zaterdag 21 juli 2012

Dick Taylor Treasures.

The first time I heard of and tasted Dick Taylor Chocolate was with one of my chocolatefriends Sara, a nice and fine chocolate lover and much more, a connoisseur of really good chocolate!
I must admit I never heard of Dick Taylor and I'm always glad to receive good information, and good chocolate of course.

What convinced me was the following I found on there website: ...Great chocolate will only be as good as the raw materials you put into it. No amount of processing will be able to cover up for poor quality beans.  The work of the chocolate maker rests on the foundation of carefully selected ingredients.  For us, this has been one of the most exciting aspects of our craft

So I contacted Adam Dick (end of May 2012) the chocolate maker/owner of thise very small (USA) brand.

Some fragments of my conversation with Adam:
...the oppertunity to taste your chocolate a month ago and we loved it from the start, so I was wondering if you should be pleased (just like we should of course) to have the bars sold at my place in Belgium.
We should be very honored to support you and love to share the wonderfull chocolate at my clients as one of the best tasted this year...
I was very grateful with the respons of Adam:
...We are so excited you liked our chocolate, and would be happy to have 
it at your shop.  Attached, you will find our current price list.  It 
also shows the bars that we currently have in stock.  We also have a 
75% Bolivia that we were able to source a limited supply of.  Let us 
know what you think and hopefully we can get an order sent out to you.

Adam Dick.

So no time wasted and ordering good chocolate is always one of my favorite things to do, like buying Christmas presents for myself :-)

Receiving and opening a box of Dick Taylor Crafted Chocolate

Presentations of Dick Taylor's bars.
Black Fig:
dark, rich black mission figs paired with our Ecuador highlight the tobacco and tar flavors of the fig.
Sounds good and tastes better.

Black Fig:
dark, rich black mission figs paired with our Ecuador highlight the tobacco and tar flavors of the fig.

 Fleur de Sel:
Dominican Republic paired with a sublte and delicate hand-harvested french sea salt. strong and robust.

 74% Dominican Republic: strong limey bitterness with red wine and tobacco notes.

 70% Ecuador:   mild and floral with earthy undertones.
Bolivian beans for there NEW chocolate (not available for my order).
Adam Dick & Dustin Taylor
chocolate makers 
Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate | 5301 Boyd Rd. Arcata, CA 95521 | (707)843-9255 |

woensdag 18 juli 2012

What Is Alkalized Cocoa Powder?

Cocoa beans are the fruit of the cacao tree and the source of all the tasty chocolate products you know and love. The ancient Olmecs and Mayans are responsible for first cultivating this tree and recognizing its potential as a food. There are many more forms of cocoa available today, however, than these ancient people could have ever dreamed of. Alkalized cocoa powder is one product that people frequently wonder about, and it can easily be confused with other forms of cocoa.

· Although cocoa beans have been used by mankind for thousands of years, it was not until 1828 that cocoa powder as we know it became available, thanks to the work of Dutch chemist C. J. Van Houten. Van Houten discovered a process for removing most of the fat, or cocoa butter, from the roasted cocoa beans, thus producing cocoa powder. He found that adding an alkaline substance, such as potassium carbonate, to the cocoa powder resulted in improvements to the taste and properties of natural cocoa powder. This treated form of cocoa powder became known as Dutch cocoa, or alkalized cocoa powder.

Features· When compared to natural cocoa powder, alkalized cocoa powder is darker brown, with reddish undertones; it is milder in flavor and mixes with liquids more easily. Alkalized cocoa powder has an alkaline pH from 7 to 8, while natural cocoa powder has an acidic pH, around 5. Alkalized cocoa powder is sold in stores alongside other types of baking chocolate and is sometimes labeled as Dutch-process cocoa or European-style cocoa. It should list alkali in the ingredients.

Function· Alkalized cocoa powder is preferred by many cooks for baking cakes, cookies, and pastries because of its mellow, smooth flavor and rich, dark color. It is easier to mix with other ingredients, and will absorb liquids more readily than natural cocoa powder. Alkalized cocoa powder is used in ice cream, hot cocoa mixes, candies, beverages, and chocolate syrups where a full-bodied, smooth, chocolate flavor is desired.

Considerations· Baking soda will not do its job of leavening in baked goods with alkalized cocoa powder because it requires an acidic ingredient, such as natural cocoa powder, to react. Recipes with alkalized cocoa powder should use baking powder instead, or other acidic ingredients, such as orange juice. For best results, use the type of cocoa powder called for in recipes and don't try to substitute one type for another.

· The health benefits of chocolate have been discussed in media a great deal in recent times, and this is good news to many chocolate lovers. Unfortunately, while alkalized cocoa powder is more palatable to some, it is lower in the health-promoting flavanol antioxidants than untreated cocoa. According to a study presented in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry in 2008, the processing that alkalized cocoa powder undergoes substantially reduces the amount of beneficial substances it contains.

My favorite cocoa powders are the Bolivian El Ceibo 100% cocoa beans and The Grenada Chocolate Company pure organic cocoa powder, both we sell our shop

100% cocoa beans
What is so unique about this cocoa powder? We produce it ourselves,and it is as natural as it can be. Our cocoa beans are organic, fermented to perfection and sun-dried in our facilities in the Amazonian region from where they are transported in our trucks to our factory in El Alto where they are carefully roasted, peeled then pressed to obtain the cocoa powder. Unlike many brands in the world, El Ceibo does not alkalinize the beans in order to give it a deeper color and reduce its acidity. El Ceibo cocoa powder is the original cocoa powder, and it creates a totally new experience.
Weight:  Exists in 250g
Oganic and fair trade cocao beans

Pure Organic Cocoa Powder(6oz/170gr recloseable pouches): Pure and delicious, perfect for hot-chocolate, chocolate ice-cream, baking, etc. Grenada's cocoa is known for its extra rich flavour and strength. Our Organic* Cocoa Powder is uniquely rich and flavourful because of our small-scale relatively low-pressure cocoa butter press and, of course, because of the special taste of our cocoa beans!

donderdag 12 juli 2012

Hi Vietnam and Marou...Faiseurs de Chocolat.

My first contact with Marou  May 29, 2012
Hi Vietnam and Marou,
Looking forward to receive from a good friend (Lee McCoy) thise Marou chocolate. He is sending me chocolate from this unknown (for me) brand. I really hope this is good, and maybe in the near future we could try to sell your chocolate in my shop in Belgium. Wish you all the succes you deserve and friendship in the world of fine chocolate. Thanks, Geert Vercruysse.

Marou, Faiseurs de Chocolat is the first bean-to-bar chocolate maker in Vietnam, created by two Frenchmen living in Vietnam. All there chocolate is handmade in Saigon using purely Vietnamese ingredients of highest quality.
Cacao was first introduced in Vietnam by the French in the late 19th century

My first sending from Marou, June 21, 2012


Samuel and Vincent, new bean-to-bar producers, Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat, in Saigon, Vietnam. Two Frenchmen, Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou-Rochebois, who moved to Vietnam and began producing their own bean-to-bar chocolate locally made right there from the source.
Here is a link to their blog about briefly describing cacao history in Vietnam.

The selection of Marou's bars nicely protected to heat or cold, sended with Korean Airlines.
They arrived all in very good conditions just like the couverture to make pastry and chocolates.

Dồng Nai 72%
A rare and delicate chocolate, made in small batched, from agro-forestry farms around Cat Tien National Park's Primeval Forest.

This is great chocolate. There is a lot going on with the flavors. The aroma's and the flavors matched up very well too. Big fruits right off the bat, and then a surprising honey flavor, it's big with sugars but not unbalanced since this bar is very bitter. Some wood flavors and berries in the middle and some roasted cacao with char flavors. It finishes with coffee and cream notes and of course the cereal grains. It has some tartness to it, but it's really not acidic at all. 
Tiền Giang 70%
This full bodied chocolate owes its  spice and fruit notes to the organic Trinitario beans grown by farmers on the Cho Gao co-op in the Mekong Delta.

It's aroma was strong and citrus-y. It had big fruits, but also big aged wood aromas that mingled with the berries and fruitiness and left a medicinal aroma as an effect of that. Some char aromas from the roasting, and some slightly inky qualities. And just barely there, I had to really inhale this aroma for a while, but there are some coffee grinds and cinnamon aromas coming off this bar. Super light though.


Bển Tre 78%

Bển Tre province of Vietnam. Situated on the Mekong Delta just below Tiền Giang in southern Vietnam. Rich crop producing area known for coconuts as well as durians, and mangoes. Hot and tropical, a natural fit for cacao production.
Taste: A mild hint of cinnamon right up front coupled with a bit of mustiness. Bold, very bitter, lot's of big fruit, charred cacao, inky with deep wood flavors, a little acidic, toasted biscuit flavors, very subtle floral flavors towards the finish. Lingering toast flavors on the finish.

Bà Rịa 76%

Cacao of Bà Rịa-Vang Tau province just a little bit north-east of Ho Chi Minh City. Beans sourced directly from family farms.
The fruitiest bar of the bunch, but to be honest, the fruits on the Bển Tre 78% were better. They were only competing with bitterness. The fruits compete with too much sour on this bar so it's hard to focus on them. The wood flavors and char add a nice depth and something great in the bar than just the strong bitterness.
The texture was much nicer than the Bển Tre though. Much smoother. Same melt-time, same creaminess that opens up in the center, but not hard like the others.

Really interesting chocolate, all 4 bars. Each very different than one and other and the regions the beans are coming from are not very far apart from one and other
Marou has proved to be a great new company with a very unique perspective by actually living in the jungles where their beans are sourced from.

Thanks to Candice Alström of for some pictures and the review
and to Lee McCoy for sending me the first Marou bars.

The couverture (and my feets, sorry! ) for pastry and chocolates.

donderdag 5 juli 2012

Cacao Ghana Project Yayra Glover Felchlin.

Een beetje geschiedenis:
De eerste sporen van  cacaobomen op de kuststrook van de Gouden Kust (huidig Ghana) dateren uit 1815, met de komst van de Nederlandse missionarissen. De cacaoteelt heeft zich evenwel pas echt ontwikkeld door toedoen van Tetteh Quarshie, de eerste Ghanese cacaoteler. Hij was werkzaam als smid in Fernado Poo, het huidige eiland Bioko (Equatoriaal-Guinea), en nam in 1879 cacaobonen met zich mee die hij met enig succes in zijn tuin plantte. Gaandeweg kochten andere boeren bonen van hem en ontwikkelde de cacaoteelt zich, daarbij profiterend van een gunstig klimaat en een geschikte grond. Ghana is in 1891 begonnen met exporteren en was tussen 1910 en 1980 de voornaamste exporteur. Terzelfder tijd besloot de regering vanaf 1947 een regeringsagentschap op te richten dat zich ging bezighouden met de ontwikkeling van de cacaoteelt: de Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD). Al spoedig werden de kwaliteit en de homogeniteit de belangrijkste lokale preoccupaties en sinds die tijd staat de Ghanese cacao bekend om zijn betere kwaliteit.

Ghana Cocoa-of-origin

The history of cocoa in Ghana
The fist missionaries from the Basle Mission were sent to the then Gold Coast, today’s
Ghana, in the year 1828. According to the story, these missionaries, who were working together
with Tetteh Quarshie, brought cocoa into the country. Around 1870, the Ghanaian
Tetteh Quarshie worked for a few years on an island in the Gulf of Guinea. The island, on
which cocoa was already grown, was a Spanish colony. Despite the strict prohibition, Tetteh
Quarshie succeeded in smuggling a few cocoa beans into his homeland on his return to
Ghana and successfully raised cocoa plants from them. The Spanish-Portuguese cocoa monopoly
was thereby broken, and the valuable beans found their way to Africa.

The importance of cocoa in Ghana today
Ghana is the second largest export country for cocoa in the world. For the last 60 years, all
the cocoa grown in Ghana had to be sold to the “Ghana Cocoa Board”. This government organisation
controlled and marketed all the cocoa, either for export or for domestic use (local
processors). The raw material cocoa is one of the main sources of foreign exchange for Ghana
and is therefore of enormous importance.
The Yayra Glover Company and its vision
According to the vision of the Ghanaian Yayra Glover, cocoa production in Ghana should be
realigned in the future. His company wants to cultivate and market the cocoa from the entire
Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district in line with both, organic and Fairtrade guidelines. And all of
this with the active support of Swiss agronomists.
In doing this, Yayra Glover trains and informs the farmers about local, regional, national and
even international topics. Important issues such as child labour, organic food, natural plant
protection and sustainable agriculture are thereby central. However, in addition, the people
should also be given the means and the opportunities to themselves bring about changes in
their own lives.
Through tireless work, Yayra Glover succeeded in convincing the “Ghana Cocoa Board”
about his project. He is thereby the first person who is able to sell his cocoa directly to his
customers, of course with the support and approval of the Cocoa Board.
Cocoa from the Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district, Ghana
The Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar district, from which Felchlin now obtains its Ghanaian cocoa,
lies on the southern edge of a large forest area, 60 km north-west of the capital city Accra.
Coastal savannah extends towards the south, while the Aburi chain of hills forms a natural
border to the east, with the protected Attewa forest to the north-west. The entire district is
relatively hilly, with flat valleys intersected by rivers and streams.

maandag 2 juli 2012

Ecuador Grand Cru Rio Huimbi, Arriba Felchlin.

Een beetje geschiedenis:

De eerste cacaobomen zouden verschenen zijn  in de hoge vallei van het Amazonegebied. Na verloop van tijd zouden de cacaobonen, die werden verspreid door de beken of dieren, de kustvlakten van Ecuador bereikt hebben. Beschermd tegen de komst van andere cacaobomen door de Andesketen is één soort zich beetje bij beetje gaan onderscheiden: de Nacional cacaoboom. Het kust gebied van Ecuador heeft een zacht en vochtig klimaat alsmede een rijke grond, twee factoren die al zeer vroeg de ontwikkeling van de cacaoteelt mogelijk hebben gemaakt. De Spaanse koloniën die in de 17e eeuw in Ecuador aanwezig waren zagen er een bron van verrijking in en besloten daarom gecultiveerde oppervlakten te ontwikkelen. Aangezien het aantal te cultiveren gronden afnam, plantten zij steeds hoger (arriba in het Spaans) en gingen langs de rivier Guaias omhoog in de richting van het Noorden. Gaandeweg heeft het woord arriba zijn naam gegeven aan de typische florale aroma's van de bonen van de Nacional.
De verwerkingsmethodes en de korte fermentaties zijn parallel aan elkaar ontwikkeld om de tere florale aroma's te behouden bij de afronding van de cacaoaroma's (samentrekkende werking). Dit geheel, bestaande uit de omgeving van Ecuadoraanse vlakten, mengeling van de Nacional en de Forastero en de lokale deskundigheid, vormt een unieke streek die aan de basis staat van deze subtiele en zeldzame florale aroma ontwikkeling.

Cacao Rio Huimbi

The cooperative APROCANE has been delivering high quality cacao beans to Schwyz for several years. APROCANE includes 600 farmers and their families which are mainly descendents from escaped African slaves that can be found spread across 22 municipalities. The cacao originates from the province Esmeraldas, in the catchment area a several rivers and primarily the hinterland of the river Wimbi (Huimbi).

Rio Huimbi 62%

Grand Cru couverture from “Nacional” noble cacao originating in Rio Huimbi, Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Flavour profile: An accent is set through the harmonious fruity cacao flavour. Ripe pink grapefruit and blood orange notes elegantly express the fresh fruitiness, eventually being replaced with a distinctive dried pear aroma. The subtle tone of pepper accompanies the smooth and silky long lasting finish.

Rio Huimbi 42%

Grand Cru couverture from “Nacional” noble cacao originating in Rio Huimbi, Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Flavour profile: The prelude to this milk chocolate is characterised by a strong cacao flavour supplemented through a pleasant milk note. A spirited interplay of fine caramel and discreet malt aromas adds distinction to the taste experience. The prolonged finish is complimented by a nutty butter note with a caress of sweetness.

Cacao Arriba

The cooperative APROCANE has delivered high quality cacao beans to Schwyz for many years. APROCANE consists of over 600 cacao farmers and their families, spread over 22 municipalities. The majority of the farmers are descendents of runaway African slaves. The cacao originates from different cantons in the province of Esmeraldas. Esmeraldas is Ecuador’s most northern province and boarders on Columbia.

Arriba 72% - 72h

Grand Cru Couverture made of “Nacional“ noble cacao Arriba from the region, Esmeraldas, Ecuador

Flavour profile: The cacao flavour is enhanced through the intensive coffee and liquorice notes, making Arriba an unforgettable experience for the senses. The traditional, gentle processing method (72 hours conching) develops a powerful prune bouquet, which finishes with a light, almost flowery black currant note.

Rio Hiumbi and Arriba couvertures are available in our shop in small 100g portions.