The Chocolate Life

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For a chocolate connoisseur or an aspiring one, I think a study of the styles of individual chocolate companies is very useful. A few years ago, a website called The Nibble, provided a tour by Peter Rot, called 'The World's Great Gourmet Chocolate Producers'. It was a comparison of how each differed in style. I was very impressed with this 2 part tour (written in 2005 and 2006).

I'm hoping Chocolate Life members would like to create a database of the styles or characteristics of bean to bar chocolate producers. A similar database would be useful for those who produce bon bons and truffles but I'd prefer to keep the database's in separate discussions.

I'll start with a couple that I have on my list as an example of what I have in mind. Any corrections to my listings are welcome as well as improvements in how to document the styles.

Country: France
Ingredients: no lecithin, no vanilla, extra cocoa butter
Roast: dark
Conching time:

Country: Italy
Ingredients: no lecithin, no vanilla
Roast: dark
Conching time: short

Country: USA
Ingredients: less cocoa butter
Conching time: short

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For what it's worth (and I'm not sure it is worth much) I'm going to attach the spread sheet I had started rather than retype the entries individually. I'm very hesitant to post this but I did start this thread originally. I have some basic information I had put in a spreadsheet that maybe you or someone else could build on to attain our original goal. I've taken out a lot of information regarding flavor profiles as alot of people, and I'm tending to agree, find these generalizations inaccurate. Also, the data I have left could very well be inaccurate so be open minded. I'm finding it very difficult to connect the dots with basic information that I have. After talking to several makers individually, I have not found one to admit to any standard formula or process that they use to attain an identifiable characteristic as a maker. The answer by most is that they vary the process with each bean as needed. I imagine that is true and so I'm not sure how to further pursue this post. Going back to Hans' House Tour on thenibble, his narrative approach is alot more interesting and useful. The practices of the individual makers is quite different and interesting, I just think I've tried to simplify it too much with this spreadsheet comparison. Also, it is created in Microsoft Works Spreadsheet, so hopefully you can open it.

Your disclaimer is well noted. Maybe for some makers it's too much to make generalizations about a trademark style. It does seem to me, though, that at least some makers have a characteristic style. To me Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, Hachez, and Amedei have each had a certain style for all of the chocolate I've tasted from them. (The first 3 I don't care for, but I love everything from Amedei that I've tasted.)
Hi Brady,

My cocoa butter, when I use it, is also pressed here at the Patric Chocolate facility, and from the same beans as the cacao used in my chocolate. Also, my roasting, so far, would probably be best classified as being on the low side of medium, but my intention is not to define myself with a certain style of roasting. I would rather focus on bringing the best flavor out of the cacao, and this leaves room for different roasting profiles in the future, depending upon the cacao.


P.S. Nice seeing you at the Fancy Food Show yesterday.


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