And can such a general question even be asked?
I am thinking of companies like Amedei, Bonnat, Cluizel, Domori, Pralus to mention a few. I guess I am asking because I assume that in order to ensure high quality beans, these producers probably work fairly closely with the farmers, but I am wondering whether anyone on TCL can share knowledge about specific makers.
In addition, I am curious whether any of the above mentioned makers source cacao only from plantations, or also from cacao trees that grow among native rainforest species? And, can plantation cacao be free of added chemicals? Especially the more delicate species like criollo?
While I am at it (this perhaps taps into the strings that Clay and others have started about Fair Trade, how useful is it, etc...) do these direct relationships with the farmers result in decent prices for the growers? If yes, which companies?
I know that Shawn Askinosie, for example, works directly with the growers of the cacao he uses and the result is higher than Fair Trade prices and even profit sharing. How common is this among other high quality chocolater makers, especially well established ones in Europe? Is this data out there among fellow TCL members?
I ask all of this because I use various chocolates to create chocolate tasting experiences (and engage and educate people around chocolate) and I like to be able to fairly present the various makers and their strengths. As per Clay's suggestion, I will soon post an introduction to the work I am doing once life permits.