Thursday, March 6, 2008

Special Delivery!

Mmmmm! These arrived in the mail today. I ordered them from Fran's Chocolates in Seattle, WA. I read about Fran's in a book I recently got called The Chocolate Companion:

It's a cool little book. I'm actually reading the text and not just looking at the pictures and the star-ratings. It teaches a little about the history of chocolate, how it's produced, how to appreciate it, and then what's good. It has a directory of many of the best chocolatiers in the world. I have vowed to try samples from as many of them as possible. Fran's got a 4-star rating (out of 5 total). The four stars stand for the very best quality available.

Just so you all know, Godiva got one of the lowest ratings in the book - barely above Lindt & Sprungli's 1-star rating (good for mass-produced).

I once went to a chocolate tasting class where we learned about the ingredients in chocolate and how to distinguish the good from the bad. We did blind taste tests. We didn't know what brands we were tasting until after we discussed which were the good and which were the bad. After we all agreed on which was the worst the brand was revealed. Guess what? It was Godiva. You can taste just how bad it is when you compare it side to side (blindly) with other chocolates.

Then we compared ingredients once all the manufacturers were revealed. Chocolate, we were told, should have differing quantities of five basic ingredients: the beans (which differ in flavor and quality), cocoa butter, sugar, vanilla, and soy lecithin (an emulsifier). Godiva skimps on it's ingredients. It doesn't even use real vanilla and then charges an arm and a leg for a crappy bonbon.

Last year I read about how the FDA, regulator of the chocolate industry, was going to lower standards. Chocolate lovers were outraged. You can read the story and about the petition on the FDA here:,0,2342362.story?coll=la-home-commentary

Going back on subject, I can't wait to try my chocolates. But I will wait to write about my experience until I get to taste each type. For now, I will offer a simple, beautiful picture.

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