FCCI Chocolate Conservatory 2019, Paris

FCCI Chocolate Conservatory

Hello my chocolate friends,  I am honored that I was invited to participate in the 2019 FCCI Chocolate Conservatory at the European Business School in Paris.  I'm connecting the dots and sharing a few of my notes.

Connecting the dots...

There were attendees from 30 countries around the globe.  Cacao farmers, distributors, chocolate makers, bloggers, shop owners, educators, authors, and academics from top universities were all in attendance.  People from different backgrounds and areas of expertise gives opportunity for discussions with a broad perspective.

Connecting with people face to face is usually the most valuable experience for me at these types of events, and that was also true at this event.  It is amazing how small the world becomes when you find other people who share your passion all around the planet.  Watch for more in depth posts about some of those people on my other social media accounts (Finding Fine Chocolate and Barbie Van Horn).  Because none of us can travel all of the time, I would love to continue the conversations with those in our cacao/chocolate world by connecting online.  Would you be interested in recording an online video chat?

Notes on the theme The Responsibility of Taste:

Business of Responsibility.  Companies making chocolate in the country of origin with respect for social issues and the environment is on the rise.  Two examples we heard from are Dengo Chocolates (Brazil) and Republica Del Cacao (Ecuador).   I think that we will see this trend continue in the future with more companies and I'm happy that we have examples that will pave the way to inspire others to begin.

Cocoa bean, hand peeled, caramelized, and chocolate covered by Dengo Chocolates

High tech methods are being developed for both tasting notes and consumer identification.  

Mass spectrometers are now being used to determine which compounds relating to different flavors occur in specific cacao or chocolate.  I'm not sure how this will translate to the art that the artisan chocolate maker can apply through personal processes in very small batch craft chocolate, but it will be interesting to see how these methods may change interest in cacao beans that test positive for specific flavors.

Large chocolate companies are developing apps that measure consumer response to questions as well as a psychological understanding of the response based on how fast the consumer responds to a question.  The intent is to help direct consumers toward chocolate that they will favor and help companies determine which chocolate the consumer will ultimately purchase vs which chocolate the consumer thinks they "should" purchase.

Luxury and taste.  Interesting presentations on both the coffee and champagne markets, comparing how consumers use both common and luxury brands.  The key point I found interesting is how consumers will use both everyday products and luxury products, however not in the same situation.  As an industry it is very important to understand those situations and make sure the consumer is aware of products that will fit into their every day lives as well as products for very special occasions.   Storytelling is important.

More consumer education.  The BIG take away for me, every part of the industry thinks we need more consumer education.  Hearing this made my heart fill with joy at the thought that my passion for chocolate tastings, continual talk about palate training/sensory development, and attempts to create a larger craft chocolate loving community are truly valued.

I'd like to say a special thank you to FCCI, and especially to Dr. Carla Martin, José López Ganem for all of your time spent bringing these resources together and creating this event and these conversations.

As usual, in trying to keep things brief I've just skimmed the surface. I'd love your comments, conversation, and feedback.  If you would like more info or specific information on the presenters, I'd be happy to help make those connections.



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