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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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Perhaps the issue is that of the phrase "making chocolate"- perhaps by connotation it refers to making chocolate confections. In other languages you find the same thing- chocolates can refer to those beautiful creations. When somebody asks me what I do, being a rather new chocolatier I feel sometimes hesitant about using "chocolatier" so I say "I make chocolates". I in no way mean to disinform anyone. (When can on say with full confidence that she is a chocolatier?!) I mean chocolates as in sweets from chocolate. Anyway, most people here have no clue either way and don't even know that the cacao bean is what it is...
I agree 100% with what you just wrote. In North America, we refer to a chocolatier's creations as "chocolates", whereas in other areas of the world, they are referred to as pralines, bon bons, and confections in order to mitigate confusion.

In Europe, a chocolatier is defined as a person who makes confections using chocolate. Chocolate makers are defined just as that - a chocolate maker, and most often don't have the title as chocolatier. There are of course exceptions to the rule, such as with Pierre Marcolini, who is not only a chocolatier, but also a chocolate maker.

When I first opened my shop, I too was a bit uncomfortable referring to myself as a "chocolatier". I was even uncomfortable wearing a chef jacket. However over time I realized that because I owned a chocolate business, and worked with the product every day, I could be called a chocolatier. I also came to terms with the fact that just as in any industry/trade there are many different levels of skill. All should be recognized with the same respect, as it takes a lot of practice to make the beautiful works of art we've all seen in a chocolate shop at one time or another.

In my case, I don't aspire to be that creative. My focus is on quality of taste, and educating the consumer - which is why I'm so opposed to people who pass off chocolate as "theirs" when they sell it to the customer. The confections are, but the chocolate certainly is not, and people shouldn't be led down the wrong road.

It sounds as though we're of the same mindset. I just may be a bit more crass in my response.

Best Regards, and happy chocolatiering!

Brad Churchill
www.SoChoklat.com
Exactly!! I wouldlove to be able to "make" chocolate as you do! I need to be younger for all these dreams! I do love creating though and I get very upset when I am not at the level I "see" in my mind! I feel very muchthe same about the jacket, and mostly wear an apron! BTW on my site I do say which chocolate I use and most people say "But Belgium is the best, we want Belgium!" Where do I begin? I pay 3 times more for my "raw" material!!!

Perhaps one day I will be in Canada and will come to buy your chocolate! All I have had is Callebaut, Valrhona and holycacao's (which is very nice). I did order 5 kilo of claudio corallo out of curiosity. But no one here was interested.

Thanks for the interesting discussion! I hope I didn't sound too ruffled (as in my feathers)!!
Interestingly Jacques Genin, the latest chocolate sensation in Paris, describes himself as part of his main logo branding as "foundeur en chocolat".

May be we just need better words in English than "remelters" and "bean to bar".

For our part we produce at the moment from liquor (although we have plan to go back to beans but not enough money yet) so we are not purely remelters and not beans to bars as we are "liquor to chocs". Very confusing for customers.

I am not English speaker but may be this community is the best place to develop new names...
Any suggestion?
In my opinion, I don't know that there needs to be a more defined nomenclature with regard to "making" chocolate. Where I think much of the public confusion relates directly to chocolatiers and confectioners here in North America referring to their confections as "chocolates".

There is actually legislature in both Canada and the US, which defines what can and can't be called "chocolate". That legislature defines the percentages of cocoa butter and cocoa solids that a confection must have in order to be properly called a chocolate.

Having said that, I would hazard a pretty good guess that the confections that chocolatiers sell as "chocolates" don't contain enough cocoa butter and cocoa solids to appropriately be called "chocolates". They have cream, sugar, flavourings, toppings, etc. and should rightly be called confections, or bon bons at that point.

In our shop, I don't call our truffles "chocolates", nor do I call our other confections "chocolates". They don't fit the definition. They are confections that use the chocolate we make.

...and in reply to the previous post of Artisan not being a remelter; what if you made a 100% chocolate bar? It's entirely possible for you to do that with the liquor that you buy. If you did so and put your name on the bar, what difference would that be from the "re-melters"? After all, liquor is technically 100% chocolate at that point.

I'm not writing this to be antagonistic, so please don't take it that way. I'm just posting this as a rhetorical question.

Anyone else's thoughts on this?

Brad.
How about 70% truffles/pralines etc? 70% what?! Cocoa solids, no way, maybe 70% fat that's almost believable but not marketable, so I think by labeling confections with percentages they obviously are reffering to an ingredient used in the "creation"/recreation of said confection.

Marketers can kill language by using references out of context. (example "less fat"...than what?)


What bothers me about this thread is that when I read it, I feel myself completely agreeing with Brad on many points. I don't like having to sell my product and explain that while it's true that there might be better tasting chocolate in Israel, we're the only ones who actually "make our chocolate" by cleaning beans and roasting, and finish by cutting packages and hand wrapping. It's hard to educate people in a completely un condescending/loving way. That's what I was hoping for in this thread. Everyone agreeing to drop the word "remelter", adopt fondeur, its french, marketable, and not to be confused with melanguer, which they don't use, unless they're actually french and are referring to another type of mixer.

I think the real culprit in this thread was the word "makes" as in "i make chocolates". That's a lot harder of a definition to pin down. I don't know if the word "makes" means that you start from chocolate couverture and mold it into a bar, since they "form" the bar with couverture. That may constitute "making chocolate". But the word "makes" can also mean made from liquor, or beans, or starting from the tree.. or , maybe it is altogether impossible to "make" anything. Who made the system in which all of these components are processed in these ways and the result would taste like chocolate?
-An obvious proof of G-d's existence, and possibly one of His best creations!
I don't know Brad... "life is like a box of confections" just doesn't have a good ring to it...
LOL Yup. You're right Lana!

But Bon Bon sounds pretty good - almost like a Ricky Martin Song - "Shake Your Bon Bon! Shake Your Bon Bon!"

LOL
I think, Brad, that the terms we use speak to the level of commitment and personal knowledge of the industry.

As discussed in our personal conversation, I would never claim to make chocolate. Because it would be like saying I could do your triple by-pass on Sunday afternoon. But of course, people always say...'she makes chocolate' or 'wow you make chocolate?'. I always clarify, but some might consider it a competitive advantage.

Misrepresentation in marketing is not new. Especially in the food industry. Seen a White Spot ad lately, Tuscany? Really? or Kentucky Fried Chicken... not from Kentucky... possibly not chicken. Insofar as chocolatier-ing I think one's personality would dictate whether this misrepresentation or misleading would be appropriate. I find the attention scary, but some people thrive on it and I can see why they would run with the ball - though Im not condoning it.

I applaud your efforts in educating the public, and I think it's important for us all to continue in this vein... Whether or not chocolate will go the way of wine is unknown, but education is certainly the key. People are more interested than ever in where their food is coming from. Some are more interested in the processes by which it is harvested and transported. There seems to be a market for all of it, and once tapped in to that market, you've taken care of yourself and your customers.
This whole discussion has been very helpful for me because it points out how the language we use affects our perceptions. Re-melter has a negative connotation to it that fondeur seems not to, perhaps because of the "re-" prefix. It's also clear that the phrase bean-to-bar no longer (if it ever really did) adequately describe the complexities of the process. Praline (with/without the accent) is one of the most overloaded words in chocolate/confectionery, and here in the US the confusion caused by a final "s" or lack thereof is, well, unnecessarily confusing.

To start the attempt to formally clarify the situation, here's my take on the matter.

ROLES

Chocolatier = Confectioner = Candy Maker

For the purposes of this discussion, these three labels are nearly semantically equivalent. No matter what label they use, these people/companies purchase ingredients from other companies to make finished goods. Depending on where you live, these finished goods might be called pralines, bon bons, truffles, and/or chocolates.

Chocolate Manufacturer

A chocolate manufacturer is a person or company that makes FINISHED chocolate - that is chocolate that can be eaten as-is or used as an ingredient by a Chocolatier/Confectioner/Candy Maker - from beans or intermediate products (combining butter/powder, or from from nibs or liquor).

Cocoa Processor

A cocoa processor is a person or company that makes cocoa products from fermented, dried cocoa beans: cocoa butter, cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, cocoa mass/chocolate liquor. These cocoa products are often used as ingredients in chocolate products by chocolate manufacturers.

Owner/Grower

A grower is a person or company that makes dried, fermented cocoa beans for use by a cocoa processor or chocolate manufacturer.

Note that we haven't applied any labels here that have to do with scale or other attributes. It's also important to note that a person or company can fulfill more than one role.

Scale Attributes

Micro-batch - 50kg or less
Small-batch - 50kg - 250kg
Medium-batch - 250kg - 1 tonne
Large-batch - 1 tonne - 5 tonnes
Industrial-scale - manufactures using automated continuous processing techniques

These scale attributes can be applied to any role. A person or company can be a micro-batch chocolatier or an industrial-scale candy maker.

Intent and Process Attributes

Craft/Artisan - Craft or artisan (they are semantically equivalent in this context) refers to a person or company that emphasizes hand production techniques and direct involvement by people in all aspects of the manufacturing process on equipment that they own and operate.

From-the-tree: from wet beans to finished product
From-the-bean: from dry beans to finished product
From- nibs/liquor: from liquor to finished product
From-chocolate: from finished chocolate to finished product

These intent and process attributes can be applied to any role but cannot be applied to industrial-scale manufacturing. A person or company can be an artisan chocolatier or a craft chocolate manufacturer. Note however that it is possible for a company to have product lines that cross scale boundaries. Please also note that the craft/artisan designation does not mean that the person/company assumes/asserts control over all processing for all ingredients. Thus, a craft chocolate manufacturer purchases key ingredients such as sugar, vanilla, and perhaps even cocoa butter from ingredient and raw materials suppliers.

So now we have this matrix. How does it apply in some real world cases?

Original Hawaiian Chocolate Factory - Original Hawaiian is an owner/grower, from-the-tree, medium-batch, craft chocolate manufacturer. They own their own trees, ferment and harvest their own beans (though they may also purchase wet beans from other farmers in the area and ferment and dry those), they manufacture finished chocolate and produce bars using equipment located in their own factory that get sold to consumers.

Garden Island Chocolate (ChocolateLife member Koa Kahili) - Garden Island Chocolate is an owner/grower, from-the-tree, mico-batch, craft chocolate manufacturer. They own their own trees, ferment and harvest their own beans, they manufacture finished chocolate and produce bars using equipment located in their own workshop that get sold to consumers.

Amano Chocolate (ChocolateLife member Art Pollard) - Amano is a from-the-bean, small-to-medium-batch, craft chocolate manufacturer. They manufacture finished chocolate and produce bars (and nibs) using equipment located in their own factory that get sold directly to consumers.

Guittard - Guittard is a from-the-bean large-batch craft chocolate manufacturer (the E Guittard line), a from the bean industrial-scale manufacturer (chocolate and compound coating), and a cocoa processor.

Felchlin - Felchlin is a from-the-bean small-batch craft chocolate manufacturer (their Grand Cru line is finished in 160kg conches), and a from-the-bean large-batch craft manufacturer. They also produce non-chocolate ingredients and raw materials for use by chocolatiers and pastry chefs.

Cluizel - Cluizel is a from-the-bean large batch chocolate manufacturer as well as a chocolatier. They also produce non-chocolate ingredients and raw materials for use by chocolatiers and pastry chefs.

TCHO (ChocolateLife member Louis Rossetto) - TCHO is a from the bean large-batch chocolate manufacturer. They purchase beans directly from growers, they personally oversee roasting and grinding according to custom protocols in facilities around the world (thereby adding value in the country of origin which is important to consider), and produce finished chocolate sold directly to consumers in their facility in San Francisco. Because they do not not perform all major aspects of production on equipment they own, the craft/artisan designation does not apply.

Artisan du Chocolat (ChocolateLife member Artisan) - Artisan is first and foremost a from chocolate chocolatier/confectioner. They buy ingredients, including chocolate from suppliers and combine them to form finished products sold directly to customers. They are also a from liquor micro-batch chocolate manufacturer making some of the chocolate used in some of their finished products.
Fair point on 100% bars (which we do) but in any case we still conche and refined the liquor as it's very coarse in the form we buy it and conching helps make it more edible too.

Speaking for the UK, most people called bonbon, chocolates and not confections.
I would imagine that you would conche it further in order to crush the sugar crystals too. I've tasted various forms of liquor and find it very coarse as well.

Clay's clarification up above was excellent. Now the uphill battle of teaching the consumer, many chocolatiers, and their employees. Sigh......

;-)

Brad

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