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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 8:07 pm
Posts: 328
Dave,

Luckily, I haven't noticed any inconsistency in the chocolates or cocoa powders I've been using on a regular basis. The Valrhona I tried was repackaged from Whole Foods, and I wonder if that affected the taste. I bought it there, since I could try a small amount and not have to spend an arm and a leg on their usual 2.2 lbs.

Which chocolates or cocoa powders have been the most inconsistent in your experience?

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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
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Location: Chico, CA
Dave and Meryl, Thank you so much for both the reviews and explanations. Some folks in tobb liked Penzey's which is why I tried it, can only get Hershey's here, so I have to order online and try to avoid shipping costs. I can only get the Scharffenberger at a fancy cookware store which luckily is not close since I always end up buying more than I intended when I go. I am saving these reviews for when I have to buy cocoa again. Since I have that huge container of Rodelle (dutched) I do not plan to buy any soon. I will pull out all I have and try to organize it so I will use the not so great stuff when combined with other chocolate.

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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 9:34 pm 
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Cubangirl wrote:
Dave and Meryl, Thank you so much for both the reviews and explanations. Some folks in tobb liked Penzey's which is why I tried it, can only get Hershey's here, so I have to order online and try to avoid shipping costs. I can only get the Scharffenberger at a fancy cookware store which luckily is not close since I always end up buying more than I intended when I go. I am saving these reviews for when I have to buy cocoa again. Since I have that huge container of Rodelle (dutched) I do not plan to buy any soon. I will pull out all I have and try to organize it so I will use the not so great stuff when combined with other chocolate.


Alina,

I've heard some good things about Rodelle, although, I've never tried it.

Good idea to use the so-so cocoa powder with chocolate - the combination of the two enhances the intensity/depth. Espresso powder is also great to boost chocolate flavor, and I almost always use it in my chocolate/cocoa recipes.

I don't remember where you're located, but if you can find Saco cocoa powder in your area (it's very hard to find), try it out! It's very inexpensive, about $4.00 for 10 oz, and is a combination of Dutched and Natural cocoa powders. I like it a lot.

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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:21 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:05 pm
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Location: Chico, CA
Thanks, I live in about 170 miles from SF, in Northern CA, Chico ("the place where you find Velveeta in the gourmet section according to the late Herb Caen, but in fairness were are also home to Sierra Nevada and Lundberg Rice). I'll look for Saco in the one shop that carries specialty flours, etc., since I never looked for cocoa there.

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Last edited by Cubangirl on Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:33 am 
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Cubangirl wrote:
Thanks, I live in Northern CA, Chico ("the place where you find Velveeta in the gourmet section according to the late Herb Caen). I'll look for Saco in the one shop that carries specialty flours, etc., since I never looked for cocoa there.


You can check out their locations at their site. Unfortunately, their cocoa powder is sold in very few markets - Their powdered buttermilk, on the other hand (have never tried it), is widely available. A friend of mine actually had to send me the cocoa powder from AK! She was the only one I knew who could find it in one of her local stores.
http://sacofoods.com/products/view/premium-cocoa

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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:44 am 
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Location: Chico, CA
We do have a WinCo, so I my try there, thanks for the link.

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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:18 am 
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I ordered a bunch of cocoa from Lake Champlain chocolates for my holiday baking this year. Baking cocoa is one of those chocolate products that gets really hard to source if you are only buying fair trade. Equal Exchange is an easy brand to find, but it is decidedly mediocre. I'm not good at describing flavors, but I like the Lake Champlain cocoa better than most that I've had. It was particularly nice in cookies, but the hot chocolate mix I made was good, too. Their shipping prices were quite decent for a chocolatier.

Also, the Trader Joe's natural cocoa is growing on me. At first I thought it had an odd, funky taste, but I gave it another chance in different recipe. It did really well in CC's Wacky Cake. I think the first time I used it, it was the oil in the recipe that I was objecting to.


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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:33 pm
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Location: Northern California
I like green and black (whole foods), callebaut, and valrhona (which I got from chocosource).


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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:41 am 
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I discovered the Saco cocoa at my local Food 4 Less. It works quite well.


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 Post subject: Re: Cocoa Tasting
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:58 pm
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merstar wrote:
Dave,

Luckily, I haven't noticed any inconsistency in the chocolates or cocoa powders I've been using on a regular basis. The Valrhona I tried was repackaged from Whole Foods, and I wonder if that affected the taste. I bought it there, since I could try a small amount and not have to spend an arm and a leg on their usual 2.2 lbs.

Which chocolates or cocoa powders have been the most inconsistent in your experience?

Surprisingly, I really haven't noticed any irregularity in the same brands of chocolate, as I have in cocoa. However, Droste is the only brand I have found changes in - I first noticed this many years ago, when I got some to refill a container, and when I dumped it in, it was incredibly lighter in color, and the taste was definitely not what it had been. This was about the time (early to mid 90's?) I started seeing Droste everywhere, including supermarkets, so I wondered if they were bought out and just weren't the same cocoa anymore, I didn't worry about it, because that was about the time I discovered Mercken's (DeZaan) at KAF, which was the best natural cocoa I had found. Other changes were from places like Penzey's, so I figured they simply changed their source, due to price increase, or something like that. Valrhona must be variable, though I will not buy it again to find out.

BTW, I found that Saco's cocoa at Amazon, and was tempted to buy some, but resisted. When I need some, I'll get that, and maybe some DeZaan, since it has been years since I had that.

BTW, I did another test - some brownie bites. I didn't use any of the top or bottom rated, as I didn't have much left of the cocoa rouge, and didn't want to waste ingredients on the Hershey's. I just took an old recipe that used cocoa, divided it by four (to use one egg), and measured out 15g of each cocoa, along with 1.1 oz flour, and mixed them each into 1/4 of the egg, sugar, butter, and vanilla slurry. The bergenfeld was lightest before cooking, as expected, but they were almost identical looking when baked (obviously, not my normal brownies, with all that chocolate and butter in them! :mrgreen:). The Bensdorp came out on top, the KAF was OK, with none of that vegetal taste in the hot cocoa, the Guitard had a weird instant taste when I bit into them, which disappeared, but they still weren't anything great. And the Bergenfield was, again, like milk chocolate.
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