maandag 17 december 2012

Patisserie Vercruysse Winter Collection

And let me introduce you to my latest review of Geert Vercruysse's most bodacious ganaches!

The single most awe-inspiring moment of my chocolate reviewing life was two years ago yesterday. Then I received a delivery from someone I had never heard from. That clear plastic case contained the most amazing chocolates I have ever tasted. To this day those Patisserie Vercruysse ganaches have only ever been rivalled by the Demarquette Royal Merina ganaches – seeing as I’ve reviewed about 250 chocolate products in that time, that’s some achievement. Today I’m fortunate enough to have another selection – this time based on an amazing selection of origins and chocolate makers.

Geert shares my absolute fascination with the world of chocolate. We both share a passion for finding new and unique chocolate, and this shines through in the ganaches I have before me. You’ve got a Marou Vietnamese, Åkessons Indonesia, Madre Dominican Republic, Daintree Estates Australian, El Ceibo Bolivian and Original Beans (which I believe is Congolese) ganaches all encased in 68% Marañòn Fortunato N°4 Peru. If that doesn’t make your head spin with excitement I don’t know what will.
The first was the Marou Tiền Giang 70% which was as smooth and velvety as you could possibly wish for. The flavours exhibited rich red fruits and mango. In fact, I’m dumb-struck. The flavours are so pure and strident that it doesn’t actually leave much for me to say.

The Daintree Estates 45% milk ganache was next and I adored it when I tried the original bar previously. It has such a unique flavour that I’ve not seen any other maker come anywhere near in the past. It seems to be a cross between caramel and fudge. It’s certainly sweet, beautiful and a texture that will rival any other ganache ever created.

If you wanted a brutish, dark, acidic and flavoursome ganache the El Ceibo would be exactly what you’re looking for. There seems to be so much flavour coming out of such a small space that it all seemed buffered on my taste buds. They were overloaded with direct sweetness that I found it difficult to brake the individual flavours down, but what they did do is linger – imparting their flavours during the melt and long after too. I found myself moving my tongue around my mouth in search of the remnants of flavour.

The Original Beans Cru Virunga Congo 70% ganache was a completely different affair. At first it seemed to have sharp mustard-like characteristic but this quickly transformed into a honey-like characteristic. There still remained an unusual earthiness after the melt but that gave it even more of an ‘adult’ edge.

The Madagascar dark ganache 64% & Wildcrafted Long Pepper Bali was just as special, but also unique. The defining characteristic of this one was the pepper which was perfectly balanced against the dark Indonesian ganache. It managed to poke its head over the natural chocolate flavours, but not exert such a direct spice flavour that it contradicted the theme of the selection.

And oh!! The Republic Dominican 70% ganache with fresh cacao pulp out of this world. Cacao pulp may be and odd thing to add into the ganache but the beauty of the flavours was just all-consuming. The flavours are long gone now as I masticated it to within an inch of its life in the hunt for more of its heady flavour. But on reflection, I recall pomegranate, or something along those lines but significantly more intense. It’s just awesome.

There were another six in the box, but I physically couldn’t take any more and felt it would be an injustice to force myself to continue. Geert has certainly improved in the variety of the ganaches he creates, but I do feel that he hasn’t improved on the quality – purely because I don’t think purely because I don’t think anybody could.

Many thanks to Lee McCoy.

dinsdag 4 december 2012

Dark chocolates December & January

Chocolate used for enrobing is the Marañòn Fortunato N°4 Peru, a wonderfull flavoured dark 68%.

Ganache 33% Maracaibo and hazelnutpraliné
Ganache 66% Maracaibo and fresh ginger 
Vietnam Origin Tien Giang 70% dark ganache

Madagascar dark ganache 64% & Wildcrafted Long Pepper Bali - Indonesia

Original Beans Cru Virunga Congo 70% ganache
Republic Dominican 70% ganache with fresh cacaopulp
Maracaïbo 33% ganache and Madras curry

Felchlin Cabruca Brasil 70% ganache
Pacari Ecuador ganache of 70% Raw chocolate

Felchlin Elvesia Rep.Dom. 74% ganache vanilla-tonkabean

Danta Guatemala "Los Ujuxtes" 60% ganache

maandag 3 december 2012

Cocoa Powder Vs. Cacao Powder

Cocoa Powder Vs. Cacao Powder

Similarity between the terms "cacao" and "cocoa" often creates confusion. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines cacao as "the bean which is the source..." of chocolate products such as cocoa powder, chocolate liquor or cocoa butter, depending on how the cacao bean is processed. Thus, the cacao bean is the source of both cacao and cocoa powders, and though the terms often are used interchangeably, subtle differences exist between the two.

The Mayan empire began cultivating and harvesting cacao more than 2000 years ago, and the Aztecs used whole raw cacao beans as their main form of currency.

The Mayans used the beans to create a spicy drink enjoyed by royalty and consumed during religious ceremonies. Without access to sweetening spices, cacao was consumed as a strong, bitter beverage. After the Spanish conquistadors invaded Mexico, they sent back shiploads of cacao beans, where it was mixed with sugar and cinnamon to make a drink that was popular among the upper classes.

Charles Linnaeus, creator of the modern scientific naming system, named the cacao bean "theobroma," which translates to "food of the gods." Today, chocolate is one of the most popular flavors in the world.

Cacao Beans
A cacao bean consists of a brown to greenish hard shell filled with tiny pockets called nibs. These edible nibs are the flesh of the cacao beans. One bean contains between 12 percent and 60 percent fat, and zero sugar.

Cocoa Powder vs. Cacao Powder
Pure, unsweetened cocoa powder tastes very bitter and rich, which is why it is most often used in sweets and confections. To get cocoa powder from the cacao bean, the nibs are first ground into a strong paste. The fat is removed, and the remaining solids are ground up again into a fine dust: cocoa powder. Because of its drying properties, using cocoa powder in a cake often requires the use of more shortening or butter in the recipe.

According to FDA guidelines, cocoa powder and cacao powder are simply different terms for the same powder, and are nearly interchangeable; however, "cacao powder" specifically refers to raw, unsweetened powder. "Cocoa powder," on the other hand, may still have a very small amount of cocoa butter present to enhance the flavor subtly.

Chocolate Liquor
Chocolate liquor is formed by grinding the the nibs into a paste; other names for chocolate liquor include baking chocolate, bitter chocolate and cocoa liquor. Chocolate liquor forms the basis of milk and dark chocolate, making it the major component of many common chocolate edibles like chocolate chips and hot cocoa. Chocolate liquor is also sometimes mixed with alcohol to create chocolate drinks.

Cocoa Butter
Cocoa butter is the last component of the cacao bean and is created first by crushing the nibs to obtain chocolate liquor. The remains are pressed to separate the solids from the fat, leaving butter with a subtle cocoa taste and aroma. Cocoa butter is sometimes mixed with milk and sugar to make white chocolate.

woensdag 14 november 2012

Een cruciale dimensie: passie!

Deze zomer las ik een leuk artikel over passie voor de job hebben en graag wou ik bij deze eens terug kijken hierop, want al te vaak moet ik uitleggen wat nu juist mijn drijfveer is voor mijn job.

Men voerde aan dat talent overschat werd en dat je, zoals het cliché het wil, 10.000 uren oefening nodig hebt om ergens echt goed in te worden. En dan is er nog de rol van aangeboren eigenschappen, waarbij men een cruciale dimensie vergat te vernoemen, namelijk de passie!
Wat is passie voor de job nu echt? En wat kan het voor jou betekenen? Met Peter Monsieurs, van het adviesbureau Pontis ben ik het helemaal eens van het belang van passie. Zonder passie kan er immers geen sprake zijn van talent. Zo werd er in het artikel een aantal cruciale begrippen door elkaar gegooid: aangeboren vermogen, zoals IQ, en een aan te scherpen eigenschap als talent, dat ontstaat uit het samengaan van passie en aanleg.
Vervolgens werd er gesteld dat lang werken de enige manier is om een talent tot bloei te brengen. En juist daar komt passie in het vizier. Er moet iets zijn dat je drijft om die inspanning te leveren, anders zou je er waarschijnlijk niet eens aan beginnen. Passie maakt dat je je activiteit ziet als meer dan puur hard werken. Alleen als je de passie hebt om iets te doen, vliegen de uren voorbij en heb je er geen probleem mee. Integendeel, je beleeft er nog plezier aan ook.
Maar wat is passie nu eigenlijk? Passie is een 'drive', ze is gebaseerd op iemends persoonlijke drijfveren. Wat jou drijft, hangt af van intrinsieke psychologische kenmerken die meestal vastliggen aan het eind van je tienerjaren, zoals blijkt uit het werk van grondleggers in de psychologie zoals Jung en in het bijzonder Murray. Op volwassen leeftijd blijven je drijfveren en de sterkte ervan bovendien erg stabiel.

Maar leeft passie ook vandaag door als academisch begrip?
Cédric Velghe, onderzoeker aan de VIGOR-onderzoeksgroep van de Universiteit Gent: "De wetenschap doet al decennia lang onderzoek naar motivatie op het werk. Daarbij maken we een belangrijk onderscheid tussen werken omdat je het graag doet, omdat het je boeit en werken omdat het 'moet', voor een inkomen, om te voldoen aan verwachtingen van anderen, omdat je carrière en status ambieert." De eerste vorm leunt het sterkst aan bij passie.
Het eerste echt noemenswaardige onderzoek naar passie op het werk verscheen pas 10 jaar geleden en was van de Canadese onderzoeker Robert Vallerand. Passie ziet hij niet louter als iets wat we graag doen, ons boeit en waar we veel tijd aan besteden, maar als een deel van wie we zijn, waar we voor staan. Iets waar we vrij voor hebben gekozen en dat we waardevol vinden. Passie kan je dus niet opleggen.
Kun je meten hoe gepassioneerd iemand is? Volgens CédricVelghe, kun je via doorgedreven onderzoek met wetenschappelijke surveys inzicht krijgen in iemands drijfveren. Peter Monsieurs ontwerpt in zijn recent voltooide boek Ontdekkingsreis naar je talenten, een diagram dat een indicatie kan geven van waar je passies zich situeren, in welke richting jouw passies liggen.

Passie betekent ook een drive hebben, energie.
Iemand met passie zal graag en hard werken, net omdat hij vanuit die passie geen moeite heeft met de inspanning die het vergt.
Passie kun je zien als een stroom van energie, met een welbepaalde richting. Maar opgepast! Stel dat je erg gepassioneerd individueel werkt, maar de bedrijfscultuur is gericht op teamwerk. Die aanpassing kost je energie, want je moet als het ware tegen je passie in roeien om de doelstellingen te halen die je werk stelt. Dan eist werken een mentale tol, die ook maakt dat je vrije tijd dient om mentaal te bekomen van het werk en je batterijen op te laden. Dan kan resulteren in een burnout.

Gezonde en ongezonde vorm van passie.
Gepasssioneerd bezig zijn met je job kan omslaan in een obsessie. We doen ons werk niet langer omdat we het graag doen, maar voelen op één of andere manier een druk om te werken. We willen bijvoorbeeld onszelf niet teleurstellen. Als passie omslaat in obsessie, zien we dat mensen stress ervaren, zich moeilijk kunnen concentreren, hun werk moeilijk loslaten en dat andere aspecten van hun leven in de verdringing raken, met alle negatieve gevolgen vandien.

Kun je volstaan met passie om je job goed uit te voeren?
De rol van je eigen vermogens is een niet te onderschatten factor, volgens Monsieurs. "Je kunt even gepassioneerd zijn en in dezelfde mate een aanleg hebben voor een vak, maar je persoonlijke vermogens maken het verschil. Bvb.: Een wielrenner die even getalenteerd en gepassioneerd is als ik, kan nog verliezen omdat ik toevallig gespierdere benen heb. Intelligentie is ook zo'n vermogen. Passie zet de rol van die vermogens niet buitenspel. Maar passie kan je wel aanzetten om je best te doen. Zo maak je wellicht het verschil."
Velghe: "Passie alleen volstaat niet om je job goed te doen. We kunnen niet om vaardigheden, kennis en talent heen. Maar als je je job niet graag doet, zal je nooit je volledige potentieel ontplooien."

zondag 11 november 2012

The History of Cakes

Cakes have a long and delicious history.
The word "cake" is derived from the Morse word "kaka" which means "to cook". This term was first used to describe small, flat breads cooked on both sides, more like panecakes.
Cake later became fairly indistinct rom breads, biscuits and buns, but the term was also used to refer to small or expensive breads for special occasions. During the 18th and 19th centuries, cakes again became more distinct as yeast was replaced with baking powder and beaten eggs as raisin agents for cakes that resembled light sponges.
Most ancients cultures made some form of cake, although these would have more closely resembled a biscuit, a fried or sweet bread, or a cheesecake. For instance, small baked items similar to oat cakes have been found by archaeologists in Neolithic villages.
According to food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the world's first accomplished bakers, serving breads sweetened with honey at feasts to invoke Hathor, the goddess of love, beauty, motherhood and joy. These treats often contained a plentiful mixture of dried fruits and nuts.
The Greeks ate "plakous" (meaning "flat breads") which were combinations of nuts and honey. It is thought from the writings of Cato that the Romans developed two types of cakes ofthen used as offerings to the Gods. A "libum" was a honey and cheese bread, similar to a biscuit, that was scented with bay leaves, while "placenta" was a pie-like pastry made with honey and ricotta, also with bay leaves.
The Romans are believed to have developed the first fruit cakes which were then brought to Britain. In his writings, 14th century writer Geoffrey Chaucer describes immense special occasions cakes containing butter, cream, eggs, spices, currants and honey.

Thanks to the goddess of love, beauty, motherhood and joy, Hator I love making and eating cakes!!

woensdag 7 november 2012

Fine Criolla Cacao...

Fine Criolla Cacao was Venezuela's main export product from the 17th century, famed amongst connoisseurs worldwide as the best. By 1810, the country supplied half the world's Cacao demand, Nowadays this, the finest of flavor cacao beans, is grown exclusively in some areas of Latin America and the Caribbean, including Choroni and Chuao, The first plantations were established in colonial times by missionaries who created a system of production so efficient that it survives to this day.
Cultivations of the famed Theobroma (Quetzalcoatl) cacao were grown around a casona that oversaw the drying patio, and the cacao trees were planted under the shadow of larger species, effectively creating a dense forest landscape. Hacienda Monte Rosa prides itself in using traditional methods.
Following a year round manual harvest, the cocoa beans are fermented in wooden vats covered with banana leaves. Once fermentation is completed, the beans are slowly sun dried.
A week later; they are packed, ready for export. The superior quality fine cacao obtained endears the product to producers of fine chocolate the world over.
from the colonial town of Chuao and Choroni.

The importance of importation of cacao beans became so important for the Spanish economy that they tried to protect their monopoly by prohibiting exportation of cacao to any country other than their own, but the Dutch Sailors and Caribbean trade smuggled the product by buying clandestinely from Higuerote and Choroni in Venezuela.

This business finally became so important that Holland ended up being the general deposit of cacao. At the end of the 17th century, Spain didn't receive a single grain of this golden trade from Venezuela, which exported about 5.0 million tons between 1706 and 1722 not one boat transported cacao to the Spanish Mainland the "owners" of America now needed the Dutch to get their chocolate, a commodity that had become indispensable to them and by then the rest of Europe.


zaterdag 3 november 2012

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woensdag 31 oktober 2012

Cacau biológico do Brasil vira chocolate suíço

Cacau biológico do Brasil vira chocolate suíço
Organic Cacao Brazil become Swiss chocolate ...
A empresa suíça Confisseur Läderach AG foi buscar no Brasil o Cacau Cabruca, produzido de forma biológica na Bahia e que está fazendo nome pela qualidade e refinamento no gosto. Sandra Kessler Büchler, da Läderach, explica como a empresa descobriu o produto e porque decidiu importá-lo e criar uma nova linha em sua produção.

1. Como começou a produção do Cacau Cabruca e onde ele é produzido?R. A Cabruca, Cooperativa de Produtores Orgânicos do Sul da Bahia, é um projeto dos órgãos de proteção ambiental do Brasil. Esse projeto é desenvolvido em Una, Bahia, próximo a Ilhéus.

2. O que é tão especial no cacau Cabruca?R. Cabruca não é um tipo de cacau puro. Ele mistura vários tipos, como o Criolo, Forasteiro e outros, de acordo com a vontade da natureza. Várias árvores são inclusive resultado de algum cruzamento de espécies.
O que é especial é que as árvores do Cabruca crescem no meio de uma área florestal protegida, de forma que podem tirar proveito da variedade de elementos naturais que o meio ambiente oferece. As árvores de Cabruca crescem sem a utilização adicional de estrume ou produtos químicos. Além disso, o consumo do cacao Cabruca representa um apoio à preservação da Mata Atlântica brasileira, pois graças a ele a floresta pode ser utilizada de forma sustentável. Antigamente havia muito desmatamento nesta região. Essa era a fonte de renda de muitos trabalhadores. Hoje esses mesmos trabalhadores plantam cacao e ganham assim o pão de cada dia. A grande diferença é que a floresta permanece preservada.

3. Para a produção desse tipo de cacau foi formada uma cooperativa. Quem dirige a cooperativa e quantas pessoas estão envolvidas ao todo?R. A cooperativa foi formada como forma de reagir à drástica queda da produção de cacao provocada pela praga “vassoura de brucha”, no início dos anos 90. A situação era complexa e era preciso, por um lado, conter o desmatamento e garantir uma nova fonte de renda para os moradores dessa região da Bahia. A solução foi Cabruca. O nome identifica uma tradicional arte de plantar desenvolvida no Brasil há 200 anos. Por respeito à natureza e pensando nas gerações futuras, as árvores da Mata Atlântica não eram derrubadas. Os plantadores de cacau não faziam clareiras para plantar e as árvores cresciam num
meio ambiente intacto. Diferente das plantas cultivadas em monocultura, essas árvores não precisavam de irrigação artificial e eram mais resistentes às pragas. O solo fértil da Mata Atlântica susbtituia os fertilizantes químicos e garantia o crescimento biológico.
Na busca por um professional para realizar o projeto da Cabruca as autoridades ligadas à proteção do meio ambiente no Brasil contactaram o agricultor biológico suíço Marc Nüscheler. Sua experiência e o impulso financeiro inicial por fundos privados e do Estado garantiram o sucesso do empreendimento, iniciado em 2000. A cooperativa continua sob direção de Nüscheler e conta hoje com 62 associados e mais de 1000 pessoas envolvidas. São cultivados cerca de 3 mil hectares, sendo
o cacau o produto principal, mas incluindo também palmito, frutas secas e pimenta preta. Roland Müller, amigo de escola de Nüscheler e por muito tempo produtor de óleo de oliva biológico na Toscana, encantou-se com o projeto da Cabruca e juntou-se à equipe. Hoje a Cabruca produz 200 toneladas de cacau por ano e tem todos os seus produtos bio-certificados
4. Como a cooperativa combina a produção com a preservação da natureza?R. No meio das enormes árvores que formam a floresta, crescem aqui e ali as árvores de cacau. O cacao vive da floresta, ou seja, ele absorve a água e os nutrientes de seu meio ambiente natural. Assim cria-se também uma razão a mais para não desmatar a floresta: ela desempenha uma função muito importante para a produção do cacao.

5. Qual a influência da produção biológica sobre o preço do produto final?R. O cacao Cabruca é um pouco mais caro que a massa de cacao “normal”. Isso porque sua produção no terreno acidentado e em meio às árvores da floresta é mais complicada. Além disso, o cacao Cabruca obedece a rigorosas normas de qualidade: ele é por exemplo fermentado e fica mais tempo secando do que as massas de cacao mais baratas. O resultado é inacreditável! Esse cacao é, por seu gosto e qualidade, um cacao nobre de primeira e não guarda qualquer semelhança com uma massa de cacau normal.
Faça você mesmo o teste: compre um chocolate escuro barato, por exemplo, o chocolate para cobertura do Migros e compare-o com um cacau nobre (Edelcacau – Cabruca ou outro). Deixe o chocolate derreter lentamente sobre a língua e compare a diferença. Para senti-la você não precisa ser nenhum conhecedor no assunto!
Em geral pode-se dizer o seguinte: chocolates baratos contêm muito açúcar e pouco cacau. Aí não se sente mais praticamente nada do gosto do cacau!
Sobretudo nos chocolates escuros sente-se a verdadeira diferença entre cacaus bons e ruins. Muitas pessoas não gostam de chocolate escuro, pois o consideram amargo e ácido. Mas isso acontece provavelmente porque elas nunca experimentaram um bom cacau, de alta qualidade. Apenas nos últimos anos chegaram à Suíça os chocolates escuros e os cacaus nobres de alto percentual. A oferta de bons cacaus felizmente aumentou consideravelmente. E as pessoas também estão dispostas e pagar mais por um bom cacau.

6. Como o Confiseur Läderach AG chegou ao cacau Cabruca? Quais foram os fatores decisivos para sua importação?R. O Confiseur Läderach AG trabalha junto com a Max Felchlin AG. A Max Felchlin AG chegou ao cacau Cabruca e sua cooperativa por acaso. Os fatos determinantes para a escolha foram, em primeiro lugar, a qualidade do cacau, o tipo de produção sustentável desenvolvido e as condições sociais justas do trabalho. A Max Felchlin AG tem anos de experiência na compra e importação de cacaus nobres. Antes que uma nova espécie de grão de cacau seja importada para a Suíça pela Max Felchlin é realizado um rigoroso controle de qualidade. Também a Cooperativa Cabruca foi examinada cuidadosamente
(Condições de trabalho, contratos, etc).

7. Que produtos do Confiseur Läderach fazem parte da Linha Cabruca?R. Temos no momento quatro produtos na Linha Cabruca: 70% Cabruca Truffes, recheada com Cabruca Ganache e coberta com pó de cacau; 70% Cabruca Pralinés, também recheadas, 70% Cabruca chocolate fresco e a partir da primavera de 2009 teremos também o 70% Cabruca Carrés, com diversos recheios de frutas.

8. Onde podem ser adquiridos os produtos Cabruca na Suíça?R. Em todas as 27 lojas da Merkur Confiserien na Suíça, assim como na Läderach Boutique em Glarus.
9. A senhora gostaria de dar mais alguma informação aos nossos leitores?R. O Brasil foi uma vez o maior exportador do mundo. Infelizmente o país se concentrou mais na quantidade do que na qualidade. O objetivo era o lucro rápido. Com a praga da “Vassoura de brucha” muitas plantações foram destruídas e a colheita brasileira de cacao na época reduziu-se a 1/6. Também a imagem do Brasil como excelente produtor de cacao sofreu muito.
Hoje o Brasil luta para recuperar suas plantações, eliminar a praga e conseguir produzir novamente cacau de alta qualidade. Cabruca é um modelo exemplar de como, com grande disposição, força de vontade e um conceito sustentável, é possível produzir um ótimo cacau. Cabruca é importante para o Brasil porque ele contribui para a boa imagem do cacau brasileiro no exterior.

Brasil makes the difference!

During the Origin Chocolate Event in Amsterdam, two weeks ago I saw some interesting people and one of them was Marie Louise Filippini. She introduced me to the company Quinta Chocolate da Maria.

Brasil makes the difference with the Organic Producers Cooperative of Southern Bahia,
arose from the union and partnership between the IESB (Institute of Environmental Socio South of Bahia) and farmers not only concerned with the conservation of fauna and flora, but also with the conservation of soil and water resources that comprise the Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia. CABRUCA is currently represented by 39 cooperatives engaged in organic agriculture, which contribute directly to the preservation of the environment and food production more pure and healthy. Promoting organic certification group, the CABRUCA assists and facilitates the process of certification of all its members through the Biodynamic Institute - IBD, assuring consumers to purchase products: - free of synthetic inputs, pesticides and genetic modifications, which are not only harmful health, but also to the environment; - produced with the concern on environmental preservation, in order to accomplish a constant process of cooperative environmental compliance with the registration of their legal reserves and restoration of forest areas of permanent preservation; - produced under fair labor conditions throughout the production process. CABRUCA currently has as main product certified organic cocoa. In recent years has been developing a strong work aimed at producing a high quality cocoa. Besides the production of organic cocoa quality, CABRUCA encourages the diversification of agroforestry through the cultivation of palm trees as acai and peach palm, spices like pepper the-kingdom, clove and vanilla and fruits like cupuaçu, hog plum, banana and others. Briefly CABRUCA operates with the following main objectives: - Conservation of soil and water resources that are home to flora and fauna of the Atlantic south of Bahia; - Certification of all organic producers and products CABRUCA by IBD - Certifications ( through an annual survey and regular, following the requirements of the Brazilian, European (EU) and North American (NOP); - Producing high quality organic cocoa; - Diversification of crops in agroforestry systems (cocoa, palm trees, spices, flowers and fruit trees); - Organic production for the local market (hortifruticultura) - Cooperatives and transparent business.

The "cocoa cabruca" Organic Producers Cooperative of South Bahia not only contributes to the conservation of biodiversity in southern Bahia, but also the health and well being of their customers. Scientific studies show that cabrucas act as ecological corridors for native fauna and flora, providing safe routes for many species moving between the remnants of the Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia. Cocoa is traded in the form of dry beans that pass through our system of internal quality control allowing traceability of each batch of cocoa output from the farm to the consumer until his arrival. All cocoa is evaluated and graded before marketing and quality standards are achieved at the highest level.Much of the production of dry beans provided by CABRUCA is sold directly to the chocolate industry nationally and internationally. A small portion is converted into raw materials directed to the cosmetic industry. cocoa derivatives such as cocoa butter, cocoa powder, liquor (= mass of cocoa liquor is not!) and nibs are produced with our custom IBC partner - Indústria Brasileira de Cocoa. CABRUCA A also offers free cocoa fermentation for use in food macrobiotic in limited quantities and custom.

So knowing al this and knowing Felchlin is the producer of this chocolate I ordered about 20 kg of the couverture to try this very special reliable chocolate, my favorite thing is to be involved to sustainability in thise big chocolate world!!

BRASIL MAKES THE DIFFERENCE In the Atlantic Coastal Rainforest in the Brazilian State of Bahia lies, hidden like a secret garden, Maria's cocoa farm Quinta. Here the main ingredient for our delicious chocolate is produced. Majestic trees offer shade to our cocoa trees. We use no chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. We protect our water, our plants and animals living at our farm. Our workers are empowered by their jobs and form a dedicated team. Sun dried, deep brown,cacao beans with a rich chocolate perfume are the spectacular result.
EATING GOOD CHOCOLATE We label our bags, so that our beans are traceable from where they are harvested. Maria herself takes the beans to Cabruca Cooperative in Ilheus. From there they are shipped to a small chocolate factory in the mountains of Switzerland. The best chocolatiers in the world turn our golden brown beans into chocolate, using only the best bio-certified ingredients. From Maria's land, right in your hand: Chocolate of the Quinta da Maria, 100% organic & transparant!

vrijdag 26 oktober 2012

donderdag 25 oktober 2012

This chocolate travel story is a tiny, excited, anxious tale of discovery.

Thanks to Emily Stone of Chocolate In Context, who I saw on the Origin Chocolate Event Amsterdam.

Discovering Danta Chocolate: Guatemala to Belgium to Holland ....

....Wandering around the tropical building, I overheard the words between a chocolatier and an eager customer "chocolate in Guatemala." Wait! I thought with a surge of excitement and even a rush of jealousy, that's my story. I made my way to the front of the queue and discovered the high voltage Belgian chocolatier Geert Vercruysse presenting an entire range of ganache-filled bon bons highlighting the chocolate of small artisan producers around the world including in addition to Marou, Pacari, Dick Taylor, and Taza——Danta chocolate from Guatemala! Vercruysse's Danta bon bons—made of nothing but Carlos Eichenberger's chocolate mixed with sweet cream—tasted like cherries dipped in caramel. The cacao came from a farm on Guatemala's Pacfic coast called Las Acacias, an old family finca on a swath of land near once dominated by the United Fruit company, which I had also visited in 2008...

A new discovery made. I can't say who ultimately discovered whom in this story. But this is a story to tell: Guatemalan cacao becomes Belgian chocolate.

(Starting in November new Danta bars, made from organic cacao grown in Guatemala's neighboring country of Nicaragua, should be available at Chocolatl in Amsterdam and in Kortrijk, Belgium.

The complete story of Emily Stone and Chocolate in Context follow next link:

dinsdag 23 oktober 2012

maandag 22 oktober 2012

Mignonetten eten voor de wetenschap.

Wie twee maanden lang gratis chocolade wilt eten, kan terecht in het universitair ziekenhuis van Antwerpen.

Welk effect heeft chocolade op de bloeddruk en de vaatwand? De dienst cardiologie van het UZA gaat het uitzoeken met de hulp van een groep vrijwilligers. Die moeten (pure) chocolade lusten zegt onderzoeksleidster Hilde Heuten.
Wat gaat u onderzoeken?
"We vermoeden dat flavonoiden, dat zijn de bestanddelen van cacao en chocolade, heilzaam op de vaatwand inwerken. Ze zouden zo de bloedruk verlagen. Dat willen we bewijzen door vrijwilligers twee manden lang chocolade te laten eten die extra verrijkt is met flavonoiden. Als controle eet een andere groep vrijwilligers twee maanden lang gewone chocolade. En dan gaan we meten wat er met hun bloeddruk gebeurt."
Hoeveel chocolade moeten de vrijwilligers eten?
"Elke dag twintig gram: zo'n twee mignonetten, of honderd calorieën."
De studie loopt twee maanden. Doet chocolade de bloeddruk werkelijk zo snel zakken dat je in die tijd effect kan zien?
"We meten de bloeddruk vijf keer in de studie, zo volgen we de evolutie op de voet. We verwachten een daling van enkele millimeter kwikdruk te zien. Iemand met een aanvankelijke bovendruk van 14 komt dan rond de 13.5 uit".
Twee maanden lang gratis chocolade eten. Zit zo'n studie niet meteen vol?
"Tientallen mensen hebben zich al gemeld. Maar we kunnen nog een dozijn vrijwilligers tussen 56 en 65 gebruiken. Voorwaarde is wel dat ze flink wat overgewicht hebben - een BMI van 30 of meer. Bij elkaar willen we 56 mensen in de studie."
Zesenvijftig proefpersonen onderverdeeld in twee groepen. Kun je daar wel een statistiek op trekken?
"Dat is vooraf nagekeken door twee statistici. Eentje van ons eigen ziekenhuis, eentje van Callebaut, het bedrijf dat de chocolade voor het onderzoek levert."
Vreest u niet dat Callebaut eerder commerciële dan wetenschappelijke bedoelingen heeft?
"Ik denk niet dat dit louter commercieel te bekijken is. De studie voldoet aan strenge wetenschappelijke eisen. Ze wordt dubbelblind en gerandomiseerd uitgevoerd: de vrijwilligers noch wij weten wie welke chocolade krijgt. Die informatie is verzegeld, het zegel wordt pas aan het eind van de studie verbroken."

dit artikel verscheen in de Standaard van 19 oktober 2012
redactie Hilde van den Eynde

mijn reactie:
Het brengt me aan het lachen, men krijgt niet eens voldoende mensen bij elkaar voor een wetenschappelijk onderzoek in het UZA. Misschien heeft dit te maken met de gekozen chocolade!
Men kan mij eens vragen als proefkonijn, ik eet reeds jaren heel wat meer chocolade per dag maar dan van uitzonderlijke kwaliteit, maar ik heb nog een nadeel mijn BMI ligt stukken te laag dank zij echte chocolade :-)
Vercruysse Geert

donderdag 18 oktober 2012

Origin Chocolate Event October 16th and 17th Amsterdam 2012 (part one).

Preparing the stand for the Event with chocolates of Felchlin, The Grenada Company, Pacari, Original Beans, Marou, Danta and Askinosie.
TASTE the best origin chocolates of the world
Chocolate masters:
Kees Raat - Amsterdam
Geert Vercruysse - Belgium
Mariëlla Erkens - Amsterdam

 Thanks for your help Gerrit

At least one admirer, very early...


MEET  the best world-top of bean-to-bar chocolate makers.



LISTEN to the stories of real chocolate making:
Mott Green - The Grenada Chocolate Company
Santiago Peralta - Pacari Ecuador
Philipp Kauffmann - Original Beans - Amsterdam
Bertil Akesson - Akesson's Madagascar-Brasil
Sepp Schönbachler - Felchlin Switzerland
Vincent Mourou - Marou Vietnam






GET to know Chocolate leaders:
Martin Christy - UK
Clay Gordon - USA
Maricel Presilla - USA
Anna Laven - Amsterdam


ready to start now...
more on the products see: