woensdag 30 mei 2012

The future of chocolate

Last year in July, Suzie Hoban came to Kortrijk for a visit at my place, see her writing on her blog:
Later she started her own business in Colombia, where she is now a chocolatier in Bogotà: Guau!
The City Paper "business" asked her to do some preview of the future of the Colombian chocolate. Read her story:

Suzie Hoban looks at the efforts of Colombian cacao growers to protect their plants and farming communities in a volatile industry that despite a global demand is anything but sweet.
Consider yourself a chocolate lover? Well, you are among friends, many friends in fact, that are growing in number every day. Fuelled by the developing economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China, the worldwide demand for chocolate is increasing at 2.5% a year. This may seem like a small number, but it presents a dire problem for chocolate manufacturers as they struggle to source sufficient
quantities of chocolate’s raw material: cacao.
The Theobroma Cacao tree which produces cacao beans, will only grow within 20 degrees of the equator. Over 70% of the world’s beans are grown in Africa whilst the remaining 30% are
cultivated in Asia and Latin America. If chocolate consumption continues to grow at this rate, by 2020 we will need another million tonnes of cacao beans, equivalent to the current output of the world’s largest producer, the Ivory Coast.
This problem for chocolate manufacturers is a great opportunity for cacao producing countries, including Colombia.To capitalise on the world’s growing desire for chocolate, the Colombian Government has released an ambitious ten year plan to transform Colombia from its current status as cacao importer, to major cacao exporter. According to the ‘Plan Decenal,’ Colombia will increase production of cacao from the 42,000 tonnes produced in 2010, to 79,000 tonnes in 2014, and to 246,000 tonnes by  2021.
Fedecacao, the national association of cacao growers, will be instrumental in achieving this plan. By providing technical assistance to farmers, they aim to triple the current yield on existing plantations, and will expand cacao production into new regions, including many areas formerly used for coca production. Edgar Aldana Rosillo of Fedecacao says the Plan Decenal will not only help farmers, but entire rural communities by providing permanent jobs and liveable incomes for families, thus reducing the displacement of rural populations.
Fedecacao estimates that the Plan Decenal will create 76,500 jobs directly involved in cacao cultivation and 38,250 additional jobs in the broader industry.

The success of Plan Decenal relies on consistently high prices for cacao and this is not something that can be guaranteed, especially not for a crop that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development described as one of the most volatile commodities in the world. Whilst global demand for cacao is currently pushing prices up, many factors can bring them back down, such as the introduction of substitute products from other countries. Malaysia recently began exporting huge quantities of cocoa powder, a product that can be used in many chocolate flavoured foods in place of cacao, for approximately one sixth of the price. Fedecacao reported in March that a sudden influx of cocoa powder in Colombia caused the price of cacao to drop nearly 50% in just six months.
Producers of “bulk” or low-quality cacao have no choice but to sell on the commodities market, however producers of high-quality beans can sell them directly to quality chocolate manufacturers,
who pay a premium up to three times the market price. Amounting to less than 10% of global cacao producion, these “Fine Aroma” beans are highly sought after by the growing number of artisanal bean-to-bar chocolate producers.
According to international chocolate consultant Chloe Doutre-Roussel, these artisanal producers prize beans from Venezuela, Madagascar, Peru, and Mexico, however they know little about the quality of Colombian cacao. To tackle this problem, Fedecacao is busy promoting quality Colombian beans
to international buyers. In October 2011, through the support of this entity, farmer Saúl Tirado Fuentes won a Cocoa of Excellence award at the Salon du Chocolat in Paris, for cacao grownon his Valparaiso plantation in Arauquita, Arauca.
The judges noted that the beans, from a tree developed by the research department of Fedecacao, exhibited distinct sweet caramel aromas. Awards such as these are crucial in establishing both the high quality, and the unique regional characteristics of Colombian cacao.
At the farm level, Fedecacao agronomists are advising farmers on cultivation, fermentation and drying techniques to maximise the unique characteristics of their land and their trees.Colombian chocolate company Casa Luker is also working hard to improve the quality of Colombian beans. Traditionally a manufacturer of drinking chocolate, in 2009 the company began selling couverture, the chocolate
used by chocolatiers. To meet the high standards demanded by their international clients, Luker conducts research on their own cacao plantation, “Granja Luker.” By working with 35 growing co-operatives in Colombia, Luker can share its research findings with over 5,000 cacao growing families, ensuring a steady supply of quality beans, now and in the future.
With this assistance at the plantation level, and the right exposure internationally, Colombian farmers may join their neighbours as some of the best paid-cacao growers globally, whilst ensuring the world’s chocolate lovers a future for their favourite treat.
A visit from the International Business Director, Francisco Javier Gomez B. of Casa Luker at my place to see how I create chocolates with the Casa Luker Colombian FINO DE AROMA couverture.

Pictures 1, 2, 3, 4 are taken at Casa Luker plantations, thanks to Luc.
Other pictures where taken at http://www.patisserievercruysse.be/

donderdag 17 mei 2012

“Life is like a box of chocolates...

A simile in which life, or an aspect of life, is compared to a box of chocolates. The best known chocism is still the one from the 1994 movie Forrest Gump – “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get” – but this hasn’t stopped journalists, commentators and bloggers coming up with their own versions, encompassing the pessimistic, “Life is like a box of chocolates, the best ones are half-eaten”; the anti-romantic, “Men are like chocolates, you never know when you’re going to get a nut”; the matrimonial, “Marriage is like a box of chocolates, you have to squeeze a few bottoms to make sure you like what you’re getting”; and even the political, “Like a box of chocolates – you never know when you’re going to get a fudge”. Because life is a box of chocolates: we are born when the box is opened; we live as we choose our way through the assortment; and we die when the box is empty.

Thanks to "The Chocolate Dictionary".

dinsdag 15 mei 2012

Chocolates Selection May, June & July.

Bolivia 38% 48h
Cru Sauvage couverture made of wild, noble cacao from the province of Beni, Bolivia
Flavour profile:
The sensory experience of this unique milk couverture opens with a mild cacao note. The following milk caramel taste is accented through the slightly sweet taste of marzipan. The traditional gentle manufacturing process (48 hours conching) brings out the pleasant malty spruce honey flavour which then finishes on a prolonged slightly spicy vanilla note.
Ready to start melting this wonderfull milkchocolate

Marzipan 43% Lubeca & Felchlin Bolivia milk 38%

Summerbird 90% & Felchlin Bolivia milk 38%

Coppeneur 65% dark Chili & Felchlin Bolivia milk 38%

Felchlin Maracaibo Criolait 38% & cacaonibs
Felchlin Java 64% & Comets Tail pepper Java Akesson's
Greanada Chocolate Company 71%
Original Beans Cru Virunga Congo 70%
Felchlin Java 64% pure
El Ceibo 70% & awarded Bolivian coffee 
Praliné Intens almonds - hazelnuts & spices
Praliné almonds, hazelnuts & pistachio
Felchlin Maracaïbo Créole 49% & orange blossom
Felchlin Centenario concha 70% & hint of chilli
Felchlin Republic Domenica bio 42%
Daintree Australian Estate 70%
Clear box of 12 Selection, a treat for chocolate lovers

Enrobing with Felchlin 38% Beni Wild 

maandag 14 mei 2012

T-shirt "chocolat" (design by Caroline Lisfranc)

J'aime le chocolat... et vous?

Le chocolat ou "nourriture des dieux", procure volupté, plaisir, énergie et calme. Il agit immédiatement sur votre bonne humeur. Son action psychologique n'est plus à démontrer.
Il peut faire des miracles sur le bien être général, donner du plasir et tout cela, sans prendre un gramme!!!

  T-shirt "chocolat"
Prescription: Les T-shirts design by Caroline Lisfranc sont destinés aux femmes, enfants, hommes, affectueux branchés, comiques, contents, épanouis, exubérants, expansifs, gourmands, prosaïques, rêveurs, rieurs, tendres... et fans de bonheur!
Ces T-shirts sont préconisés en cas d'inhibition. Ils favorisent les moments de plaisir, les échanges et la communication. Ils sont parfaitement adaptés pour lire, fair lire, s'afficher et s'affirmer...

Posologie: A offrir ou à s'offrir. En toutes occasion et en toutes saisons, dés qu'un besoin de câlins, d'amour, d'humour ou de bonne humeur est ressenti.

Durée du traitement: Aussi longtemps que possible!  Super collector !

Effects secondaires: Attention, certains de ces T-shirts peuvent avoir des effects étonnats et inattendus ! Bouffée de dynamisme, contraction des zygomatiques, pouvoir de séduction, accroissement du charme,...
Si ces symptômes apparaissent, portez ce T-shirt aussi souvent que nécessaire!

Composition: 50% de mots, messages, taxtes pour toi, moi, nous et eux ! 30% de bonne humeur, 10% de fibre de coton avec un truc dedans qui vous donne une silhouette de rêve...pas mal de couleurs qui déteignent sur l'humeur, de temps, traces de paillettes et d'autres choses rigolotes et quelque fois même...du parfum !

Précaution d'emploi: Les T-Shirts design by Caroline Lisfranc doivent être conservés à l'abri de l'eau de javel et des grognons, grincheux, acariâtres, boudeurs, bougons, grondeurs, hargneux, maussades, mécontents, moroses, pleurnicheurs, renfrognés, ronchons et rouspéteurs.