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Chloé Doutre-Roussel may be the ultimate chocolate snob. The highly respected French chocolate authority and author of The Chocolate Connoisseur stopped by the Food & Wine offices and shared her highly opinionated thoughts on which countries are excelling (and slacking) at producing quality chocolate, as well as a list of the world’s best chocolate shops. She also gave us an update on her own new line of chocolate, Chocolatea , harmonious duets of fine teas and chocolates, and the fruit of her two-year-long collaboration with a Bolivian cocoa growers coop, El Ceibo. (I was lucky enough to get to taste El Ceibo’s 71% dark chocolate bar—an intense, earthy chocolate with notes of wood and a bit of acidity.)
We seem to be having a chocolate moment with tiny bean-to-bar producers popping up around the world. Is this a good thing?
“On average, if you look at quality, chocolate was better three years ago than it is now. More brands are selling bad chocolate. This threat is forcing the good brands to invest more in marketing rather than quality. We have more chocolate-makers and fewer real chocolatiers.”
What is the difference between a chocolate-maker and a chocolatier?
“A chocolatier works from the bean. A chocolate maker buys couverture [a candymaker's chocolate, especially high in cocoa butter].”
Can you tell us about El Ciebo, the line of chocolate that you helped produce?
“I work with a coop in La Paz, Bolivia that uses organic beans. Bolivian farmers and their families harvest and process the beans and produce the chocolate. The line debuted last year at Salon du Chocolat in Paris and hit shelves in France, Germany and Sweden in March. I’m anticipating a U.S. debut by early fall.”
Tomorrow, I’ll post Chloé’s thoughts on why France is still untouchable when it comes to quality chocolate.