New Book by Ecole Chocolat Founder Looks at Future of Fine Chocolate, from Tropical Cacao Seed to Classy Chocolate Confection

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Global search for answers takes reader from equatorial cacao forest to genetic research lab to the chocolate experts who know their criollo from their trinitario

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The reality is that the best-tasting chocolates in the world are poised for extinction.

Two years in the making and in honor of the school's 10th anniversary, Ecole Chocolat founder Pam Williams has just announced publication of her new book, “Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate.”

The book offers a “global journey from cacao gene and cocoa bean to chocolate bar and bonbon,” and looks at the future of the world's finest chocolate as seen through the eyes of people who live chocolate every day and strive to preserve its richest, most complex and endangered forms for future generations, says Williams.

“The reality is that the best-tasting chocolates in the world are poised for extinction. Fine-flavor cacao trees are being removed or replaced with less flavorful, high-yield, disease-resistant cacao hybrids and clones,” says Williams, adding: “ Raising The Bar looks at what's happening in fine chocolate today to understand where things are going, covering everything from before the bean to after the bar in four lively parts.”

Williams and co-author Jim Eber interview the world's top chocolate experts, from well-known companies such as Valrhona, Barry Callebaut, and Guittard Chocolate Company, to renowned chocolatiers Patrick Roger in Paris, Chef Bart Van Cauwenberghe in Belgium and Michael Recchiutti in San Francisco. As well, scientists from the Cocoa Research Unit and the USDA weigh in with the latest in genetic research. The book covers almost every fine-flavor growing region, including stories and interviews from Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, The Dominican Republic, East Africa, Madagascar, Peru, Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, and more.

Williams has been involved in the fine-chocolate industry since 1981 and founded Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts in 2003. Most recently, she has been instrumental in creating and promoting the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative (HCP), a partnership between the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to create the first-ever genotype map with a focus on flavor cacao trees. The HCP's vision is to identify, preserve and propagate fine-flavor heirloom cacao to ensure cacao quality and diversity for future generations.

“If chocolate is the music that makes our days brighter, fine chocolate is the symphony – the richest, most complex form in the chocolate universe,” says Williams. “The most important movement in that symphony’s centuries-old existence is now beginning. 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?"

“We hope that the HCP, as well as our book, Raising the Bar, will make chocolate lovers everywhere aware that their favorite treat may be in danger but that there's still time to do something about it,” says Williams.

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate (Wilmor Publishing Corporation; October 2012; Hardcover; $19.95; eBook; $9.95; ISBN: 978-0-9691921-2-1 (Print); 978-0-9691921-3-8 (eBook).

Media Contact:
Lisa Ekus
The Lisa Ekus Group
413.247.9325 Lcecooks (at) LisaEkus (dot) com

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Nicole Hunnicutt
Melissa Libby and Associates
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Founded in 2003, Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts offers a portfolio of programs for chocolate making – mastering techniques while gaining the expertise and business knowledge needed to become a professional chocolatier or chocolate maker. Ecole Chocolat’s founder Pam Williams is the recipient of the Award of Excellence in Service to the Industry from the Fine Chocolate Industry Association. See our website: HYPERLINK ""

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