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Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/01/2011 10:32 PM

We got hooked on good chocolate after a trip to Brugges, Belgium, where we discovered the Chocolate Line store. Yum! Alas, they don't ship to the U.S.

Since then, we've tried Leonidas and other high-quality chocolate suppliers, and we're staggered by the prices. Why does good chocolate cost so dang much?

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#1

Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/01/2011 10:39 PM

1. Because people buy it and are willing to pay those premium prices.

2. Cocoa is not cheap and will be getting more expensive as demand increases.

We always buy good dark chocolates. My feeling is I would rather have a little good chocolate than copious amounts of mediocre chocolate.

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/01/2011 10:51 PM

Thanks for the nearly instantaneous response. However, that doesn't explain why it is so dang expensive. Gotta be more to it than that.

I'd also like to know what you think is a good chocolate. The Chocolate Line in Brugges spoiled us, and nothing has come close since. I even asked a buddy, who was going to the Belgian GP, to stop off in Brugges and pick us up a box. Yum...

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#5
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Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/02/2011 7:36 AM

Gosh, I am sure the local stuff we get is not that good. Actually, it is imported from Belgium, but that doesn't mean it is the best that they make.

Another source can be from local chocolatiers. There are a few that really know their trade and make some very good stuff.

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#8
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Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/02/2011 8:07 AM

I did find a local chocolatier and, as you say, it is quite good. Just bloody expensive. Not everything imported from Belgium is so good. Godiva chocolates, for example: When in Brussels, there was a Leonidas chocolate store across the street from a Godiva store--the Leonidas store was jammed, while the Godiva store was empty. Shows what the locals think of Godiva. Leonidas does export to the U.S., so we've been buying chocolate from their web site.

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#22
In reply to #3

Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/03/2011 8:17 AM

Probably it has something to do with the hugh taxes in my country.

I think Belgium has the fourth highest taxes of Europe.....

Gasoline is also expensive here 1 US gallon costs +/- 6.93 USD

(1 liter = 1.33 EUR)

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#2

Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/01/2011 10:48 PM

If this is true, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Cocoa blight causes chocolate chaos - Daily Finance UK

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#4
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Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/01/2011 10:54 PM

Yikes! Gettin' like truffles!

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#43
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Re: Why does good chocolate cost so much?

02/04/2011 6:10 PM

Hmm interesting cocoa, a indigenous Central American plant is grown mostly in African, and Bananas, an indigenous Asian fruit, are grown in South America. I wonder what they moved from Africa to Asia. No wonder they are having blights.

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#6

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 7:50 AM

In the late 1990's I made a number of trips to Brussels for work. I, too, quickly appreciated the fantastic chocolate. On one of my trips we took a day excursion up to Brugges. I have quite fond memories of those years.

Regarding the expense of good chocolate: According to this source (wisegeek) , "What makes Belgian chocolate unique is the quality of ingredients and an almost fanatical adherence to Old World manufacturing techniques. Even in today's world of automation and mass production, most Belgian chocolate is still made by hand in small shops using original equipment."

So if it's handmade, I imagine the labor costs would be a significant percentage of the cost. Furthermore, I don't think labor in Belgium is cheap inexpensive.

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#7

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 7:54 AM

Because if it was cheap then people wouldn't want to buy it.

  • According to rumour, Jaguar Cars had a similar problem with sales in Japan. The product just wan't selling. The reason was the perceived value of the product; it wasn't seen as a premium brand. The solution to the particular challenge of increasing sales, was to increase the prices on this occasion, so as to cash-in on the snob value that the high price attracted.

"There is always something in the world that some man can make a little worse, and sell a little cheaper. Those who consider price only are this man's lawful prey." - with apologies to John Ruskin.

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#9

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 9:34 AM

strife in chocolate producing country's, I believe the ivory coast is one of them.

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#10

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 6:00 PM

Because it can be used to bribe fat people?

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#11
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 6:50 PM

Correction...it can be used to bribe fat people. My wife gets me to do a lot by offering chocolate....or withholding ...nevermind.

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#12

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 10:37 PM

I agree with Phoenix911. Read the news about the political unrest in Ivory Coast. Exports of Cocoa have dropped dramatically and thus less availability of raw product.

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#13

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/02/2011 10:41 PM

You usually pay a premium for quality products. Chocolates also make very nice gifts. We have two local chocolate shops (a suburb of Sydney, Australia) who make chocolates by hand and win many awards. They charge $83.50 per kilo. They also come in creative shapes. My wife loves the liquors. I thought they were expensive, but a similar shop in my home town charges $120 per kilo and another in Brisbane charges $150 per kilo. We buy the local chocolates for special occasions like birthdays, Christmas and Easter. They also sell to local restaurants, where you expect to pay more. For every day chocolates we buy Cadbury's or Nestle's which may have 250g blocks for about $4 - and they are very tasty too!

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#17
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 4:37 AM

You would like this shop. They hand make chocolate creations. They also have a cafe where you can drink dark, milk or white chocolate whilst eating their range of chocolate cakes.

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#14

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 12:30 AM

Hi!

Are you hooked to 'Brugges' chocolate because it is good or good and cost less, both? Why do you rate the local chocolate poor, because it is not good or not good and cost more?

The chocolate taste is a subjective issue. What you may not prefer, others may still like it. However, value of money is the same for everybody.

So, what actually bothers you is the price of local chocolate. If majority of the chocolate eating population finds the price not worth the chocolate, the basic principles of economics will take their own course, and you may not have to lament the price.

Mahess

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#15
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 1:54 AM

I'm hooked on Brugges chocolate because it is the best I ever had. Cost has nothing to do with it. Our local chocolate is very good, but not as good as Brugges. If the Chocolate Line shop in Brugges exported to the U.S., I'd buy all my chocolate from them.

My question was, why is all good chocolate so expensive?

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#52
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/09/2011 6:59 AM

Chocolate is made from Cacao, which is farmed very labour intensively and usually in extremely difficult mountainous terrain - it's very difficult to get good cacao beans to market. Then the quality of the beans varies enormously - just as any other agricultural product.

Cacao is expensive. Milk, fat and sugar are cheap. So cheap chocolate is usually about 12% to 25% cacao and the rest milk, fat and sugar. It is also made with the lowest quality cacao which is bought cheaply in large quantities.

Good quality chocolate has a cacao content of 50% or up to 90% if you're a real (connoisseur). It is made to taste of cacao, not of milk, fat and sugar. Therefore the best quality cacao is used, which is expensive (and only available in small quantities).

Lastly, the production method is very labour intensive and slow. Cheap chocolate is run through the process quickly without much thought to the roasting, refining and cooking processes. Good chocolate is run through in small batches with lots of checking and testing. It is made into chocolate when the chocolatier believes it has been processed to perfection.

So you pay more for all the above reasons, and also because once you have eaten good chocolate, you realise that cheap chocolate tastes like sugar mixed with something that came out of a cow (and not at milking time).

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#16

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 1:58 AM

It is more profitable to grow other crops. As coco farms need to be replanted periodically, they are opting for higher value crops. It's just economics.

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#18

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 5:10 AM

Was told this by a chocolate maker out of Italy... As with coffee, the quality of beans is important, but to make a better chocolate the degree of fineness to which the beans are ultimately ground is of prime importance. After initial grinding a paste is made which is then churned continuously letting the bean particles rub against themselves to further reduce their size to obtain an ever increasing smoothness in texture. The longer this process, the smoother the chocolate.

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#19

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 7:23 AM

You don't need to go so far for great chocolate I lived in Walpole NH. Theres a place called Burdick that simple the best. I think the cost is so high because the girls there are so beautiful. http://www.burdickchocolate.com/default.asp

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#20
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 7:50 AM

$60 a pound for an assortment is not too bad. Maybe I'll give them a try for Valentine's day. Thanks.

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#21

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 7:52 AM

I'll buy anything except Hershey's, since they moved to Mexico.

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#32
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 3:00 PM

Hershey's didn't move to Mexico; they *expanded* to Mexico. The Mexican plant mostly ships to overseas markets. Hershey chocolate sold in the U.S. is still made in the U.S. -- just read the package.

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#41
In reply to #32

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/04/2011 10:24 AM

Went to Hershey this past summer and bought some suvenier chocolates. Nursed them home to discover tin made in China, Chocolates in Mexico and assembled here in the US.

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#42
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/04/2011 11:58 AM

That's wild! All the Hershey stuff in my supermarket is made in PA -- but the factory itself sells souvenirs from the Mexico plant?? Bad PR move on their part, I'd say!

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#23

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 8:36 AM

The fermenting proccess and aging conditions and controls area dramtic cost additions. The stock beans are gown under strict condition and genetic control. The very best is noticably better in flavor and texture. The pricing is like the pricing of good cigars.

As for a godd quality for your money, go with Dove or Premium Hershey. My wife claims one labeled "Ice Cubes", is also superior.

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#24

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 9:15 AM

just make your own, buy some coco beans, oil, sugar, cream and wolla Chocolate.

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#25

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 10:24 AM

Quality Product = Quality Ingredients + Quality Process

Increasing Quality usually incurs Increasing Costs

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#26

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 11:05 AM

Are you talking about chocolate in it's purest form i.e. just a plain bar nothing added? Then this isn't normally that expensive.

Or are talking about chocolate that has been tarted up with all different types of filling and topping? If you are then your paying for the chocolatiers art and skill.

It's just the same with clothes, hair cuts etc. You go to your average Joes barber shop and you won't pay that much. But if you go to the so called designer saloon, frequented by the so called famous and, you pay through the nose.

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#29
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 12:12 PM

A plain bar of just chocolate (100% cocoa) is very expensive!

It is very very good and works wonders for cooking with but to eat i normally just go with Cadburys. Much more sugar and flavourings but it tastes fine!

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#27

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 11:27 AM

It is because really Good Chocolate comes from Heaven, and for some, that is a long way off. Others just can't get it.

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#28

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 12:08 PM

Because it is a luxury item and the market is willing to pay more for a perception of value, and good marketing efforts can increase that perceived value. Dang, just notice how for you just the use of key phrases like high quality generates a perceived increase in value. If it is from Europe, some people will perceive a higher value on that basis alone. True many times these valuations are not justified as they are not precise, accurate, quantifiable measures of quality, but peoples perception are fickle and often more emotionally based then factual.

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#30

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 12:24 PM

Relax..... everybody back in the pool, it was just a really good chocolate bar!

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#31

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 1:14 PM

It is not the good chocolate that is so expensive, it is the bad chocolate that is so cheap because it is full of sugar and contain little of real cocoa.

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#33

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 3:06 PM

Not only does Belgium make amazing chocolates, it is also a VERY civilized place. In Belgium, when you order a cup of coffee or tea, it arrives with two or three chocolates! I'm told they also make excellent beer, but I was too busy eating chocolates to try any beer at all...

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#34
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 3:11 PM

And their waffles aren't bad either.

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#35
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 3:48 PM

Belgium is one of those places that nobody goes to, because they are so busy going to London, Paris or Rome. We found Brussels to be fascinating and Brugges to be a wonder in both chocolate and ambience (Venice of the north! The movie, En Brugges, shows some of the most interesting places in Brugges amidst all the bloodshed).

To chocolate and waffles, I'd add Belgian mussels as being the best food of its kind in the world. A serving of mussels is an entire kilogram, served in a bucket! Yum! For a country to have three of the best food types in the entire world is pretty good.

Belgium also claims to have the best frites, but I prefer those from France--although Belgian frites are certainly excellent, especially those served in sidewalk kiosks.

Belgium is worth a visit.

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#36
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 3:59 PM

Oh, we didn't try the mussels!! Next time. :)

We spent a week in the old university town of Leuven; stayed in a 600 year old hotel, didn't need a car, and thoroughly enjoyed the ambiance, history, people, and food -- not necessarily in that order!

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#37

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 5:16 PM

Here's an answer as to why European chocolate is so expensive.

It's the time taken to make it. US and UK manufacturers [Hershey and Cadbury] only conch their chocolate for about 24 hours. Many European manufacturers conch for 72 hours - or three times as long !

The other major difference is the percentage of cocoa butter which is put in the mix. The greater percentage, the more expensive the end product..but oh what a taste! A lot less milk and fillers.

Have you tried other European brands like Ferrero Rocher, or Lindt or even Guylain? These are on supermarket shelves here in Australia. Even Nestle are putting out good dark chocolate - it's better for you, but they cheat having bought out other brands.

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#38
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 5:25 PM

What about Ghiradelli?

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#39
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/03/2011 5:34 PM

Haven't eaten that brand, despite having lived in 'Sacto' for five years in the late 70's.

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#40

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/04/2011 4:22 AM

Try the full range, see what you like.

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#44

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/06/2011 2:18 PM

accually, herseys chocolate as been rated as one of the best in the world. milk or dark. * who would have thunk.

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#45
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/06/2011 5:29 PM

"Hershey's chocolate as been rated as one of the best in the world. milk or dark". The brand is expanding outside of the US, so who were the voters?

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#46
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/06/2011 7:00 PM

It had to be a survey paid for by Hershey in the U.S. (1) As we all know in the marketing business, you always win your own surveys and (2) U.S. chocolate consumers have rarely been exposed to Belgian chocolates. So, I suspect that Hershey ran a blind taste test using the best Hershey chocolates against examples of the worst choclates they could find at Wal-Mart (all made in China, no matter the brand name).

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#47
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/07/2011 12:54 PM

I can't believe "Hersheys" is being mentioned in a discussion about 'good chocolate'!!! Give me soap to eat....

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#48
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/08/2011 4:06 AM

The only Hershey's I can get in the UK is in Reece's Peanut Cups. The wrapper says it's Hershey's & made in America, do you know if that is typical of Hershey's chocolate?

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#50
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/08/2011 3:52 PM

Are you asking whether Reese's is typical, or whether "Made in the USA" is typical?

Reese's peanut butter cups are very popular, but most folks don't think of it as Hershey's. The most "typical" Hershey's would probably be the milk chocolate bar with almonds.

According to what I can discover, 90% of Hershey's chocolate is still made in the USA. There are no longer any Canadian plants, but there is a plant in Mexico focused on "low value-added products and emerging markets" (according to Snopes).

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#51
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/08/2011 4:06 PM

Hmm, I usually think of almond joys or pay days when i think of hersheys. Oh or Hershey's Nuggets Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee and Almonds (those are addicting).

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#53
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/09/2011 7:08 AM

I just wondered if the chocolate used in the peanut cups is typical of Hershey's. It tastes OK although, of course, the overwhelming taste is peanut.

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#54
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Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/09/2011 10:25 AM

No, but my samples were taken a long time ago.

There are two basic types of chocolate Hershey produces (besides white, milk , and dark); one is the standard consumer grade stuff that is sold in mass. The other is a select version that is supposed to be of higher quality.

Most consumer grade chocolates (regardless of manufacture) are not going to be something that a connoisseur would rate very highly. They are made economically and made for mass manufacturing and consumption. They tend to be very sweet (too sweet for my taste).

I usually stay away from these now days and try to pick out better quality dark chocolates where possible. Like beer, I really don't consume a lot of it, so, like beer, I make it the best example I can find at the time.

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/09/2011 11:12 AM

I'm with you on the beer, quality rather than quantity. My chocolate tastes varies, dark Bournville is good but I also like white chocolate. Luckily we have a good range in the shops from the UK, Belgium & Switzerland, anything up to about 80% cocoa.

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/08/2011 4:46 AM

really, Hershey's is crap

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Power-User
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#56

Re: Why Does Good Chocolate Cost So Much?

02/21/2011 1:15 AM

Because people name it chocolate..try name it bean..it will cheap

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