The Chocolate Life

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I was a little perplexed a few months ago while doing a joint chocolate and wine pairing event. The neighbor next to me, a chocolate maker whom shall remain nameless, kept on informing the patrons that they were not re-melters. She made it a point to inform people that their chocolate company actually makes chocolate from the bean. Her insistence on giving out this piece of information and using such a degrading term as 're-melter' didn't sit well with me. By using such an adjective, it belittles the craft of truffle-making and bar blending.

I would love for this young company to go up to a guy like Recchuiti and say, 'Hey man, sit back, you're just a re-melter.'

I make it a point to inform my customers of who's chocolate I use. I do not pretend to be a chocolate maker. This company in question, however, fails to see how they may lose business by the use of such a derogatory word. Do they plan to only make a living my selling direct to the end user (chocolate consumer), becuase I would never endorse any chocolatier to do business with such a company.

What are your thoughts?

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I don't mean to be rude, I'm just a bottom-line type of guy. From an objective sense, chocolatiers re-melt chocolate... what value do you find in being offended by this?

(I say this as someone who has re-melted countless kilos without grinding bean one.)
I think it's one of those things that everyone will endlessly chase - the term "artisan" will get taken over by the huge manufacturers and as a result the effective meaning of the term to the lay-customer will change. Folks who see themselves as artisans will be affronted and think of another way to describe what they do and distance themselves from the big companies. And so on, ad infinitum.
The use of the term "re-melter" sounds like someone getting their attack in first!
Is this in the US? Was the woman in question the actual chocolate maker or simply an employee? I'm not familiar with any bean-to-bar companies in the US where the chocolate maker is female--though would be happy to be proven wrong. If you don't feel comfortable publishing the company's name, which I can foresee, then please consider sending it to me via PM. There have been a number of companies saying that they make chocolate lately, though not actually doing so, and I'm interested to see if this is one of them.
Hi Alan,

She doesn't own the company, but chocolate maker is her title. I'll be sending you an email shortly.
Mindy:

I would also be interested in knowing who this is, and I don't think there is any need to keep it private. It's not a question of their being "better" than you in some way because they are making the chocolate they use and you're choosing to focus on a different area of the business. It's whether or not they're being truthful in how they are representing their business.

I do have to agree with Devil that the term "re-melter" is not derogatory, it's merely descriptive; while being not totally accurate. The French term for this is "fondeur" or simply "melter" not re-melter. The issue you are probably having is that this company is implying that they are necessarily better than you are because you are "only" a fondeur.

You can point out that virtually all of the best chocolatiers (and you can name some) in the world are "only" fondeurs. Their interest and their passion lay with making confections, not in making chocolate. And that's not bad or wrong. If I were a painter and did not make my own paints does that mean that a painter who does is a better painter than I? No. As a photographer, I use film and paper that are made by companies who specialize in making film and paper. Does that mean that someone who makes their own is a better photographer than I? No. Same with chocolate.

One advantage that you enjoy as a fondeur is a nearly limitless palette of options when choosing the chocolate you want to use. You're not limited to the origins and percentages you make, there are hundreds you can choose from. So in that sense, NOT being a chocolate maker can be thought of as a definite advantage -- because if you don't like a particular chocolate (for whatever reason) you don't have to use it. Besides, if the only chocolatier in the world that is using (chocolate company's name here)'s chocolate is (the aforementioned chocolate company) and the chocolate is so great, how come more chocolatiers aren't using it?

So. Embrace your inner fondeur now that you have some information that affirms your decision to focus on the craft of being a chocolatier - which is difficult enough all by itself. There's no reason to take umbrage with what others might say (after all, it's their insecurity that's driving them to say it) and stay above the fray. But ... if someone asks the question, well now you have some answers for them and off come the kid gloves.
Ok Clay. Your response is compelling and I'll spill the cacao beans....It's Tcho.

Just means that the Tcho employee does not understand the complexities of 're-melting'!

Thank you for this message!

Alan, I'm surprised to see this post because I thought back in March you knew about me making chocolate from Jamaican beans.
It does sound like it is intentionally used to degrade an artisan chocolatier. It sounds like it skips out on the many processes and stages of making "chocolates" from chocolate. I guess some like feel superior by making others feel inferior. Not kind.
I definitely get a derogatory vibe off "re-melters". She must have been a handful in high school!
last time I was at tcho they didnt have any roasting/cracking/winnowing equipment. They DO buy liquor and have an impressive array of equipment for the processing of liquor, but they do not roast at their facility....as far as I could see......

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