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Raising the Bar - The Future of Fine Chocolate

Raising the bar

Our award-winning book, Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate, takes a global journey from cacao gene and cocoa bean to chocolate bar and bonbon.

In the process we gauge the future of the world's finest chocolate as told through the eyes of people who live chocolate every day and strive to preserve chocolate's richest, most complex and endangered forms for future generations.

“Just give me all your chocolate and no one gets hurt!”

Millions of us worldwide understand what it means to scream those words. We feel lost – even unhinged – without chocolate’s pleasures. If chocolate is the music that makes our days brighter, fine chocolate is the symphony – the richest, most complex form in the chocolate universe. The most important movement in that symphony’s centuries-old existence is beginning now. And that future is. . .what? A world of gray monochromatic flavor, or one rich with a rainbow of flavors that capture the myriad pleasures and diversity of the cocoa bean?

The current eBook is now the 3rd Edition. We also have a 3rd Edition Paperback version available on Amazon. Our hardcover print version is sold out. We only planned on one printing of the hardcover as our strategy is to keep the content relevant by editing our eBook version every three or four years.You might find a hardcover in a used book store online but remember it is only the 1st Edition and has not been updated.

Click here to buy on: Amazon
Nook Books

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate

READ MORE. . .In the spirit of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate tells the story of what that next movement in the fine-flavor chocolate symphony might hold. Told in four lively parts covering everything from before the bean to after the bar – genetics, farming, manufacturing, and bonbons – the book features interviews with dozens of international stakeholders across the fine-flavor industry to consider the promises and pitfalls ahead. It looks through what is happening today to understand where things are going, while unwrapping the possibilities for the millions of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.

Best Chocolate Book Winner: Canada-English, Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards

"The book is a virtual storehouse of information on chocolate. After reading it, I vow to only use the highest quality chocolate for everything." Janet Sarlin, Seasonal Chef

“In Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate, Jim Eber has given me a newfound appreciation for not chocolate itself, but how it is created." Kelly's Kitchen


Part One
Seeds of Change: Genetics and Flavor

The genetic story of the future of flavor cacao told through discussions with researchers, scientists, and experts around the world who are involved at the genetic level: from the mapping of the cacao genome to the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative that seeks to connect flavor to genetics to the work being done on the ground to confront the spread of low-flavor beans and ensure cacao quality and diversity for future generations.

"Authors of Raising The Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate reveal why chocolate artisans won’t sacrifice quality for profit." Candy Industry Magazine

Part Two
From the Ground Up: Farmers, Farming, and Flavor

Discussion of the issues of growing cacao from an ecological and sustainable perspective given the reality of where it is grown. Interviews and stories cover the majority of fine-flavor growing regions and myriad efforts to add value to fine-flavor chocolate; preserve, protect, and propagate flavor cacao for the future; and ensure that the beans are as good as they can possibly be. The realities and possibilities of fair-trade chocolate and the work being done on fermentation are also covered.

“After reading Raising the Bar, consumers of fine chocolate will be able to understand and appreciate the flavors and nuances that are brought into play by tasting, in much the same way that consumers of fine wines are able to do. The book’s research is solid; the writing so thought provoking. After reading this book, you will so much more appreciate that after-dinner bite of fine dark chocolate.” Barbara, Richmond, B.C. (Happy Customer)

Part Three
To Market, To Market: Craftsmanship, Customer Education and Flavor

Can consumers learn to slow down, taste, explore, and value the costly complexity of fine chocolate? Though the future looks bright by some measurements, sometimes the numbers aren’t what they seem. Discussions with both artisan and traditional chocolate manufacturers around the world on how they see the market and sources for fine-flavor beans and what they're doing to educate their customers about their craft, including a survey of the nature of raw, organic, and functional chocolate.

Part Four
Performing Flavor: The Art of the Chocolatier

Whether watching over those creations, traveling the world to discover new pairings, or simply taking their love of Junior Mints to the highest level, the world’s fine-flavor chocolatiers are all deeply aware of the “stage” they work on and the importance of taste in every performance. The future of their creations – the most flavorful and beautiful bonbons and confections in the world – are discussed as these chocolatiers confront the issues surrounding the preservation of their craft and how they see their flavors and recipe development changing (or not) in the future.

Pam Williams

Pam Williams

PAM WILLIAMS has been involved in the chocolate industry since 1981 when she opened her first chocolate endeavor, the chocolate shop: au Chocolat. In 2003, she founded Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts which delivers high quality educational programs to students all over the world. Pam received the 2011 Fine Chocolate Industry Association’s Recognition of Excellence in Service to the Industry.

Jim Eber

Jim Eber

JIM EBER is a veteran writer and collaborator specializing in food and business marketing. He has worked with many companies and publishing houses. Beyond this book, Jim is currently working with the Fine Chocolate Industry Association on the launch of the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative. Much to his wife’s past chagrin – but current delight – this is his first book on chocolate.



Chocolate experts (alphabetical order)

Mark Adriaenssens, R&D Director, Barry Callebaut,

Angelo Agostoni, ICAM Cioccolatieri,

Christian Aschwanden, Max Felchlin AG,

Shawn Askinosie, Askinosie Chocolate,

Vanessa Barg, Gnosis Chocolate,

Brett Beach, Madécasse,

Richard Callebaut, Barry Callebaut,

David Castellan, Soma Chocolatemaker,

Martin Christy, Seventy%,

Paul De Bondt, Cioccolato Artigianale de Bondt,

Steve De Vries, De Vries Chocolate,

Chloé Doutre-Roussel, Chloé Chocolat

El Ceibo Chocolate,

Laurier Dubeau, La Place Collection

Carlos Eichenberger, Danta Chocolate,

Julio Fernandez, Sibú Chocolate,

Philippe Givre, Valrhona École du Grand Chocolat,

Guido Gobino, Guido Gobino Cioccolato Artigianale,

Francisco Gomez, Casa Luker,

Mott Green, The Grenada Chocolate Company,

Gary Guittard, Guittard Chocolate Company,

Thomas Haas, Thomas Haas Chocolates,

Pierre Hermé, La Maison Pierre Hermé Paris,

Hugo Hermelink, Finmac Organic Cacao Plantation, Costa Rica

Frank Homann, Xoco Fine Chocolate Company,

Felix Inderbitzin, Max Felchlin AG,

John Kehoe, TCHO Chocolate,

Volker Lehmann, CEO, Frontier Ventures Bolivia, Bolivia

Polly Lo, La Place Collection

Rick Mast, Mast Brothers Chocolate,

Ramon Morató, Chocovic, and

Dean Morgan, Michelle Morgan, Zokoko,

Dan Pearson, Marañón Chocolate,

Santiago Peralta, Pacari Chocolate,

Art Pollard, Amano Artisan Chocolate,

Michael Recchiuti, Recchiuti Confections,

Jorge Redmond, Chocolates El Rey, Inc.,

Patrick Roger, Patrick Roger,

Frederick Schilling, Amma Chocolate,

Big Tree Farms,

Ed Seguine, Choc Research Fellow, Mars,

Duffy Sheardown, Duffy’s Red Star Chocolate Ltd.,

George Soriano, Sibú Chocolate,

Jeffrey Stern, Stern Chocolates,

Bart Van Cauwenberghe, De Zwarte Vos,

Roger von Rotz, von Rotz,

Massimiliano (Max) Wax, Nazario Rizek CxA,

Anne Weyns, Artisan du Chocolat,

Joseph Whinney, Theo Chocolate,

Science experts

Dr. Lyndel Meinhardt, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA-ARS),

Robert Peck, World Cocoa Foundation,

Dr. Wilbert Phillips-Mora, Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE)

Pham Hong Duc Phuoc, Director of the Biotechnology Center, Nong Lam University,

Dr. Darin A. Sukha, Research Fellow, Cocoa Research Unit, University of the West Indies,

"Thank you so much for letting me know about the publication! That's great news! I'm happy I was able to contribute even just a little bit from my corner of the world :)."
Laurier Dubeau, La Place Collection

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Photography by Jessica Washburn, Bliss Chocolatier and Ecole Chocolat

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