. In each package, 49 chocolates are placed on suede leather with gold and platinum partitions. The stunning box is made out of hand woven silk from China and India. Each chocolate is dressed up with Swarovski crystals, gold and silk rose to enhance the look of the chocolates.

3. The Golden Speckled Egg
The 110 pound chocolate egg holds the world record for the most expensive at $10,000 non jeweled chocolate egg. This chocolate masterpiece took seven skilled chocolatiers over the course of three days to handcraft. It’s made of Amadei chocolate from Venezuela and filled with caramel, juniper berry, rosemary, Japanese black vinegar and edible gold leaf. The egg was decorated with 12 little chocolate eggs, 20 mini chocolate bars and 5 white flowers. It weighted over 110.23 lbs and was 3 ft 6.13 inches tall.

2. Frrrozen Haute Chocolate
The staff at the Serendipity 3 restaurant set Guinness World Record with their $25,000 chocolate dessert. The dessert is a high end version of the restaurant’s Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. The dessert is a mix of cocoas and milk in a slushy like form. The high price is due to the 24 Karat gold that is mixed in it and the ‘La Madeleine Au Truffe’ that tops this extravagant dessert.
It’s made with a blend of 28 cocoas that includes 14 of the most exotic from around the world.

1. Le Chocolat Box
Le chocolat box is considered to be the most expensive chocolates in the world to ever exist. Costing $1.5 millions, this box of chocolate does not only includes chocolates, but also necklaces, earrings, rings and bracelets adorned with diamonds, sapphires and emeralds.