Holiday Demand Pushes Fine-Chocolate Industry into Overdrive, but Consumers Must Understand the Threat Facing Their Favorite Treat, says Ecole Chocolat Founder and Author

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New book gives voice to cacao growers, chocolate makers and artisan chocolatiers around the world striving to protect endangered, best-tasting strains

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Pam Williams, author of Raising the Bar

It's a matter of survival of the best-tasting chocolate strains still out there. . .

Chocolatiers producing hand-crafted, high quality chocolate products for the holidays are going into overdrive as they prepare for one of the busiest times of year, says Pam Williams, Founder of Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts and author of the new book, Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate (Wilmor Publishing, Oct. 2012).

And those consumers who demand the best must become aware that their favorite fine chocolate may well be facing extinction if nothing is done to protect the most luxuriant-tasting strains now growing in remote equatorial forests around the world, says Williams.

“That is the aim of the book – to educate both the industry and consumers as it documents the global journey from cacao gene and cocoa bean to chocolate bar and bonbon. This book 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,” she says.

Together with co-author Jim Eber, a veteran writer and collaborator specializing in food and business marketing, Williams sets out to give voice to the conscientious chocolate growers and makers of fine chocolate who are working to preserve endangered chocolate strains around the globe.

“Consumers must understand the amount of work that goes into producing quality chocolate if it is to survive into the future,” says Williams.

And the winter holiday season – when more chocolate is consumed than at any other time of year – is the best of times to get the word out, she says. According to ABC News, the demand for chocolate increases by about 2.5 to 3 percent annually, which means about four million more tons of cocoa beans are needed every year.

Since the average American eats around 11 pounds of chocolate in a year, the annual gains for Christmas chocolate sales are expected to continue for many years to come.

But a disconnect exists between cocoa bean farmers, chocolate manufacturers and consumers purchasing the finished product, says Williams.

“Consumers don't see all the work being done from the ground up, and few consider the origin of the bean when eating chocolate,” she says.

These are just some of the factors that make cocoa beans the most undervalued fruit crop in the world, but the chocolate experts featured in Raising The Bar are helping consumers to understand the importance of demanding more high-quality alternatives to shelf-stable supermarket chocolates year-round, and not just during the holiday gift-giving season.

“It's a matter of survival of the best-tasting chocolate strains still out there,” says Williams. “We don't want to lose that, but time is running out on us.”

About Ecole Chocolat
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. Founder Pam Williams received the 2011 Fine Chocolate Industry Association’s Recognition of Excellence in Service to the Industry. See our website:

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

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