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November 30, 2005

Starbucks and Fair Trade

This isn't a hot chocolate post, but after being alerted by green LA girl to Starbuck's mismatch between their policy and reality, I figured it's tangentially related. All you Fair Trade fans, go take the Starbuck's Challenge. I would, except for the fact that the last time I entered a Starbucks was months ago, and that was to indulge in the much ballyhooed Chantico.

November 27, 2005

Chocolate for the monied masses

The Washington Post has an article on the marketing of luxury chocolates.. On one hand, I'm happy with this trend since it leads to a lot of good chocolate being easily available. One the other hand, most of the luxury chocolates are over-priced and over-hyped, and taste excessively sweet. There are some that I do love, ridiculous price and all -- Vosges' chocolate bars come to mind. They are a wonderful balance of some very sense-ational flavors. However, some of the others, including Dove and Godiva, I find to be not so special seeing as they tend to emphasize sweetness over the taste of cocoa. It's the inherent weakness in mass marketing to the bourgeoise -- you tend to have to compromise down to the level of the Lowest Common Denominator (and no, mass marketing luxury chocolates is not a contradiction, just capitalism in action). In America, with chocolate, that means more sugar and less cocoa.

Even worse, IMO, than the perpetuation of the shoddy, sugary sweet version of chocolate is the fact that none of these luxury chocolate makers feel the need to use organic, sustainable or Fair Trade certified cocoa. If you are going to go for the bourgeois market and charge accordingly, at least put some of that money into ensuring that you are offering a product to your customers that everyone can feel good about!

Leaving aside such social and moral considerations, I would also be interested in knowing what cocoa varietals the luxury chocolates are being made from. I wonder if the vendors are going to the trouble and expense of using Criollo varietals or whether the luxury chocolates are being made from the same varietals as their poorer cousins.

November 12, 2005

Chocolate and the periodic table

I was playing around with my (useless but whimsical) Periodic Table Compliance script, and decided to try chocolate. I hit the jackpot -- apparently you can map the letters in chocolate to periodic table elements in 4 different ways. That's more than any other word that I've tried. Maybe I can start a whole new mystical pseudo-science around the study of periodic table compliance :-)

The given word can be mapped to element symbols as follows:

SymbolElement NameAtomic Weight
C Carbon 6
H Hydrogen 1
O Oxygen 8
C Carbon 6
O Oxygen 8
La Lanthanum 57
Te Tellurium 52
Average Atomic Weight:19.71
SymbolElement NameAtomic Weight
C Carbon 6
H Hydrogen 1
O Oxygen 8
Co Cobalt 27
La Lanthanum 57
Te Tellurium 52
Average Atomic Weight:25.17
SymbolElement NameAtomic Weight
C Carbon 6
Ho Holmium 67
C Carbon 6
O Oxygen 8
La Lanthanum 57
Te Tellurium 52
Average Atomic Weight:32.67
SymbolElement NameAtomic Weight
C Carbon 6
Ho Holmium 67
Co Cobalt 27
La Lanthanum 57
Te Tellurium 52
Average Atomic Weight:41.80

We found 4 way(s) to map the word to symbols.

November 09, 2005

Dagoba in DC

One of my favorite natural food stores, Roots, has just started selling the Dagoba Hot Chocolate mix ($5.59 a canister). As if that wasn't good enough, I found that they have also started carrying Green & Black's Organic Hot Chocolate Drink mix as well as Lake Champlain Organic Hot Chocolate mix. Of course, on the downside, I now have 4 more boxes of hot chocolate to consume. That....I can probably live with.

November 07, 2005

Back in Business

After a prolonged hiatus from blogging, I get to enjoy the pleasures of writing again. Thecombined pressures of work and a move to a new server left me with a non-functional blog and no time to fix it. Suffice it to say that I'm never going to be trusting Berkely DB ever again -- the software is a mass of confusion and the writers have never heard of backward compatibility. Gah.