As a website developer, I'm familiar with the concept of open source products. There are many variants of open source licencing, with the most famous perhaps being the Creative Commons licence.
If you're unfamiliar with the concept, it allows you to share intellectual property (such as digital products or services, code, images, videos, etc) allowing licensees privileges such as using your body of work, or to extend or adapt it, all while being acknowledged as the source of the original work.
So, how does this relate to chocolate? Well, there's a project called XTC Chocolate that offers open source micro-batch chocolate recipes for anybody to use, subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
XTC Chocolate stands for eXperimental Theobroma Cacao Chocolate (not text-speak for "ecstasy chocolate" as I first thought). The project is the brainchild of award-winning chocolate maker, consultant and writer Dom Ramsey. Dom's a chocolate industry veteran, serving as judge at the World Chocolate Masters, Academy of Chocolate Awards, and International Chocolate Awards. He also ran the Damson Chocolate brand, and he co-founded Cocoa Runners.
In his latest project, he's developing and sharing recipes. The open source licence agreement allows the recipes to be used by anyone - even for commercial products - so long as you credit the source. You are also obliged to release any modified recipes under the same Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, fuelling creativity in the search for chocolate bar perfection.
Right now, there are 11 open source chocolate bar recipes available on the website, and many are former Damson Chocolate recipes. Dom recently made a batch of Speculoos Crunch Milk Chocolate 41% as part of this project (recipe) and offered his development bars at cost price on Twitter. I bought a bar to experience the fruits of this project first-hand.
The open source recipe is clear to follow, and the result is a milk chocolate with Lotus Biscoff pieces blended in, topped with extra pieces of Speculoos biscuit crumbs. Dom's also included comprehensive notes, tips, and tricks to give greater insight and understanding of the production process.
Made using Peru Chililique cocoa beans sourced from Cacaotales, the bar blended the spiced caramelised biscuit flavours with a rich and creamy milk chocolate.
Naturally, the source of the cocoa beans can impact on the end flavour, and this is where the experimentation can begin. But as an open source body of work, you're free to adapt it however you see fit. Put things in; take things away; change the proportions; it's completely up to you.
Cacoa Elora's John Cowings suggested replacing the blended biscuit with a mix of Speculoos spices, which would be an interesting avenue to explore. Coffee is Biscoff's best friend, so perhaps a blend of coffee and spices in the chocolate would taste nice, with a topping of Speculoos biscuit crumbs for extra crunch?
Remix and share. Through collective experimentation, the XTC Chocolate project has the potential to grow to a sizeable body of work, helping hobbyists and experienced chocolate makers to evolve and share ideas with each other.
Developing recipe ideas can be a costly exercise, which is why Dom created a Patreon page here to encourage financial support. For ongoing support of $5+VAT per month you'll receive early access to new recipes and chocolate making guides. Pledge $25+VAT per month and you'll also receive a bar of chocolate each time a new recipe is added to the XTC Chocolate library.
Have you used an open source recipe in your pursuit to create the perfect chocolate bar? Let me know in the comments below.