Science

Chocolate-covered fraud

As much as I love chocolate, I had never tried (nor even heard of) Noka, supposedly the world’s most expensive chocolate. Possibly because I can never actually afford the world’s most expensive anything.

It turns out, I needn’t feel so bad about it. A Texas food blogger named Scott has conducted an incredible investigation into whether or not all the chocolatier’s claims — and prices — are justified. His nine-part article is an excellent example of how people should apply skepticism and the scientific method to everyday life. He carefully examines each claim, does his research, conducts a blind tasting, and refutes the whole mess in a well-written conclusion. Whether or not you’re a foodie, you should appreciate this well-written investigation. Begin by clicking here.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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10 Comments

  1. I never realized exactly how much I didn't know about chocolate.

    That was a fascinating article, and I can't find any attackable flaws in it. I only wish he'd examined or mentioned Richart Chocolates, the rather expensive little shop some of you might know from the Copley mall in Boston. I'd like to know if the present I purchased there was worth the exorbitant price!

    I'm curious, by the way, whether anyone else felt the need to eat some chocolate while reading this article? I made it to about the third page before I took down a plain-jane Cadbury Bourneville bar and tucked into it.

  2. Wow indeed! That story was better written (and way more interesting) than most of the detective novels I have read! I kept waiting for him to announce the bodies he had found buried behind the Noka storefront. A blend of CSI and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    I hope this guy has a good lawyer! Telling the truth can be very expensive.

    And yes, Expatria, I kept thinking the whole time about the exotic chocolate bar I got in my stocking for Christmas. I think it's time for a nibble!

  3. A very interessting read. How did you find the artcile, did you want to buy Noka and decided to google it (the article is number 4 on a search for noka)?

    On one hand, they're crooks, on the other there is a part of me that can't help admire someone who takes money from stupid, rich people. Nothing better than sticking it to a snob.

  4. Ideally, I'd stick it to the snobs long enough to buy schoolchildren thousands of copies of How to Lie with Statistics and The Demon-Haunted World (and maybe buy myself a trip to Amsterdam) before coming clean, describing how I did it and moving on to stick it to the next set of snobs.

  5. Not only was that article the best example of investigative journalism i've seen in a very long time, the picture at the top of part seven with the clue board made me spew my water all over my monitor.

    Also, from the standpoint of a fellow Texan, it's very good to see that kind of skepticism coming out of a state that isnt' always known for it.

  6. I sincerely hope the author e-mailed Bonnat and told them that a couple of very dishonest Texan swindlers are selling their chocolate at insane prices after merely remelting it into different shapes.

    Something tells me there's probably a law against that kind of practice. Like plagiarism.

    Maybe, if some skeptics are interested in making some money, I can send you a mothly package consisting of a few kegs of some of the best Belgian beer. You can then bottle that in really tiny bottles, slap your own label on them and sell them for lots of money, all the while claiming you make it yourself.

    I'll take bets on how long it takes before we end up in a lawsuit …

  7. Do you think Bonnat really cares? Sure, they're missing a lot of the mark-up, but they're ultimately still selling chocolate and making money. There's not really a downside in this for them. If anything, they might want to just raise their own prices a bit. Obviously, their product is worth more than they're charging for it now. ;)

  8. Well, Bonnat could really screw with the Noka people by charging them twice or three times what they get now.

    Noka has little choice but to follow or look for another distributor, which would probably screw up their production since no other chocolate maker produces exactly what Noka are making a big thing about …

    And apparently, Bonnat ARE charging less than other chocolate makers, for a chocolate that's right up there with the best. But that could be a marketing strategy on their part to increase their business in a tight market.

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