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Comment: Re:Cocoa is also disgusting without sugar (Score 1) 224

by pollarda (#48743459) Attached to: Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You
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.

Comment: Re:Still useful research (Score 4, Informative) 224

by pollarda (#48743443) Attached to: Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You
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.

Comment: Re:Still useful research (Score 5, Informative) 224

by pollarda (#48743409) Attached to: Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You
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.

Comment: Re:Still useful research (Score 5, Interesting) 224

by pollarda (#48743387) Attached to: Beware Headlines Saying Chocolate Is Good For You
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.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 2) 323

by pollarda (#48398799) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
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.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 1) 323

by pollarda (#48398717) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
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.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 1) 323

by pollarda (#48398673) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
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.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 1) 323

by pollarda (#48398643) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
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.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 3, Insightful) 323

by pollarda (#48398629) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate
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 $$$.

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