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Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

pollarda Re: Still useful research (224 comments)

Nope. But after a late night making chocolate (or coding) my hair looks a lot more like Gene Wilder's than Johnny Depps. It is pretty cool though that when I tell people I have tons of chocolate it is actually true.

about three weeks ago
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Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

pollarda Re:Cocoa is also disgusting without sugar (224 comments)

This is not always true. Good quality cocoa can taste great without sugar. However, most cocoa is not of very good quality (only 1% of the world's production is considered "fine".) Even then, most of the fine quality cocoa is not particularly good quality. However, I regularly make chocolate from a bean from the Dominican Republic that tastes like burgamot oranges and lavender. The flavor of the raw beans (or freshly roasted) is amazing and highly addictive. So in general, you are right but if the beans have been properly fermented and dried (something most farmers don't do well) they can taste quite magical.

about three weeks ago
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Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

pollarda Re:Still useful research (224 comments)

I own a chocolate factory. I would HEAVILY recommend NOT eating raw chocolate. I travel to some of the very best cocoa plantations in the world in countries such as Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Mexico, etc. etc. Cocoa is processed at the farm in conditions which are far from sanitary. I've watched dogs walk through cocoa (can you say: fecal coliform bacteria?). I've watched chickens walk through it and pidgins peck at it, and turkeys walk around it and EVERY time you have birds, you have salmonella bacteria.

Roasting is important to not only bring out the chocolate flavor but to kill all the nasties that came from the farm, from the cocoa processing center (or co-op), from the warehousing, from the shipping on the boat in open jute bags, from the transport on the semi to the chocolate factory in the US, etc. There are a million ways that even clean cocoa beans can get contaminated even if they left the farm in great condition. While I've made raw chocolate as an experiment for myself (and it is part of my job afterall), there is no way that I'd ever release the chocolate on a commercial basis without having each and every batch go through extensive microbial testing something that few raw chocolate companies do.

about three weeks ago
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Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

pollarda Re:Still useful research (224 comments)

You should realize that butyric acid is also the primary flavor component for vomit. (Yes, really.) So the next time someone tells you that Hershey's tastes like SH!&, you can tell them they are wrong, it tastes like puke.

about three weeks ago
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Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

pollarda Re:Still useful research (224 comments)

I'm sorry, you are incorrect. In the United States, you can not have any other fats other than cocoa butter or milk fat (which is in milk and is thus in milk chocolate). If you check the FDA standards of identity for chocolate: It is regulated in the United States and you can read the Standards of Identity here: http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=163
I own a chocolate factory so I know just a bit about this subject.

about three weeks ago
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Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You

pollarda Re:Still useful research (224 comments)

This is incorrect. It is illegal to use palm oil or any other fats (other than milk fat -- which you need in "milk chocolate"). Hershey's wanted the FDA to allow a change in the "Standard of Identity" for chocolate. Gary Guittard (from Guittard Chocolate and a good friend of mine) spearheaded a public rebuttal. The FDA had more comments opposing the changes to the standard of identity of chocolate than they ever had over any issue EVER. (The sad thing is that when they have public comments over an issue, only 3-4 comments are typically submitted. I don't remember how many comments were submitted over the chocolate issue but it was very large.) In the end, MARS came out with a public statement that even if the standard of identity for chocolate were to change, they would never put palm or any other oils in their chocolate. This was a clear statement against HERSHEY's who immediately backpedaled and withdrew their proposal and the FDA decided to not change the standard of identity of chocolate. You can not use ANY other fat other than milk fat and call it chocolate. You can call it chocolate "flavored" or you can call it "Butterfinger" but you can not call it chocolate if it has any other fat in it other than milk fat and cocoa butter. I understand now why you posted as "Anonymous Cowered" as you clearly don't know what you are talking about.

about three weeks ago
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Jackie Chan Discs Help Boost Solar Panel Efficiency

pollarda Room for further research.... (194 comments)

If they can do this with SuperCop, just imagine what sort of efficencies they could get by using an AC/DC album! Also by using AC/DC as the base pattern it might allow them to create native AC and skip the use of a DC->AC power inverter.

about 2 months ago
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What Would Have Happened If Philae Were Nuclear Powered?

pollarda But ... But ... But ... (523 comments)

The solar panels are "green" technology.

I heard through the grapevine that the solar panels narrowly beat out using wind power but they were worried about the wind encountered at such high velocities and the possibility of killing birds.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

I'm a big fan of some of the people who work there. Their heart is truly in the right place. I'm not a fan at all of the company or their chocolate. It is now owned by Emil Capitol which is a huge investment group with literally billions of dollars behind them.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

It is easy to blame the middle men. It is depressing to me when I see various products in the store and I know what everybody down the line is making. For example, with candy (which chocolate is -- at least in mind of the stores product buyers), the wholesale price is 50% of the retail. Distributors take an additional 20-30% of what is left. That's a lot (and not much left for the manufacturer such as myself). There are all sorts of other costs along the way including packaging which is way more expensive than you'd think. This doesn't just have to do with the food industry but every industry. Unfortunately, if you want your products on the shelves, that is simply what it costs to get it there. Many of the people along the way (such as the distributors) do provide a function. Most stores don't want to work directly with the factory for each and every product they sell and it allows them to consolidate shipping. So while it costs, they do provide value. While we make very good chocolate, it certainly isn't a cash cow in terms of a business --- and part of it is because of the hidden costs on what it takes to get your product to the shelf.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

There is a grinder called a "Santha" which works well for small batches of chocolate. It is actually an Indian spice grinder but it works. They are kinda expensive though ($500) so you need to be pretty committed to take it up as a hobby. It produces about 2-4lbs at a time. Takes one to three days.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

Our factory is in Orem. We have a "store" but most of what we do is wholesale to gourmet grocery stores or high-end chefs so our store is open when we are there doing the shipping. Often we are over in the next building (which isn't open to the public) where we are actually making the chocolate.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

I'm not celebrating Hershey's. I don't eat the stuff. But, he did lower the price by adding sugar and milk (and hence removing the cocoa). This made chocolate available to a wider range of people than it had been available to previously. At the same time, he commoditized chocolate which makes it hard for people to understand the immense amount of labor involved and to have them pay enough so that the farmers can be paid as well as they perhaps should be to maintain cocoa as a viable crop.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

Well, part of that has to do with the fact that Hershey's doesn't taste particularly good. I wouldn't pay $2-3 for it either. I agree with the other response using the McDonald's burger analogy. At the same time, there is certainly room in the market for a $6-$10 burger. Yes, they don't sell in the same volume as McDonalds but the customer gets a whole lot more, it tastes better, is better for you, and the ingredients are typically a lot better quality and probably sourced from farmers who care a lot more about what they are doing. If Hershey's tasted better, it would probably be worth the additional few $$$.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

My focus as a chocolate maker is about quality. If you want to produce a quality product (as opposed to a low priced product), you have to be willing to pay what it takes to get the ingredients, materials, and skills that it takes to get it to all happen. Not everything about being a capitalist is about paying the very least -- it is about paying what it takes to get what you want. If you overpay, you are out of business. If you underpay, you won't get what you need and your product will probably suck one or more ways. That is just how the world works.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

There isn't much monopoly that I've ever seen. There are some huge chocolate traders and companies out there. Many have the resources to create hedges so that the market doesn't affect them in the same way it does smaller producers. However, the chocolate business is pretty competitive. There are many brokers and in country cocoa traders. If one cocoa trader isn't paying the farmers as much as another, the farmers will switch. The farmers are typically poor so they don't feel as tied to loyalty as they might otherwise and they follow the price paid. The bigger problem is simply that Hershey's (as an example) has a low-end chocolate bar that they have to run all the ingredients and final products through the supply chain all to have a bar that is $1.00 (or so --- I don't keep track of their price as I don't eat the stuff) by the time it reaches the final customer. This means that they can only offer a price so high to make the numbers work.

So it is about educating the customer so that they will pay more. We (as a company) try to help educate the farmers and help them increase the quality of their cocoa. (Most of the world's cocoa is amazingly poor quality). If the farmers increase the quality of their cocoa, they can charge more. Hopefully, we will get to buy it when they do improve the quality. With good quality cocoa, the farmers can always charge less if they choose or if they have to. With poor quality cocoa, they can never charge more. Quality provides options for the farmers and in my experience really helps improve the self image of the farmers which is an amazing thing to see.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

That's why I said follow the quality. You can't get good quality beans without paying a premium price to the farmers. There is nothing stopping someone from selling crap for way too much though. If the quality is good, the farmers were paid more (and sometimes much more) than they'd be paid otherwise. If the quality isn't good, they might or might not have been paid well.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

I'd look to some of the European manufacturers -- primarily Michel Cluizel, Pralus, Amedei, Domori, Fris-Holm, Valrhona (as I mentioned above they don't use as good cocoa as they used to -- I consider it the bottom of what I'll actually eat). A lot of these would probably only be available in your gourmet / specialty food stores but are well worth seeking out.

about 2 months ago
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MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

pollarda Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (323 comments)

Funny ....

Actually, Hershey's does taste like baby vomit. When Hershey's started, they'd ship in the milk by rail car. By the time that it got to Hershey's (which wasn't that long actually), it had started to spoil. This would create butyric acid -- the primary acid in vomit and is responsible for much of vomits flavor. Today, it isn't made with spoiled milk and the butyric acid is made by treating the milk with enzymes.

So yes, it does taste like baby vomit. Good call. I do have to ask though .... How do you know what baby vomit tastes like??? ;-)

about 2 months ago

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