Amy Guittard tastes chocolates and guesses which ones are more expensive.

Comments
No. 1-12
DiscoverChoc
DiscoverChoc

Editor

@Choklat - Brad, absolutely yes. If we start a conversation on aging it will go in a story of its own. I will even set up different stories - one on aging beans, one on aging chocolate/liquor, and a separate one on aromatizing (“aging” nib in a vessel to impart specific flavors).

Choklat
Choklat

Clay, you should set up a seperate thread on it. It would be interesting to get feedback on different types of aging - for example aging nibs in an environment such as what To'ak does, vs aging the finished chocolate.

DiscoverChoc
DiscoverChoc

Editor

I would love to have a much longer conversation on aging. It's a question that comes up quite often in many different forums and the amount of actual sound research on the topic seems to be quite small – especially when compared with wine.

Choklat
Choklat

I'm sorry Clay. I have to agree with you when it comes to how people value certain items. When money is no longer an object of significance to someone, their view of discretionary purchases changes significantly.

That being said, I think there's a threshold of what's reasonable even to those with money. Take Remy Martin XO Cognac for example. It's aged between 10 and 37 years, and it's retail price is approximately 10 times what a common variety of cognac would sell for. Their Louis XIII cognac is aged for a minimum of 40 years and yes, it's 120 times the price of a regular bottle of cognac, but then again the overhead of a huge warehouse and staff for 40 years is a VERY significant undertaking! A lot can happen in 40 years. For some people it's their entire lifetime. To'ak on the other hand is asking for a valuation of more than 100 times the price of a common chocolate bar, without the overhead, and using a common variety of beans while doing so!

Sniff... sniff... Smells like Noka..... (except that To'ak makes the chocolate whooop de doo!) Say them quickly together, and they do sound similar though.... Haha!

@sebastian: I think the aging of nibs in different mediums to infuse different flavours is an interesting prospect too - VERY interesting actually. At the end of the day there still has to be value though...

Sebastian
Sebastian

So I'd conducted a study of aging chocolate over 8 years, with the intent of positing it alongside a wine from the same region, same harvest year, and presenting it as a series from year 1 - year 8, using the exact same formula and processing conditions. It's really interesting how the flavors change over time, and the packaging was incredibly important to how the flavors presented. Far be it from me to say if it's worth it or not - worth, after all, is simply an expression of what someone's willing to pay for something.

When doing this, however, one needs to factor in the storage costs and money that's tied up in inventory. If you're aging it for 8 years, that means you've got capital invested that won't have a profit realized on it for almost a decade - so the return on that investment needs to be considered. Plus it has to be stored in controlled conditions - meaning there's a cost associated with that.

For me - it's a very interesting idea - especially when paired with a wine from the same regions, and presented in a fashion that allows you to taste it as a 'flight' over time. It also, almost by definition of the carrying costs associated with it - needs to be positioned as a premium product. While I've forgotten the margin assessment associated with doing this, the margins aren't as high as one might expect given the retail costs - due to the carrying costs.