The Chocolate Life

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Things have been going pretty good for the last little while--save for one problem: Bulk couveture prices.

I'm a big fan of Lindt, and buy it in 100 kg shipments from a pastry supplier here in Vancouver. These shipments usually last me 2-3 mths. Every time I need to order in a new shipment I get the ol' "Uh, prices just went up" routine from the rep.. I take full advantage of the Lindt food service rep, who has an office here, and am assured that prices have stayed the same since Feb of this year and no prices are scheduled for another year. So I call the supplier's bluff--have been doing it now 3 times--they never learn, and it's starting to really irritate me.

I do a fair amount of workshops and charity events, and for this I use a cheaper couveture, a Calle. 70-30. I get this from two different suppliers, both large pastry suppliers with several branches in Canada, we'll call them "X" and "Y".

"X " came banging on my door in early November trying to flog a very cheap brand of couveture--sounded too good to be true, and I managed to weasel out of the rep that it was past expiry date, tell him no-go. So then he gives me a decent price on the Callebaut line. Decent enough for the first order, when I order again, I get the ol " Uh, prices have increased" schtick. Something to do with the falling CDN $ and head office in Toronto. When the shipment comes in I check the batch codes and the expiry dates--same stock as last shipment. So I send it back, tell them either send me stuff with a pristine expiry date or stuff the "prices have increased" schtick down the septic tank where it belongs. I try to order again, but now I get "Uh, we have no stock left, and don't know if we'll be bringing in that item anymore. Right.....

"Y" has been increasing his prices on the Callebaut line very steadily since late Sept. Now it's gotten to the point where the 70-30 is only $1/kg cheaper than the Lindt. I do know of places in Vancouver bringing in their own Callebaut at 1/3 the price of what "Y" is charging. These are med. to large chocolate guys, and bring it in by the pallete.

Yeah, I know, suppliers have to mark up, but what's fair? 35% ? 40%? Certainly not anything over 100%. O.K., Christmas, you want to mark up and gouge a bit, then do it, but don't B.S. me, it's downright insulting.

Maybe I should negotiate a price with Lindt, but don't know if I'll make their minimum requirements. Worth a shot though....

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