Monday, January 5, 2009

Review of The Chocolate Life - Online Social Network

Have an idea in mind and need some help executing it? Want to learn more about a chocolate making technique? If you don't have anybody to ask, there are several online chocolate forums and communities where you can post questions and get others to answer. One of the up and coming social networks that you should check out is The Chocolate Life.

The Chocolate Life is a relatively new community for "chocophiles, and aspiring chocophiles". Started by Clay Gordon approximately a year ago, the chocolate community has grown to over 700 members. Clay Gordon is the author of Discover Chocolate: The Ultimate Guide to Buying, Tasting, and Enjoying Fine Chocolate, a book focusing on chocolate appreciation. He has been researching chocolate since 1994 and has worked as a professional chocolate critic since 2001. He has appeared on radio and TV, and has written/contributed articles to major newspapers and magazines. Clay also plan eco-adventures and tours for chocolate lovers who want to know even more about chocolate.

The site is social networked based and has a budding forum that I highly recommend. I have posed questions that were answered by Clay very promptly. Where he did not know the answer, he went above and beyond to find the answer for me.

Some of the things you will find at the site besides the forum are a chocolate events calander, member photos, and group discussions. There are currently four groups: Startup Central; NerdZone; HomeBrew Chocolate; and The Chocolate Swap. Startup Central is for people who want information about getting into the chocolate business. NerdZone is all about cacao and chocolate chemistry. HomeBrew Chocolate is for those who make chocolate at home(actually make chocolate, as opposed to just working with chocolate). Lastly, The Chocolate Swap is for members who want to trade chocoaltes.

In addition to offering information, home brewers can also buy cocoa beans from Clay. His offerings and prices (10 lbs) are:

Origin: Ecuador
Ecuadorian Nacional cocoa beans. $90.00.
Ecuadorian CCN-51 cocoa beans $85.00.

Origin: Venezuela
Venezuelan Carenero cocoa beans $90.00.
Venezuelan Rio Caribe cocoa beans $90.00.
Venezuelan Sur del Lago cocoa beans $87.50.
Venezuelan Tucani cocoa beans $90.00.

Origin: Dominican Republic
Organic Hispaniola-grade beans from the Dominican Republic $90.00.
Hispaniola-grade beans from the Dominican Republic $85.00.
Sanchez-grade beans from the Dominican Republic $82.50.

Other Origins
Nicaraguan cocoa beans $85.00.
Cocoa beans from Papua New Guinea $85.00.
Cocoa beans from Ghana $85.00.
Cocoa beans from the Ivory Coast $82.50.
Organic Panamanian cocoa beans $85.00.
Organic cocoa beans from Madagascar's Sambirano Valley $100.00.

Specialty Beans: Organic
Organic Hispaniola-grade beans from the Dominican Republic $90.00.
Organic Panamanian cocoa beans $85.00.
Organic cocoa beans from Madagascar's Sambirano Valley $100.00.

All and all, I think this is a great site that I would highly recommend you visit. I wish good things for Clay as I know he has worked very hard to put this community together.

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