The Chocolate Life

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Paul Young is grabbing headlines in England this week with the launch of his "whole bean chocolate" (i.e., grinding all of the shell into the mass), which he sees as a notable innovation of chocolate making, rather than as a throwback to a time when lack of food safety regulations allowed the sale of such adulterated chocolate to customers unable to pay for anything better.  More on it here (e.g., "No one's quite sure why the shells are removed; that's just how it's always been done").  And here (where Young is quoted as saying, "Everyone shells just because that’s what they’ve been told").

Adulterating chocolate with shell is, of course, far from new.  And the legal, safety, and organoleptic reasons for removing shell are well and widely known.


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This is such a bad idea from a health perspective. Worse than "raw" chocolate.

Still, I will be in London in about 10 days and will stop by and buy a bar or three.

Scott- Want one?

:: Clay

Not even a little 8-)

Thanks for offering, Clay, but I'll pass.  With a novice maker using a tabletop ECGC, boasting of only 7 hours of conching (in the non-conche CocoaTown), and taking a perverse pride in including shell, I feel pretty safe in assuming this product isn't for me. 


Yeah - but think of all the fiber!

I wonder if it taste good or will be smooth?

Young euphemistically describes the texture as "characterful."  In photos, it's visibly gritty.


Terrible idea for the following reasons:

1.  Shells are much harder to refine than the nibs.  Smooth chocolate made with as much as 20% shell will be VERY over refined.

2.  Shells are incredibly bitter, and honestly don't contain a lot of flavour.  (I know.  I've tried to do a lot of things with them to avoid waste)

3.  Shells contain a very significant amount of acetic acid.  Making chocolate with the shell means conching a much longer time to oxidize the acetic acid.

4.  Shells are the part of the plant that stores the heavy metals and other nasty elements (cocoa is often grown in volcanic soil full of heavy metals)

5.  For strictly health reasons, it's a very bad idea.

6.  I tried a few years back, and the chocolate was terrible - bitter and gritty.


If you're making chocolate WITH the shell, unzip the top of your head, insert a brain and think about this for a second:  Large chocolate manufacturers make a profit of pennies on the pound for the chocolate they manufacture, and in spite of some making 100's of millions of lbs of chocolate per year, some STILL go bankrupt.  (I was fortunate to buy a winnower from one bankruptcy auction just like that)  They are always looking for ways to mitigate their costs.  Do you actually think that in an effort to shave costs, they would WILLINGLY discard as much as 20% of their key ingredient if they didn't have to???  Remember, they are paying not only for the product, but also the shipping!


Having said all of that, not everyone can make good chocolate, and I'm glad.  It helps my customers appreciate what I do even more.




Natra tried to do this with a  whole bean cocoa powder years ago.  

Aweful, terrible idea for many of the reasons already listed.  Also consider where the majority of mold resides on a  bean, and thus where things like afla and ochra toxins subsequently reside...

The Paul Young site says,

  “It’s the most exciting project for us at paul.a.young and it’s something we have been developing for some months. The cocoa bean is so precious and special that I didn’t want to waste any part of it. I’m so proud of what we have produced and I hope it will pave the way for others to try this new way of making bean-to-bar chocolate.”


Will this become a trend?



I guess he means dog, cat and chicken feces, human urine, vehicle exhaust, dust, salmonella, etc.??    For his customer's sake I sincerely hope he gets his cacao from a known source with elevated / isolated drying beds like mine, or someone's going to get really sick.

This discussion has me rolling. Thanks for the chuckles. Ah.. /phew..


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