Jump to content

The Noka Chocolate Scandal


giant shrimp
 Share

Recommended Posts

Interesting on many levels. I had never heard of Noka chocolate, and I'm now quite sure I'll never buy any.

Having looked at the Noka website and dug around a little, the company's whole schtick looks like such an obvious marketing construct. "Honey, I love you so much that for this Valentine's Day I have bought you the most expensive chocolate in the world! What? No, I loved you this much last year too. It's just that I didn't know about Noka chocolate, and I didn't know I could spend three times as much on chocolate. Had I known, I would have bought it for you then too! I would have put it in one of their keepsake gift boxes, too, because that makes the chocolate even more expensive!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm immediately struck by two thoughts:

"There's a sucker born every minute," and "this brings new meaning to the expression, 'Don't give me sh*t and call it chocolate.'"

I note I've never had the chocolate used by Noka and will trust the author's general assessment that it's pretty dang good since they also reference some brands I like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I read that article a few weeks ago, it really is unbelieveable. The base chocolate they are using (Pralus) is quite good, but their marketing is so deceiving. I saw the chocolates at Dean and Deluca last year and I couldnt believe the price tag. The pieces looked like they were about 5 grams at the most. It goes to show that marketing can go a long way.....

It often surprises me how many people think that chocolatiers (like myself) actually manufacture their own chocolate from the bean. There are only a handful of people doing this in the states (also in Europe). It is a very costly endevour to produce chocolate from bean to bar, thus the lack of people doing it. I know Jacques Torres in NYC is making some his own couvertures, but I dont think he is using it for his bon-bons, but rather selling it in bar form. Even large, high-end places like Maison du Chocolat use chocolate from an outside source (in their case Valrhona). But for a place like Noka to say they make their own chocolate is ridiculous. Makes me angry....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I read that article a few weeks ago, it really is unbelieveable. The base chocolate they are using (Pralus) is quite good, but their marketing is so deceiving. I saw the chocolates at Dean and Deluca last year and I couldnt believe the price tag. The pieces looked like they were about 5 grams at the most. It goes to show that marketing can go a long way.....

It often surprises me how many people think that chocolatiers (like myself) actually manufacture their own chocolate from the bean. There are only a handful of people doing this in the states (also in Europe). It is a very costly endevour to produce chocolate from bean to bar, thus the lack of people doing it. I know Jacques Torres in NYC is making some his own couvertures, but I dont think he is using it for his bon-bons, but rather selling it in bar form. Even large, high-end places like Maison du Chocolat use chocolate from an outside source (in their case Valrhona). But for a place like Noka to say they make their own chocolate is ridiculous. Makes me angry....

Has some new information come out about where they are getting their couvertures? The expose concluded it was Bonnat, but apparently they specifically denied that's where it was coming from, and last I looked the matter was still somewhat open to clarification. Not that it really matters much in the end.

I don't agree that they ever flat-out claim they make their own chocolate. In fact, that is exactly the problem. They phrase all their propaganda to lead the reader to suppose that they do, but they never actually say it. Everything is carefully nuanced. For example, look at the FAQ section of their website---they never say, "we make our chocolate ............."; rather, they always say "our chocolate is.......". The distinction is crucial, but is missed by the typical uncritical reader.

Bottom line is these Noka folks have taken chicanery to new heights, and have cleverly separated many rich fools from their money. Such is rampant in the food and beverage biz, as has been shown over and over again by properly designed (and even improperly designed) blind tastings of expensive waters, wines, beers, olive and other oils, condiments, meats, butters, etc. etc. etc. They have just taken their high prices to such a ridiculous extreme that they engendered this expose. But I can't work up too much sympathy for their customers. IMO anybody who's stupid enough to pay that much for chocolate deserves what he gets. And anyway, the reason they buy it has nothing to do with the product and everything to do with showing off to everybody how rich they are. Veblen was right (dead economists rule!).

------------------

Note: After writing the above, I casually googled "Noka" and "Veblen" and what should come up but "Marginal Revolution", the economics blog of our very own Tyler Cowen of DC ethnic dining fame. Here is the link, especially for you economists:

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginal...nomics_o_1.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was happy to see that several of top-of-the-line chocolatiers use Callebaut. . . just like I do when making truffles. :lol: (WF charges HALF of what D&D does for the exact same stuff. :unsure: )

The question is which of Callebaut's many products is WF selling?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was happy to see that several of top-of-the-line chocolatiers use Callebaut. . . just like I do when making truffles. :lol: (WF charges HALF of what D&D does for the exact same stuff. :unsure: )

Surfas in Culver City, CA (www.surfas.com) has a full line of Valrhona and Callebaut chocolate, in chunks and discs. Their prices are pretty hard to beat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has some new information come out about where they are getting their couvertures? The expose concluded it was Bonnat, but apparently they specifically denied that's where it was coming from, and last I looked the matter was still somewhat open to clarification. Not that it really matters much in the end.

You are correct, it was Bonnat, not Pralus. In any regards, it is still a nice chocolate. Even though they dont flat out say "we make our own chocolate', the marketing is deceiving and i think the uninformed customer would think that they are indeed getting beans and making the stuff themselves.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surfas in Culver City, CA (www.surfas.com) has a full line of Valrhona and Callebaut chocolate, in chunks and discs. Their prices are pretty hard to beat.

Those prices for the Valrhona are pretty good. Just FYI, I sell all of the Valrhona couvertures out of my shop at $10.00/lb., which is probably the cheapest you will find anywhere and you don't have to pay for shipping (if you come pick it up....) Right now we have the 61% Extra Bitter, 64% Manjari, 66% Caraibe, 72% Araguani, and the 40% Jivara Lactee (the finest milk chocolate, IMHO). All of these chocolates are in "feves" or "buttons", not block, which makes them a bit easier to use. FYI, the 66% Caraibe makes for some nice brownies......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a video about Noka that I found online. I dont know why, but I find this company even more disturbing after watching this.....

This is from the guy who wrote the article (Scott)

Thought some of you might get a kick out of this video. It's an "inside tour" of Noka's shop in conjunction with an article in today's Dallas Morning News. The opening shot is of their tempering machine--a ChocoVision Revolation 2, with a whopping 1.5 lb. capacity (about 700 gr.). That may not seem like much, but when you consider that the Revolation 2 can turn $20 worth of Bonnat into anywhere from $463 to $3,120 worth of "Noka Chocolate" in a single batch....

http://tinyurl.com/ywgaps

Cheers,

Jason

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is a video about Noka that I found online. I dont know why, but I find this company even more disturbing after watching this.....

This is from the guy who wrote the article (Scott)

Thought some of you might get a kick out of this video. It's an "inside tour" of Noka's shop in conjunction with an article in today's Dallas Morning News. The opening shot is of their tempering machine--a ChocoVision Revolation 2, with a whopping 1.5 lb. capacity (about 700 gr.). That may not seem like much, but when you consider that the Revolation 2 can turn $20 worth of Bonnat into anywhere from $463 to $3,120 worth of "Noka Chocolate" in a single batch....

http://tinyurl.com/ywgaps

Cheers,

Jason

Well Jason, it just shows you're taking the wrong approach. You shouldn't be selling chocolate, you should be selling the "Artisan Confection experience." Get with it man! Bump your prices up by a factor of 10 or 20, get some cool boxes, and the customers will be beating a path to your door. Remember, they need to show everybody how much money they have, and how they only can be bothered having the "best," so giv'em what they need. Think of the possibilities. You could have the PT Barnum line, and in his honor include some shaped like what the elephants leave behind. Then the Congressional line---there's no end to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You shouldn't be selling chocolate, you should be selling the "Artisan Confection experience." Get with it man!

Don't forget the cool, strangely familiar yet foreign-sounding name. Better yet, misappropriate a non-English letter from another Latinate alphabet.

How about Motoroå?

The flim-flam factor displayed here is impressive...an even more profitable ratio than esoteric audio, the acting talent of Ben Affleck, and homeopathic remedies (but of course, not politics). I stand in awe.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Note: After writing the above, I casually googled "Noka" and "Veblen" and what should come up but "Marginal Revolution", the economics blog of our very own Tyler Cowen of DC ethnic dining fame. Here is the link, especially for you economists:

http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginal...nomics_o_1.html

Tyler Cohen: One of our city's great treasures. Tyler: Such good, long-practiced, dedicated, consistent work you've performed.

Cheers,

Rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tyler Cohen: One of our city's great treasures.

Agreed. Both as an economist and a (insert "f" word here). But if we can change his name, why can't we come up with a better word than (insert "f" word). :unsure:

Did I stumble into the wrong thread here? :lol:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Don't forget the cool, strangely familiar yet foreign-sounding name. Better yet, misappropriate a non-English letter from another Latinate alphabet.

How about Motoroå?

Good idea. How about something like Chokäagen-Dazs, or is that one already taken?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

...and the fleece goes on...

BTW, just finished off a bar of Bonnat "Surabaya" 65% cacao, their "mildest" milk chocolate. Nice gloss and snap, and very very pleasant...milder than I'd imagined a 65% bar could be, with minimal bitterness. Also light on the sweetness. Not a chocolate fiend's bar, but would make a good intro to what real chocolate tastes like for the Hershey's crowd.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...