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Exposé of Noka — the most expensive chocolates in the world
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climbeyalex



Joined: 22 Nov 2005
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seriously. Is that even legal? Isn't it somewhat akin to plagarism of chocolate if you think about it? Same content just repackaged differently? Man, and I thought life was strange enough as it is.
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Last edited by climbeyalex on Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sporky



Joined: 29 Dec 2006
Posts: 3
Location: near the cookie jar

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i seem to have forgotten my old password, but i haven't been online in so long i decided to just make a new user.

i actually had a discussion with a friend a few weeks ago about this very article, and after reading about it on boingboing today (congratulations on the post there, monkey!) i wanted to come here with my thoughts on the whole issue.

first off, it's obvious that noka chocolates have created a sort of mystique around their truffles, one which attracts the sort of client who is more impressed by the looks (and cost) of the product than the actual quality. however, even in admitting that these people are buying on looks, not taste, i still don't believe that noka can justify their marketing - that of their chocolates being the very best or purest; i believe that they are knowingly duping their clients into buying a product which doesn't actually exist.

the idea of noka being a luxury just does not hold up. when we think of luxery cars, for instance, we often think of mercedes, porche, ferrari. and yet, are the prices of those vehicles not justified by the engineering, the craftsmanship, the whole design process? ferrari's manufacturing process is legendary and there are few who would balk at the qaulity present in those cars. even think about designer clothes for a moment. yes, those too are marketed towards a particular clientele, however there you aren't just paying for the name (such as prada) but you're paying for the exclusivity of the designers, the quality of the materials and the downright scarcity of the actual product - many lines have a limited number of goods. yet in the case of noka you do not get quality (at least no higher than if you bought a bar at home, melted and made your own truffle - that is to say, the workmanship is not labor intensive, it requires no skill that a betty crocker cookbook couldn't give, and it does not require expensive equipment), you do not get exclusivity (as anyone can melt chocolate), all you get is the name and the idea that you're getting a pure, refined good.

there is no justification to these prices. noka is simply taking advantage of it's falsely gained branding and profiting on the gullibilty of those with deep pockets.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While on the one hand I whole heartedly agree with you about NOKA, I also believe in people using a little common sense. Living out in the Hamptons most of the population is uber rich and all about image. If it isn't the most expensive it must be crap. I actually know someone who charged a lady $200.00 to teach her turn on her stove. What!?! Buyer beware.

Dolling out tons of cash for the finest chocolates or wine means nothing if you are ignorant. Learn and explore, then you just may have something.
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Danno



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:58 am    Post subject: Gift box vs. raw bar comparison Reply with quote

Everyone is up in arms about the price, but only a few are really examining the fact that NOKA does not intend its chocalates to be merely consumed. They package and present them as gifts with individually featured chocolate pieces. It would be more intelectually honest for the author to compare prices of other similarly packaged chocolates rather than to bars. I can't help but think of the fruit baskets I received over the holiday. I know I can go to the grocery store and buy pears for a buck a pound, but I still appreciate the beautifully presented fruit in a basket, knowing that the person who sent it paid $40 (a 3,900% markup!) doesn't detract from my enjoyment. Just as I would never go out and purchase a fruit basket for the purpose of simply eating the fruit, I can't imagine someone going out and buying a stainless steel container of NOKA to sit and gobble down.
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rebecca



Joined: 01 Dec 2004
Posts: 77
Location: near a pan of spanakopita

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:49 am    Post subject: Re: Gift box vs. raw bar comparison Reply with quote

Danno wrote:
Everyone is up in arms about the price, but only a few are really examining the fact that NOKA does not intend its chocalates to be merely consumed...I can't help but think of the fruit baskets I received over the holiday. I know I can go to the grocery store and buy pears for a buck a pound, but I still appreciate the beautifully presented fruit in a basket, knowing that the person who sent it paid $40 (a 3,900% markup!) doesn't detract from my enjoyment.


Not to be rude, but if your theory holds true, Danno, then Noka would be marketing itself as Noka Stainless Steel Boxes rather than Noka Chocolate. They don't. They have a specific marketing plan created to target gullible people who want to consume good chocolate. Noka trumpets 75% pure cacao, no vanilla, no emulsifiers. That doesn't sound anything like a fruit basket-esqe marketing company.

Unlike other chocolatiers, according to this Dallas Food article, Noka seems to be going out of its way to dupe consumers as to origin and exclusitivity.

That article was an absolutely fascinating read. Bravo, Scott from Dallas Food!
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Danno



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 2:17 am    Post subject: Gourmet chocolate Reply with quote

Not rude at all. I enjoy the conversation. I'm no expert when it comes to chocolate, but as I read the series it seemed like the writer discovered that NOKA indeed offers high quality, very pure single-source chocolate, just as they claim. He tried to get their chocolatier to lie about the source of their couverture, which she did not do. He relies on nothing other than his palate to dismiss NOKA's claim that their couverture is made to their specifications. Yet nobody is challenging what credentials he has to make such judgements and nobody seems troubled by the fact that he remains anonymous and his conceivable motivations for going to all this trouble remain a mystery. I looked at his background and found that the only other substantial piece he's written examined the finer points of...CHICKEN FRIED STEAK.
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monkey



Joined: 08 Oct 2004
Posts: 87
Location: in the kitchen with a large bar of chocolate

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

we have quite a eclectic group here on c&z that seems to stay up on what's going on in various arenas of the food world. so, i'm quite curious - had anyone heard of noka before the dallasfood series?
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cybele



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 26
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

monkey wrote:
so, i'm quite curious - had anyone heard of noka before the dallasfood series?

I'd heard of them as I am a chocolate afficianado.

I think I saw them first on this site when I was researching chocolate for my holiday gift guide:

http://edp.org/chocdir.htm#N

(At least I think that was where I found them.)

And I looked around their website and decided that even if it was measurably better than any other chocolate I'd ever had in my life, I simply do not wish to spend my money that way.

(I also found their website very cold. I don't know if it's the colors or the way they photograph their product, but it's sterile and didn't really fascinate me in the same way that other sites and stores do. I still have them on my list to peek at them when I go to Neiman Marcus next time.)

Honestly, anyone who thought that Noka made their own chocolate is just silly. There are so few actual chocolate manufacturers in the United States, I think the last count was less than 15. The price point of the chocolate is so far out of the range of normal mortals it's obviously a status symbol on par with a pair of $5,000 blue jeans.

Because of the article now I am curious about Bonnant because of the no vanilla thing (I've had Cluizel and the no lecithin thing).
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Samuel



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Participants in this discussion should be aware that "Danno" (aka "Dan" and "AvidReader") appears to be Dan Keeney--a "crisis consultant" who has been posting similar defenses of Noka over the past day on a number of blogs, as cataloged by Robert Synnott.

Can Noka really believe that paying a mercenary PR hack to covertly post on message boards is the way out of the dilemma they've put themselves in?

Sam
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No doubt Noka has some damage control to do.

In the end they provide the product they provide and they charge what they think they can get for it. Time will tell if anyone will be willing to pay for it when they know that the same thing is available for more reasonable prices.

It was audacious marketing. I'm sure the Noka founders aren't unique in that respect. But I hope there are more Dallas Foods out there letting us know when we're being taken advantage of.
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Teto



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to work for Saks 5th Avenue, and will never forget the day an angry man came in to see me. Seems his $3,000 diving watch had taken in water in a hotel swimming pool 366 days after he bought it. I explained to him carefully that a $3,000 watch has a one year warranty just like a $50 watch.

"Then what was I paying all this money for?" he yelled.

What indeed. We sold a lot of stuff that was of lesser quality than similar items sold at Target for 1/20th the price. People were willing to spend any amount of money in order to impress their friends with their riches.

Which reminds me of these chocolates and Harry and David pears. These chocolates appear to be worthless unless you tell your friend how much money you spent on them ... just like Harry and David pears taste far worse than similar pears you buy from the market and the baskets are usually of notably poor quality.

More expensive doesn't mean better. It just means you spent a lot of money. If you can afford it, great. If you can't, then rest easy knowing the richies of the world aren't getting anything that's better than you.
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marquisem



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:53 pm    Post subject: Just like Vosges Reply with quote

A well researched article and interesting for future reference. I found a similar situation (re the power of marketing) with Vosges Chocolat. I heard about them on Food Network and the next time bro-in-law from Chicago came home, he brought me some. If I hadn't identified which chocolates were which, I'd have had no idea from the taste.
Their big thing is supposed to be exotic flavors. So I'm thinking, BIL maybe got "stale" chocolates. We happened to be in Chi some months later, so I go to the flagship store on Michigan Ave. Good chocolate, only a slight difference from one to the other.

Nothing exotic about them other than their packaging and marketing.
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Samuel



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Just like Vosges Reply with quote

marquisem wrote:
I found a similar situation (re the power of marketing) with Vosges Chocolat.

But Vosges has never misled the press into believing they make their own chocolate. They're open about whose chocolate they use.

Also, Vosges chocolates aren't many times more expensive than all other gourmet chocolates on the market. $39 will buy 16 good-sized Vosges truffles (in 11 different flavors). $39 will buy less than an ounce of Noka's chocolate.

Vosges isn't unlike the majority of gourmet chocolatiers out there. Noka is very different.

Sam
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Danno



Joined: 30 Dec 2006
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:39 pm    Post subject: Wasn't then, but am now... Reply with quote

This is complicated, but the bottom line is as I write this comment I am engaged as a PR person representing NOKA. The original comments were written prior to that and reflected my personal opinion. However, facts are facts and that makes it worthy of an update. So as Kirk Brewer suggested in a post on my site (www.dpkpr.com), I am posting this update. Thanks to Kirk and others for their constructive feedback. As others have noted, NOKA has issued a statement regarding the issues raised by Dallas Food and we are in the process of getting that out. Since my personal opinions are no longer relevant, I won't be reposting.
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cybele



Joined: 02 Jul 2005
Posts: 26
Location: California

PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2006 6:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Wasn't then, but am now... Reply with quote

Danno wrote:
As others have noted, NOKA has issued a statement regarding the issues raised by Dallas Food and we are in the process of getting that out.

Can someone point me to the NOKA statement, I can't find it on their site.
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"I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. It's my bar of chocolate." Veruca Salt, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
www.candyblog.net
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