Friday, February 15, 2008

Los Angeles may not be the best place for a Candy Blogger to live

TCHO GhanaLos Angeles is not a chocolate town, with good reason, it’s hot. But I greet the L.A. winters rather joyfully because it means that I should be able to receive chocolate shipments without moltency.

Since it was predicted to be so nice, and I had such a great experience with BonBonBar, I ordered two chocolate bars on Monday, February 11th from the beta chocolate company TCHO, located in San Francisco.

It’s February and the predicted high temperature all week was 66 degrees. At 1:30 PM today it was 65. Ideal, really, for chocolate.

However, the package shipped on Tuesday, February 12th and only arrived at my door on February 15th. Hardly Priority Delivery if you ask me. And really slow for door to door service a scant 400 miles apart and to major metro areas.

They came in a silver metallic bubble-wrap envelope (folded in half). It felt hot to the touch. I opened it immediately and pulled the bars out. They too were hot ... and squishy.

TCHO chocolate delivery was melted - total fail

There you have it.

TCHO was co-founded by a space shuttle technologist. I’m not sure what end of all of the technologies integrated into the space shuttle he was involved in, but it couldn’t have had anything to do with insulating or maintaining optimal operating temperatures. Or getting things to arrive on schedule.

I’m not going to give it a full review at this moment. I ate most of the melted parts of the bar shown. It’s rather tangy, has some clear coffee and dark berry notes. It’s smooth, but not super-smooth (even a few gritty bits) and doesn’t have the buttery quality that I love so much about great chocolate.

I sent a note to the company before posting this, letting them know of the poor condition the package arrived in. (I’ll let you know the resolution of that.) The 50 gram bars are $4 each and the shipping was $5.

Since I took that photo the bar has re-solidified, poorly tempered now with swirls of dark and light and an irregular texture. So sad.

The plain truth is that I get a lot of gooey chocolate. Rarely stuff that I order, usually things that are sent to me as samples, and I’ve come to accept the fact that PR folks simply don’t know how to put together a box that can survive for 24 hours without getting melted. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed it’s that package that are packed tightly do the worst. A little airspace between insulated walls does wonders. In the case of this package, a reflective package is great but once it heats up to the ambient temperature of the delivery truck’s interior, it’s actually conducting the heat to the contents, not protecting it.

I think I’ll stick to buying my bars in stores.

(The good news is that I have a lovely box of Valerie Confections’ Lemon & Hazelnut Nougat that my husband gave me for Valentine’s Day to console myself.)

UPDATE: Looks like a very prompt note from TCHO was caught in my spam filter around 3 PM (very quick!). They said that they hadn’t implemented hot weather shipping yet, but will re-evaluate that. They’re sending out a replacement package next week. Looks like I can be a beta tester for both the chocolate and the shipping! (Honestly, it appears that more of the problem is with how long it took for the package to get from SF to LA.)

UPDATED UPDATE 2/19/2008: Wow, when TCHO says they’re gonna put some new bars in the mail, they mean same day. They arrived today and in good condition.

Related Candies

  1. Tcho: Beta Batch No. C Ghana 0.7 AH
  2. Amano Single Origin Bars: Madagascar & Ocumare
  3. Dagoba Single Origin
  4. Candy Source: Candy Town - San Pedro
  5. Single Origin Chocolate

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:58 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     Bay AreaCandyReviewChocolate4-BenignUnited StatesShopping

Comments
  1. You’re right, that is so full of FAIL. :(

    Keep us posted on what the company says on this…

    Comment by Sera on 2/15/08 at 11:52 am #
  2. This is why I never order candy online.. fear!  The weather is just too unpredictable, and I’d hate to spend the money to get melted chocolate.

    Comment by Alicia on 2/15/08 at 1:16 pm #
  3. lol,it made me giggle when i saw the fail image.

    my idea:write a very stern letter complaining that they need do something about thier candy.

    Comment by james on 2/15/08 at 2:51 pm #
  4. i mean,they need to at least find something to keep thier chocolate at eating temperature.

    Comment by james on 2/15/08 at 2:52 pm #
  5. I’m the opposite of James. I find pictures with “Fail” written across them in huge letters extremely obnoxious and rude. It’s not the sort of thing you’d ever see in a professional publication and just seems really juvenile.

    I hope you won’t continue to use that as part of your articles. I think the pictures speak for themselves without the “editorial” stamped across it in shouting letters.

    Comment by Shari on 2/15/08 at 7:02 pm #
  6. And I’m the opposite of Shari, I quite liked the “FAIL” image, though I’m a big internet geek. It’s just a bit of humour, lighten up.

    Comment by Terry on 2/16/08 at 12:08 am #
  7. Well, all I can say is, if you lived over here in rainy England you never get melted chocolates!!! hehe

    Comment by Gabbi London on 2/16/08 at 6:46 am #
  8. I agree about the humor bit- important not to lose sight of the fact that this is, indeed, a blog about /candy/. Taking candy too seriously is a grave, grave misstep, I believe (and I say that as a regular reader!).

    Best of luck with a replacement, and hopefully the company learns from this mishap.

    Comment by Tristyn on 2/16/08 at 7:07 am #
  9. weird. see’s candy ships with dry ice.

    Comment by jess on 2/16/08 at 12:24 pm #
  10. You all crack me up!! Thanks for the laughs.

    Comment by Suzanne on 2/16/08 at 1:03 pm #
  11. We’re so sorry that we disappointed you. Of the literally thousands of bars we have sent since we began shipping two weeks ago, this is the first which “failed.” We have an ironclad guarantee that TCHO’s products delight, and we stand behind it. We have sent a new package. Please let us know in what condition this one reaches you. Again, apologies from all of us here at TCHO. Samantha, Tasters Circle Director

    Comment by Samantha on 2/16/08 at 1:17 pm #
  12. I liked the “Fail” image ^___^

    Comment by Philly on 2/17/08 at 11:28 am #
  13. Mannn…will you ever stop bitching? People sometimes make mistakes…I mean they’re only people.

    Comment by Nick on 2/17/08 at 1:25 pm #
  14. Ooh, is this the first hint of controversy on CandyBlog? In all honesty, I get enough of that noise from CuteOverload. I think the ‘FAIL’ picture was funny and, thanks to LOLcats, that is the kind of picture you might see in a semi-casual blog-style publication. So, keep doing your thing.

    P.S. Nick, go get bent. Especially if you want to keep using the B-word like it’s appropriate for this situation. Jerk.

    P.P.S. Oops, didn’t mean to contribute to the controversy. Sorry. smile

    Comment by MaliceAlice on 2/17/08 at 3:31 pm #
  15. I’m all over that “fail”. It’s why I often turn to bloggers for reviews, and use magazines for amusement and decoration. If it weren’t for this (hilarious) blog, only Cybele’s close friends would get the benefit of her experiences. Now we’re all privy. This has a real effect on the world, see how the company commented above? PR is everything!

    Comment by Anastasia on 2/17/08 at 9:55 pm #
  16. For what it’s worth I chuckled at the FAIL too, but them I’m a geek.  Good on TCHO for sending a new bar!

    Comment by Porgy on 2/18/08 at 4:40 pm #
  17. Hey, I thought the “Fail” pic was funny too. I have to agree with you about LA not being such a good place to have chocolate shipped to - I’ve avoided ordering any food meltables online because of that. But good to see the company following up!

    Comment by Bryan on 2/20/08 at 7:27 pm #
  18. Ahhh very good lessons to note! I send out products for our food website every once in awhile. We haven’t done any chocolate yet but I will note this! Thanks!

    Comment by Hillary on 2/22/08 at 9:08 am #
  19. I have the exact issue living where I do as well. I’m doing a chocolate swap with a friend in Canada this week because I know it’ll be the last time for at least the next eight months that anything will arrive in decent shape!

    And I’m also a fan of the macros!

    Comment by Heather on 2/25/08 at 5:29 am #

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