$10 "bean to bar" chocolates were made from melted down Valrhona


#36

From what I gather from a number of articles that’s in part what they were doing. The issue is they seem to have made a number of different contradictory statement as to their use of commercial chocolate and what for. Repackaging Valrhona chocolate with a few additions as their own, just repackaging it with no alteration, cutting their chocolate with Valrhona, and using Valrhona’s product for product development and testing, among other things. Its all pretty dodgy.

As for their marketing. Its always pissed me off. At a certain point they were implying that they were the only bean to bar manufacturer out there (not saying, just implying). Which makes no sense, because as you point out technically Hershey’s is bean to bar. As is every commercial producer including Valrhona. As for being the “first”. They weren’t even the first in NY. There were a bunch of craft chocolate producers in NYC at the time, including several bean to bar operations. Including Jacques Torres who opened his factory a full 3 years before the Mast Brothers turned up. I had a friend who staged with him for a brief period. He was scratch making chocolate in NY even before that, even if only experimentally. Most of these craft products were/are both cheaper and better than Mast’s stuff.

What the Mast brothers did was turn craft chocolate into a mainstream, mass market product. Primarily by glomming onto an already well established “Made in Brooklyn” aesthetic. Given that approach it makes sense that they would cut corners, and that their product would be both more expensive and less tasty than the competitors they’re emulating.


#37

So, we all should finish a great night out by eating our dates?

//runs for cover


#38

#39

Perhaps the best Christmas morning tradition I have heard of!


#40

Uh oh. It’s been real, but I’m afraid I don’t love you anymore.


#41

Be careful going directly from beans to the bar, you could awaken in a topic like this one:

Unless your SO likes igniting them after a chilli and bourbon date.


#42

I make “artisinal chocolate” nearly every morning after my first cup of coffee. . . or at least, that’s what I like to call it.


#43

The comment thread on that guardian article is well worth reading. You can learn that cilantro tastes like soap, and Hershey’s taste like puke. It’s like a little sliver of boingboing’s bbs.


#44

Now that’s some lies, sweet lies! :smiley:


#45

The Theory of the Leisure Chocolate?


#46

The DallasFood blog approves of couverture.

Was that unfair of me, putting her on the spot with such a blunt question? Hardly. As Doutre-Roussel has written, “A good chocolatier is proud of his work, and will not hesitate to share with you which couvertures he uses….”

So what about other chocolatiers? Are they evasive on this question?

They sure don’t appear to be. When I started gathering phone numbers from chocolatiers’ web sites to ask them the same question—just to see if they’d dodge, as Merrem had done—my efforts were repeatedly cut short, since many of their web sites openly identify their couvertures. The FAQ on Michael Recchiuti’s web page states that he uses E. Guittard, El Rey, and Scharffen Berger. The web site for La Maison du Chocolat states that they use Valrhona exclusively. The FAQ on the Vosges web site states that they use Valrhona, Felchlin, and Belcolade.

Most quality chocolatiers don’t play “hide the ball” on this question. When I visited Jacques Torres’s Brooklyn shop over the Thanksgiving weekend, I asked the girl that was making my hot chocolate whose couverture they used for their single-origin bars. Without hesitation, she replied, “We use Belcolade for everything.”

After being very impressed with the texture of the ganache in Gale Gand’s truffles at Tru some time back, I sent an e-mail to the restaurant’s general address asking if they could tell me what they used. In less than a day, I received a friendly e-mail from Gand telling me she used Callebaut for the ganache.

When I called Norman Love’s shop, the gentleman answering told me right away (Felchlin). I received answers just as readily from the first person that picked up the phone at Knipschildt’s order line (Valrhona, Belcolade, and Cluizel) and MarieBelle’s (Valrhona).

An e-mail to Fran’s Chocolates was responded to in under two hours (Valrhona, Felchlin, and Callebaut). One to Richard Donnelly was answered personally by Mr. Donnelly within eight hours (Valrhona, Callebaut, and Cacao Barry). Brian McElrath personally responded within eight hours (Vintage Plantations, E. Guittard, Belcolade, et al.). Chuao responded within four hours (El Rey). Garrison Confections responded within twelve hours (Guittard). Lake Champlain Chocolates responded in under four (Callebaut).

In a recent food trip to Portland, I had countless chocolates from several of the city’s excellent chocolatiers, including Sahagún, DePaula, and Alma. All were open about what they used, and it was all quality chocolate (e.g., El Rey, Valrhona, Vintage Plantations, Dagoba, Pralus, et al.). (Sahagún’s Elizabeth Montes even had some truffles made with DeVries chocolate—a name that only serious chocolate geeks will recognize and appreciate.)

Calls to several Dallas chocolatiers were equally productive. Morgen Chocolate answered (Barry Callebaut), as did Dallas Chocolates (Callebaut & Belcolade), and Dorian Isenberg of J. Dorian (DGF).

What’s absurd is the misrepresentation, not the use of couverture itself.

http://dallasfood.org/2006/12/noka-chocolate-part-6/


#47

It is very much like saying your microbrew is grain to glass, then being evasive that you use Golden Promise from Simpsons.


#48

Beard : `teens :: Mullet : 80s

The only time beards are acceptable in a secular setting is if it’s Halloween and you are going as Sexy Taliban.


#49

Disagrees. :slight_smile:


#50

Exception to the rule. But I am sure he will be lumped in with the Hipster Douchebros 10 years from now because they have ruined the beard. They ruined the beard…

…you know after the actual Taliban.


#51

Well dressed Nick offerman begs to differ.

(I’m just playin’ around :D)


#52

Time will show that Beards are on the wrong side of history. And all the bearded hipsters, with fecal bacteria hanging around their necks, and all the nerds and degenerates will lookup and shout, “Shave us!” and I’ll whisper “NO!”.


#53

Yeah well aware. But many sites that are re-reporting it are rotely dismissive of Valrhona and bulk chocolate of any sort. Rolling them in with Hershey and other mass market cheap confection companies. Which is a really poor comparison, and really misrepresents how chocolate is made and the way the market works. The Mast Brothers weren’t passing an inferior, cheap industrial chocolate off as a more expensive, high quality product. They were passing a high quality, expensive, but readily available product off as something they’d made themselves.

Hell good wholesale or couverture chocolate isn’t appreciably lower quality than the artisanal bars that are coming out these days. Its sort of our baseline for good chocolate, you need to meet or exceed what these guys can produce to get that mark of quality. Frankly for Valrhona I can’t really speak to where they stand in terms of these sorts of producers, I never really got much out of their retail products. They didn’t stand out much to me. But I know that many of your couverture companies have been packaging eating chocolate for the retail market. And in some cases those products aren’t really as good or the same as what they push wholesale. Ghirardelli for example. Now I really do like their retail products, there’s some tasty stuff there and its of pretty good quality. But we used to knick their couverture and bulk chocolate from a pastry chef friend of mine, and its a lot better than the stuff they sell in stores. A lot of us would reach for the Ghirardelli couverture wafers he kept on hand over nearly any bar chocolate on offer. Regardless of how well regarded, fancified or expensive.


#54

sure, if you like the prepubescent twink look.


#55

Disagrees.