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Best affordable bulk chocolate?


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#1 jrshaul

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:12 PM

After reading some comments by eGullet members, I've found superb prices on bulk coverture. Albert Uster carries several varieties in 5kg sacks for around $45, a great savings over Green & Black's or even Callebaut. What's your preferred chocolate for under $10/kg?

#2 pastrygirl

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:39 PM

I don't know, but I just got a couple of samples from AUI and did not care for them. One was the orchid and the other a more premium variety, but I didn't care for either and would rather pay more for better chocolate. Callebaut and Felchlin are what I turn to when Valrhona is too dear.

#3 patti_h

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 07:56 PM

I buy direct from El Rey and I believe my cost ends up around $7/ pound. I really like their chocolates. I have heard mixed reviews about the AUI chocolate line as well.

#4 jrshaul

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 10:33 PM

I'm sorry to hear that; I'd heard nice things about the Orchid line and hoped to use it.

How much should I expect to pay for coverture at foodservice rates? I'm under the impression there's a not insignificant discount.

#5 lebowits

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 06:03 AM

I've been using the AUI Orchid line for a couple of years and find it's flavor, quality, and usability all quite good. You also have to consider what you're using it for. If you're simply eating chocolate, then yes, I would go with something different. One of my favorite eating chocolates is the E. Guittard "Sur del Lago" single origin. However, if you're making bon bons or other candies which include rather strongly flavored centers, then you should be looking for chocolate(s) which complement those centers. Personally, I find that the Orchid line has very nice flavors that work well with a variety of centers. This means I only need to stock 4 different chocolates (white, milk, 65% and 74%). Every additional chocolate you stock increases your costs. Finding something you like enough to use more broadly makes your operation more efficient.
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#6 Edward J

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:16 AM

I'm sorry to hear that; I'd heard nice things about the Orchid line and hoped to use it.

How much should I expect to pay for coverture at foodservice rates? I'm under the impression there's a not insignificant discount.



A loaded question...the answer most purveyors would give you is, "as much as the market can bear".

My town (Vancouver) has this thingee about Callebaut. Granted, it is good stuff, but everyone is using it, and I find their 70/30 "McDonald's-y"--that is, very bland, one flavoured, but very consistent. Almost everyone uses it, and the main distributer has quite an attitude. If you don't negotiate prices with the purveyor--in which volume is always the focal point-- they(purveyor) will jerk the prices around like a yo-yo. I know of some guys importing direct from St. Hyacinth(callebaut factory in Quebec) for as low as $6/kg and I've chased out reps giving me a "steal" of a price for as high as $20/kg for the same 70/30.

I use Lindt. Good stuff, and the prices don't fluctuate, AND they don't have a sales rep.

#7 rajoress

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:02 AM

I've been using Callebaut for years, I used to buy it directly from Qzina and even visited one of their offices (in Florida) to pick up 50 pounds. But for the past (at least) 5 years, I've been buying from a wholesale vendor that sells retail on-line and their price for the 11kg bars can't be beat. They haven't raised the price and the shipping is a flat fee. And luckily for me, they're in the same state (MA) so I get my shipment in a couple of days. I pay between $49.95 and $59.95 for the 11kg bars of white to bittersweet. And there's only a $50 minimum!

#8 jrshaul

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

I should probably specify here that I'm looking to buy a very large amount of chocolate, if not immediately. I'm sorry to hear that the Callebaut reps are such schmucks - $6CAD/kilogram is an absolutely superb price, but I doubt I could get it with a 50lb order.

ChocolateMan stocks Guittard coverture for just over $5/lb. I have yet to taste it personally, but I hear it's rated well, and the price is right.

http://www.chocolate...-box-coins.aspx

#9 curls

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

I should probably specify here that I'm looking to buy a very large amount of chocolate, if not immediately. I'm sorry to hear that the Callebaut reps are such schmucks - $6CAD/kilogram is an absolutely superb price, but I doubt I could get it with a 50lb order.

ChocolateMan stocks Guittard coverture for just over $5/lb. I have yet to taste it personally, but I hear it's rated well, and the price is right.

http://www.chocolate...-box-coins.aspx

What do you consider to be a very large amount of chocolate? I have found that if you are planning to purchase less than 500 pounds at a time you will be dealing with a distributor, store-front, or online retailer.

#10 HungryC

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 04:38 PM

Can't say much about price, but I like the Guittard over Callebaut or El Rey....taste wise, I mean.

#11 jrshaul

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:50 PM

What do you consider to be a very large amount of chocolate? I have found that if you are planning to purchase less than 500 pounds at a time you will be dealing with a distributor, store-front, or online retailer.


Let's just say "Less than 500 pounds." I've seen cars that weigh less than that...

Does anyone offer a sampler of a variety of chocolates? I've used some Green & Black's I got for a song, but found it to be just a little sour for my taste.

#12 jrshaul

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 11:50 PM


What do you consider to be a very large amount of chocolate? I have found that if you are planning to purchase less than 500 pounds at a time you will be dealing with a distributor, store-front, or online retailer.


Let's just say "Less than 500 pounds." I know people who drive vehicles lighter than that.

Does anyone offer a sampler of a variety of chocolates? I've used some Green & Black's I got for a song, but found it to be just a little sour for my taste.



#13 patti_h

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:47 AM

i would highly recommend getting bars from each of the brands you are considering and decide what appeals to you palate and your wallet. Just looking at all the comments above it is obviously a very personal choice. I was able to purchase bars of a lot of different chocolates at a (fairly) local chocolate shop & did a tasting with some friends. It is interesting to see how people respond to the different chocolates. I think you can purchase single bars from Chocosphere or chocolateman, then you might have a better idea of what you want to spend your money on.

#14 AnnieWilliams

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:39 PM

I have looked at Chocosphere and they seem to have decent prices, and they have a lot of brands from which to choose.

#15 pocobug

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

Try Cacao Barry. They have some amazing chocolate, especially their Extra-Bitter Guayaquil 64% if you like dark. Its great for ganaches. Also, there's Valrhona Chocolate from France but it would be more expensive. They have one flavor called Lactee Orange and its really, really good.

#16 jrshaul

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 05:04 PM

I think you can purchase single bars from Chocosphere or chocolateman, then you might have a better idea of what you want to spend your money on.


The problem is that while Valrhona and El Rey are quite keen on consumer purchases, the more pedestrian stuff is only available in much larger quantities. I already know that $20/kg chocolate is superb; it's the cheap stuff that interests me.

#17 curls

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 08:20 PM

How are you planning to use this chocolate? Would you like dark, milk, or white chocolate? Is this a one time purchase or will this be a continuing project? I would suggest that you purchase samples of a few of the chocolates that you are interested in and run some experiments.

#18 patti_h

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 06:14 AM

A recent survey I did of online suppliers, which of course did not include every source, the lowest prices I found was for E Guittard from world wide chocolate. Semisweet dark 60%- Ramona- $6.29/#
Milk 32.5%- molding heritage- $5.96/#, or $5.66 if you purchase 50#.
White - high Sierra- $6.46/#.
Don't forget to take your shipping costs into account as well. Shipping will be cheaper during the colder months, so it might be wise to stock up a bit!
Hope that helps

#19 ElainaA

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:23 PM

I've recently spent hours researching this since my local source for Callebaut closed last year. (I think the very low prices they were charging may have had something to do with their closing.) I was not looking for large quantities so there may be cheaper sites if you are buying more. I ended up purchasing from Gygi: Belgian Bittersweet callets, 5.5lbs for 25.99, Belgian Milk chocolate callets, 2.5 lbs for 13.99, Belgian white callets, 5.5 lbs for 31.99. They also stock Guittard not E. Guittard) which was cheaper but I prefer Callebaut. They also had "non-Belgian" Callebaut, produced, I believe, in Canada, also cheaper. The people at Gygi's that I spoke to on the phone were extremely helpful. My order should come this week so I'll see if they are also efficient.
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#20 Edward J

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:32 PM

Yes, there is a vary large plant located in St. Hyacinth, Quebec.

Mind you, cocoa beans don't come from Belgium, never have, never will, and sugar is most likely from S. America. Milk powder could or should be Belgain though.

#21 keychris

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:25 PM

I get felchlin for AUS$18 / kg, which is pretty reasonable.

I was quoted something like $80/kg for Valhrona, which was not :p

#22 merlicky

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 05:44 PM

I use E. Guittard 61% Sunrise as my standard dark chocolate. The texture and flavor profile compliment every flavor I have tried so far, plus it is pretty good eating chocolate so can be used in molded items too.

I buy it in cases of 25lbs from a distributor for less than $4.50/lb (or less than $10/kg).

#23 ElainaA

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 07:15 PM

As a follow up - My shipment from Gygi arrived today - in spite of UPS making my address as "affected by hurricane delays" (I'm in upstate NY).
So - efficient, helpful and about the lowest prices I found.
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#24 jrshaul

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:57 AM

I'm going to link here to a few good'uns. Admittedly, my brain is starting to turn to jam from wildly varying descriptions and prices.

Guittard La Nuit Noire coverture - $57/5kg callets. I know nothing about this whatsoever other than that it's much cheaper than Williams Sonoma. Of course, everything is cheaper than Williams Sonoma.
https://www.chocolat...-box-coins.aspx

Cacao Barry Mi Amere Dark Pistoles - $58/5kg callets. This is from an Amazon storefront, but $5.27 for Cacao Barry is pretty hard to beat.
http://www.amazon.co...=A30KZ5KMEUBUR8

Cacao Barry Pistoles Excellence - $65.10. A pretty good price on good chocolate from a major retailer.
http://www.europeanf...les-excellence/

Barry Callebaut 815NV callets - $84/10kg callets. This is from a big distributor, and the price is certainly hard to beat. But is it any good?
http://wholesalemelt...2-lb-815nv.html




Merckens 10lb Yucatan chocolate. I know nothing about this beyond that some people like it and it's really staggeringly cheap. I don't know if it's coverture appropriate, but $3.19 a pound makes it worth trying in ganache.
http://www.gygi.com/...colate-bar.html


Guittard Select Milk Chocolate: I can't find much information on this, but the price is right, it's labelled "coverture," and it says "Guittard" on it.
http://www.gygi.com/...colate-bar.html

#25 Kerry Beal

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 06:10 AM

Barry Callebaut 815NV callets - $84/10kg callets. This is from a big distributor, and the price is certainly hard to beat. But is it any good?
http://wholesalemelt...2-lb-815nv.html


I like the 815 more than the 811 - less sweet. But make sure it's the Belgian not the American.

Edited by Kerry Beal, 09 November 2012 - 06:11 AM.


#26 Chocolot

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:23 AM

I'm going to link here to a few good'uns. Admittedly, my brain is starting to turn to jam from wildly varying descriptions and prices.

Guittard La Nuit Noire coverture - $57/5kg callets. I know nothing about this whatsoever other than that it's much cheaper than Williams Sonoma. Of course, everything is cheaper than Williams Sonoma.
https://www.chocolat...-box-coins.aspx

Cacao Barry Mi Amere Dark Pistoles - $58/5kg callets. This is from an Amazon storefront, but $5.27 for Cacao Barry is pretty hard to beat.
http://www.amazon.co...=A30KZ5KMEUBUR8

Cacao Barry Pistoles Excellence - $65.10. A pretty good price on good chocolate from a major retailer.
http://www.europeanf...les-excellence/

Barry Callebaut 815NV callets - $84/10kg callets. This is from a big distributor, and the price is certainly hard to beat. But is it any good?
http://wholesalemelt...2-lb-815nv.html




Merckens 10lb Yucatan chocolate. I know nothing about this beyond that some people like it and it's really staggeringly cheap. I don't know if it's coverture appropriate, but $3.19 a pound makes it worth trying in ganache.
http://www.gygi.com/...colate-bar.html


Guittard Select Milk Chocolate: I can't find much information on this, but the price is right, it's labelled "coverture," and it says "Guittard" on it.
http://www.gygi.com/...colate-bar.html


I think it is Guittard Signature, not select. Signature is a good chocolate for hand dipping, but not thin enough for shelling.
Yucatan is likewise, ok for hand dipping, but not for shelling. These are mid-range chocolates. They are ok, but certainly not high end, but then neither is the price.

Edited by Chocolot, 09 November 2012 - 08:24 AM.

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#27 Edward J

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:18 AM

Merckens 10lb Yucatan chocolate. I know nothing about this beyond that some people like it and it's really staggeringly cheap. I don't know if it's coverture appropriate, but $3.19 a pound makes it worth trying in ganache.
http://www.gygi.com/...colate-bar.html



As the English would say "Wotcher" and the Germans would say "8-tung!" Merckens is not known for putting cooca butter in their stuff...........

My rule of thumb, and for most other chocolatiers is, if it comes in pounds, stay away from it.

#28 merlicky

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 12:43 PM

Guittard Select Milk Chocolate: I can't find much information on this, but the price is right, it's labelled "coverture," and it says "Guittard" on it.
http://www.gygi.com/...colate-bar.html

Be careful using anything from Guittard Chocolate Company that is not of the E. Guittard line. They have a white chocolate that is reasonable, but most of the non E. Guittard chocolate is not really premium and is best used in baking and not as a couverture.

#29 jrshaul

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 01:37 AM

Be careful using anything from Guittard Chocolate Company that is not of the E. Guittard line. They have a white chocolate that is reasonable, but most of the non E. Guittard chocolate is not really premium and is best used in baking and not as a couverture.


As the English would say "Wotcher" and the Germans would say "8-tung!" Merckens is not known for putting cooca butter in their stuff...........


Thanks for the warnings!

I'm wondering to what degree I'm butting my head against a pointless retail mark-up. How much would I have to buy to get a proper wholesale discount, and how big would it be?

#30 Edward J

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 08:44 AM

Usually a case, which is usually 10 kg.

I'd suggest getting friendly with a local hotel or restaurant and buy a case from them wholesale. Some will, some won't, some will order for you on a separate invoice.

If you have suppliers in the area, you might have luck picking up a case at their loading dock.

As to the true price? Any supplier will keep the price they paid very close to their chest. As I said in my above post, volume is the name of the game--the larger the amount you order, the cheaper the price will be.