About

What’s the latest buzz on chocolate?  In this blog, we’ll explore the endless world of premium and artisan chocolates.  We’ll share tasting notes, interview chocolate makers, investigate the health benefits of chocolate, and look at the origin and history of this wonderful and complex treat.  Leave a comment and tell me what you’d like to learn about!

Koko Buzz is a play on the Japanese word for “here.”  As in you will find all the buzz about chocolate here.  Then there is the obvious connotation of “buzz” for that warm feeling you get when you eat good chocolate.

Feel free to contact me with your ideas, suggestions or questions: walter@kokobuzz.com

About the writer – I’m a chocolate enthusiast and a certified fitness nutritionist with a keen interest in writing about food and nutrition.  In this blog I focus mostly on chocolate.   I aim to educate both experienced chocolate enthusiasts and neophytes though this blog and seminars that I teach in the Boston area.  I have received basic instruction in chocolate from the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts.  My original degrees (many years ago)  are in chemical engineering which serves to fuel my interest and insight into the chemistry and processes surrounding chocolate making.

It was when I started traveling to Europe in the early 90?s, mostly for business, that I developed a deeper interest in artfully prepared fine foods.  I?m not talking about complicated or pretentious foods, per se, just good fresh creations made by people who care about quality and detail.  These culinary experiences were undoubtedly heightened by my surroundings like the small cobblestone courtyards of Aix-en-Provence or bustling student-filled squares of Leuven, Belgium.  During this time, I developed a budding interest in chocolate that has grown ever since.
As my corporate career plodded along, I found myself flying more often to Asia and Japan than Europe (eventually living in Tokyo with my family for part of 2007 and 2008).  Dutifully adhering to the traditions of these regions, I brought small gifts for my business associates on every trip to show appreciation for their help and hospitality.  But, after a while it became hard to find uniquely western gifts.  It got pretty tiring to lug picture books of purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain around the airports of the world.  The old standbys of Scotch whisky or other alcohol don?t fly too well anymore post 9-11.  Just about everything else is made in China.  So that brings us to one of the greatest inventions of the New World: chocolate.  Certainly you can get just about anything you want in Tokyo and more, but I was able to introduce a variety of chocolates to my Japanese and east-Asian colleagues that they had not experienced before.  It was great to see their reaction from intense interest to confusion, but it was always a great pleasure to share something genuine from the New World.  This, in part, brought me to the realization that chocolate is a passion for me.  Now I?d like to share that passion with you.

It was when I started traveling to Europe in the early 90’s that I developed a deeper interest in artfully prepared fine foods.  I’m not talking about complicated or pretentious foods, per se, just good fresh creations made by people who care about quality and detail.  These culinary experiences were undoubtedly heightened by my surroundings like the small cobblestone courtyards of Aix-en-Provence or bustling student-filled squares of Leuven, Belgium.  During this time, I developed a budding interest in learning about chocolate that has grown ever since.

As my corporate career plodded along, I found myself flying more often to Asia and Japan than Europe (eventually living in Tokyo with my family for part of 2007 and 2008).  Dutifully adhering to the traditions of these regions, I brought small gifts for my business associates on every trip to show appreciation for their help and hospitality.  But, after a while it became hard to find uniquely western gifts.  It got pretty tiring to lug picture books of purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain around the airports of the world.  The old standbys of Scotch whisky or other alcohol don’t fly too well anymore post 9-11.  Just about everything else is made in China.  So that brought me back to one of the greatest inventions of the New World: chocolate.  Certainly you can get just about anything you want in Tokyo and more, but I was able to introduce a variety of chocolates to my Japanese and east-Asian colleagues that they had not experienced before.  It was great to see their reaction from intense interest to confusion, but it was always a great pleasure to share something genuine from the New World.  This, in part, brought me to the realization that chocolate is a passion for me.  Now I’d like to share that passion with you.

10 responses to “About

  1. From someone whose exposure to chocolate has focused mainly on Halloween binges, I’ll never look at (or taste) chocolate the same way again. Great stuff!

  2. Just dropping by to say that I appreciate the work you’re doing. I happened across your blog through a Google image search for oxidized chocolate and just stuck around. Thanks for the read

    • Dan, glad to hear you are enjoying the blog. I hope to finish my post-in-progress on chocolate storage, but other things have taken priority. Stay tuned on that one…

  3. Pingback: Ecuador’s Chocolate Secret Is a Sustainable Reality 2/5 « Why do we LOVE chocolate

  4. Hi Walter – I’m not quite sure how I stumbled upon your blog but am glad I did. I am a budding chocolate maker and am itching for a dual purpose vacation in the coming months where, like you, I get a little R&R+C. I’m intrigued by your Costa Rica trip. Were you planning to get more cacao exposure while you were there? Did you gather any contacts, especially co-operatives or farmers, while you were there? I would really like to find a way to visit a farm and see the harvest, fermentation and drying processes up close.

    And, as an aside, where are you located? I noticed an event on your site pertaining to the NW Chocolate Festival. I was there! I live in the greater Seattle area.

    Thanks for any input.

    • Dianne, glad you are enjoying the blog. I’m in the Boston area, so I need to get away to somewhere warm in the winter …. at least for a little while. None of places we visited in Costa Rica had very extensive growing or production capabilities. They were more about doing educational tours. Cacao Trails had the largest plantation, but most of it was completely affected by disease, although still interesting to see. They had a separate area with a smaller grouping of healthy trees that are disease resistant. They do some small batch fermentation and drying there seasonally. You could try contacting them through the website to see when this happens. We didn’t have time to visit Chocoart, so you might also want to ask what they have going on there. There is also a working farm called Global Creek. Again, information about what they are doing there is hard to come by and could be changing from month to month, but they told me that they are growing cacao and making chocolate from it right on site. All of these operations are in the Puerto Viejo area. Remember, it takes 5 hours to drive to Puerto Viejo from San Jose, so you need to be up for adventure. I was preparing another blog post on travel details, but ran out of steam before the tourist season ended, so I will try to write it for next year’s season.

      Now, there are also plantations inland that are producing more significant amounts of beans for export. I was not able to find out where these guys are, but didn’t try too hard since our plans were to stay at the beach. Other ideas are – the Cotton Tree Lodge in Belize – they have some kind of chocolate themed package. I’ve never been to this hotel, but my wife and I did Belize a few years back and the eco-tourism was fantastic. The beaches are better in C.R., but there are some really cool things to do in Belize. If you want to travel slightly closer to home, there is the Tabasco Trail in Mexico. Sort of a like a wine road, but for chocolate. I don’t have much info on that one, but it sounds fun. Good Luck!

  5. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I get several e-mails with the same comment. Is there any
    way you can remove people from that service? Many thanks!

    • Sorry you’re having trouble. I’ll need to take a look at the Word Press help to see if there is any way to remove this. By the way I took a look at your In a Nutshell blog and enjoyed the post on Mast Brothers!

  6. Walter, congratulations for your great reviews on chocolate bars.
    Do you have a list of all the bars that you have scored 95 or higher?
    I just tried the Pralus Chuao bar and loved it, and I want to buy bars that are at least as good as this one. Any recommendations?
    Do you keep your scores in a excel sheet or some other place in your blog?
    Thanks from Spain,
    Luis

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