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March 7, 2007

Single Origin Chocolate Brands On the Rise

An article that appeared last month in the New York Times has been on my mind for awhile: the new must-have chocolate is the “single origin” variety - sometimes called “exclusive-derivation” or “plantation” or “estate” chocolate.

single_origin_chocolate.jpgSpecial chocolate from exclusive cacao bean harvests are called “grand cru” and we are told to be sensitive about the chocolate's “terroir.” The interest has not waned and the agreed upon term for this ultra-high end chocolate is “single origin” chocolate which even has Hershey’s responding.

What I am seeing, of course, is wine appreciation terms filtering into the world of chocolate product naming, something that seems to happening as well in the world of coffee - where different camps are bitterly fighting over the supremacy of “blended” vs. “single origin” java. Single malt whiskies, of course, are the top end of the class as well, and attract the same class of pernickety consumers. Winemakers, of course, are finicky about “single vineyard” wines.

single-vineyard-wines.jpgBut now, we can actually get “hot chocolate with terroir” - yes, that's right, you can have hot chocolate tasting in exclusive lounges. Single origin only, please, and hold the whipped cream.

There is obviously something about that word “single,” which reminds me of the word “unique” and “one of a kind.” Kodak, for instance, doesn’t have a new “disposable” camera, instead it has a new “single use” camera. You can even buy a Single-Bottle Wine Cellar.

kodak_single_use.gifI have written before about the recent rise of high-end chocolate brand names. Now, the industry has widely taken the rarified naming of regions and tastes direct from the wine appreciation vocabulary, making it possible for the real chocolate lover to go from being a gourmand to a gourmet.

Great news for all chocolate lovers.

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Posted by William Lozito at March 7, 2007 9:11 AM
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