Friday, March 23, 2007

Global Chocolate Blogs

I am not alone. Food writers, fondeurs, and fanatics are blogging about chocolate the world over. Of the dozens of blogs dedicated specifically to the fruit of the cacao tree, I have a collection that I read (or intend to read) regularly:

Bittersweet: Maintained by the erudite owners of the Bay Area cafe of the same name, the blog turns literary, cultural, and scientific references into savvy meditations on chocolate at Bittersweet and beyond.

The Chocolate Nerd: Classy New York-based writer and illustrator Imani Powell keeps here eyes peeled for artisanal Easter eggs, St. Patrick's beer bon bons, and the like. There's nothing nerdy about it.

Chocolate Obsession: This obsessional world of chocolate is reliable, accessible, and extensive. The site is regularly updated and the articles (most recently touching on chocolate-coated Altoids and Easter-time animal rights for rabbits) are always current. Blogger William Kinder (otherwise known as normyk) has penned a very revealing bio: "I have a rabbit. I play games. I read comics. I watch anime. I eat chocolate. Not much more to tell."

Exploring Chocolate: The author(s) can be tight-lipped about personal information, but all the right elements are there: childhood exposure to Ghirardelli, work experience at an organic co-op, and a handful of years in Mexico and Central America. Posts fall into five categories: Chocolate and Nature, History of Chocolate, Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate, Random Chocolate Info, and Resources and Links.

An Occasional Chocolate: Candy-making teacher Cheryl Sandberg dispenses recipes for the likes of white chocolate macadamia bark, chocolate panna cotta, and chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.

The Pod at Seventy Percent: London-based chocolate think-tank Seventy Percent provides an overwhelming amount of information on its website. A good place to start is the editor's blog, where chocolate purist Martin Christy explores everything from the best way to open a cacao pod at home to confectionery marketing schemes at Marks & Spencer.

The Republic of Chocolate: Pastry chef Carlos Coronado's bilingual blog, with its lush content and design, could hardly be better suited to the subject matter. Recent posts touch on the International Cocoa Initiative and Porcelana Cacao.

The World Cocoa Foundation Blog: WCF president Bill Guyton, with help from colleagues like agricultural researcher Bob Lumsden and education expert Charlie Freezel, discusses international cacao practices and policies. His articles are thorough and incredibly valuable--but they're not objective. The World Cocoa Foundation (which investigative journalist Carol Off refers to as "big chocolate's philanthropic front") is less an NGO than an industry organization and sometime PR outlet for member companies like Kraft, Hershey, and Nestle (as well as smaller enterprises like Chocolove and See's Candies).

Reminder: The deadline for Sugar High Friday #29: Raw Chocolate is in three days.


Blogger Carlos Coronado said...

Emily I just want to say thanks! for that nice comment about my blog. Good comments like those make me do a better job. Thanks a lot and I am a follower of your blog too!

Carlos Coronado

2:59 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Carlos Coronado said...

Emily i just want to say Thanks! for such nice comment about my blog. Good comments like those make me work harder, Thanks a lot!! and congratulations for such great blog and a follower!

Carlos Coronado

3:06 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Truffle said...

What a brilliant list! Thanks for putting it together.

7:44 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's how to make delicious chocolate covered strawberries. First of all ensure that the strawberries you are intending to use are dry, then allow them to be room temperature warm prior to making them. After the strawberries have been covered in chocolate, put them in your refrigerator to cool, but do not store them in the fridge. Consume within 1-2 days.

6:34 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Emily. First of all, great job on the blog. Thank you for including the World Cocoa Foundation in the listings. We appreciate your comment that the articles are thorough. I would, however, disagree that the information is biased. The World Cocoa Foundation represents 60 companies, of all sizes, origins, and interests, who share the goal of improving conditions for cocoa growing communities. The programs we support are implemented in partnership with the US, European, and African governments, as well as international and local NGOs and researchers. In addition, several member companies are also supporting separate projects on the ground.

My background includes living several years in Africa, working for the Peace Corps, USAID, OECD and other agricultural development organizations. My assessment is that the challenges facing cocoa and tree crops farmers are significant. They include the need for better disease and pest management, farmer credit, infrastructure, marketing improvements, farmer organizational support, child labor awareness/prevention, access to education, to name a few.

I am pleased to represent an organization that is working to address these constraints, through private and public partnerships. If anything, more companies should be encouraged to join and support these efforts.

Our current strategy in West Africa is to reach over 150,000 small scale cocoa farmers in the next five years. Five years ago, there were around less than 5,000 cocoa farmers who were benefiting from these programs in West Africa.

Kind regards,

Bill Guyton

9:33 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to introduce you to a new chocolate blog on the block:

The Chocolistas

Check it out!

10:06 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

11:22 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:55 AM GMT-5  

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