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Your favorite couverture


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23 replies to this topic

#1 Skwerl

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 12:47 PM

I would like to branch out and try some different brands and varieties of chocolate, so I thought I would start a conversation and ask for your opinions on which brands and/or varieties of chocolate you like to use. I've only used a couple Callebaut darks and a delicious Valrhona lactee that I have bought locally. I'm also curious as to how many of you stick with one brand for everything or if you use different brands for different purposes. What is a good multi-purpose chocolate? Which chocolate do you feel has the most interesting or distinctive flavor? What else do you have to say on the subject? :)

Josh Usovsky
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#2 rookie

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 11:34 AM

Hi Josh,

To begin with I am no expert by any means, however I have used Callebaut (both semi-sweet and milk & a little white & am happy with it. I have recently purchased a different brand of Belgium chocolate called OCG. I really like the milk as it is really creamy tasting to me. Sorry not much more I can tell you.


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#3 kthull

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 11:45 AM

I'm also a novice when it comes to chocolate, but I found the Callebaut 70% (not exactly sure on that percentage) extremely difficult to work with. Almost every time, even at the most gentle heating, the oils would separate out. I was only able to use it for mousses or other applications where the chocolate was not the main ingredient (like ganache).

The Callebaut milk chocolate was divine, though it never made it into any recipes. :rolleyes:

I have since picked up a batch of Schokinag's bittersweet, but haven't had time to do much more than break off a few big chunks and eat it.

As for different kinds/brands, I definitely will go for the more intense chocolates for desserts that will benefit from it. A nice dark Vahlrona has a great complex flavor that is wonderful for adding dimension when paired with a lighter, sweeter chocolate. And I usually mix two intensities of chocolate when making my ganaches.

Edited by kthull, 28 November 2003 - 11:51 AM.


#4 cbarre02

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 11:33 AM

You may also want to try El Rey Chocolates, they are made in Venezuela. Here, the coco goes from the plantations to the factory in a very short time period, therefore allowing the manufacturers to have very close ties to the farmers. The closer all of the steps are in the cultivation-production-sales process, the more likely you are to have a quality product.
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#5 PastryLady

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Posted 29 November 2003 - 07:54 PM

I have a box of Noel 64% and it has worked for many recipies that I have tinkered with at home. It has a real shine with the ganache recipe I use too. Haven't had any problems with it. My 11# box will be around until Christmas I hope! I love using Valhrona (sp?) too. Great tasting product and wonderful to use. The orange one is yummy!
Debra Diller
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#6 McDuff

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 04:34 AM

I make mousse with callebaut 835 nv, double chocolate pudding with valronha manjari, milk chocolate pot de creme with valronha jivara and ganache with cocoabarry chocolate chips. In a chocolate class at school we used Felchlin couverture and it seemed pretty foolproof as far as tempering, and it was tasty. I get confused by all the callebaut numbers but I noticed they have new packaging on the big blocks and have little symbols indicating viscosity. big help for a chocolate dummie.

#7 richtl

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Posted 30 November 2003 - 08:29 PM

Different chocolates have different flavors; I like to match the chocolate to the flavors that will be going with it. Valrhona's Manjari (64% from Madascar) is nicely fruity and pairs well with strong flavors, such as citrus or peppercorns. Chovovic's Ocumare (71% from Venezuela) is subtle and complex, and is nice with earthier flavors, like chili or apples. I find El Rey's chocolates to be a bit earthy for my taste, others really like them. Bernard Castelain's chocolate is smooth and wonderful, but unavailable in quantity in the U.S.

My suggestion is that you try different chocolates as you encounter them. See what you like.

Rich

#8 Qui

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 05:47 PM

I recently got into a conversation with a co-worker about chocolate and I am curious to find out which is your favorite chocolate to use and why. At our bakery, we have a few brands of chocolates for different applications. The reason for me to start this topic is when my least favorite chocolate turns out to be my co-worker's favorite chocolate. Is this just a matter of taste? Or is there somekind of ground rules on deciding what's a good chocolate. To me, it's the flavor and the texture (mouthfeel).

I am not an expert on chocolates, but over the years have had enough opportunities to use a few different brands of chocolates on different applications to notice the difference in term of flavor and texture. Personally I like Callebaut/Cocoa Barry and Valrhona. I prefer Valrhona when making very chocolatey desserts, like a rich chocolate mousse. I like it's cocoa powder for a rich, chocolatey devil's food cake. If it wasn't for the cost, I would use Valrhona is a lot more applications.

E. Guittard - I like it but I've only used it for candy making like ganache and enrobing. It has good flavor and good viscosity.

Shaffenberger - I think this chocolate is a little too viscous and sometimes it get difficult to use.

Des Alpes by Albert Uster - I am not too crazy about it's flavor, I think it's a little sweet and in my experience a little tempremental. I have difficulties tempering this chocolate on several occasions (that may just be my lack of skill in tempering).

El Ray - I have only used this for tempering - for showpiece purposes.

Peter's - Do not like the flavor at all and very viscous

Cocoa Noel, Weiss, Michel Cluziel, Felchlin etc, just a few more out there that I haven't used before.

What have you used and what is your experience with them?

Thanks!

#9 merstar

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 06:21 PM

Well, I'm going to go against the grain, and say that Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet (haven't tried their 70%), and semi-sweet baking bars are my first choice for baked goods, ganaches, ice cream, etc. They melt like a dream and are very easy to work with, plus yield a deep, dark chocolate taste. I've used Callebaut, Scharffen Berger, Lindt, El Rey (my least favorite), etc., and still prefer Ghirardelli for most applications. I do like Scharffen Berger 70%, however, and have baked with it occasionally. I dislike all types of Valrhona, other than their Lactee, so I've never considered baking with any of them. Santander Columbian 70% is a great chocolate and melts beautifully - it's also delicious eating out of hand. Some other great ones are Fiori Sera 65% and Chocovic Guaranda, although I've only tried them out of hand, so I don't know how they melt.
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#10 ejw50

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 08:55 PM

For "dark" chocolate, Callebaut semisweet 811NV 54%

Few reasons

1. I can buy it locally for $39.99 for 11 lbs. This is by far cheaper than anything else I can get.

2. My audience. For the most part, I bake for regular people. In my taste tests, they like semisweet more than bittersweet. They also find Callebaut to be more "generic" than Valrhona (for example). In other words, I buy what people like, but also avoid anything too distinctive that they won't like.


For milk chocolate, I use Callebaut (mostly for price). I do not like Callebaut white (and neither did others in informal taste testing), so I buy either El Rey or Valrhona depending on what I am using it for and what is available at the store.

I am definitely not a pro, but neither is my audience. So I buy something that works for me and them.

Edited by ejw50, 20 October 2007 - 08:57 PM.


#11 Kerry Beal

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 03:19 PM

For dark I like Callebaut 815NV which is bittersweet. I find the 811 too sweet for my taste.

Milk - I get 665NV - very smooth and caramelly.

White - Excellent WNV - also very smooth and caramelly.

If I don't have access to the Callebaut I find the chocolate sold under the Presidents Choice label very acceptable (but I notice the bars just got a whole lot smaller). The chocolate sold in big bars in Walmart is also excellent.

#12 prairiegirl

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 07:05 PM

I use a whole assortment of chocolate. I pair different chocolate with the fillings I use. For example I like to use Valrhona Caraibe as part of the ganach for a coffee filling. Candied orange peels I use Valrhona Manjari. I will use Cocoa barry 64% Quayaquil for thin shell moulding, as well as for dipping nuts. I will use El-Rey and Vintage Plantations also. I tend to like Cocoa Barry better than Callebaut, but I also really like Callebaut 665 milk because it does taste very good and I like the colour contrast as it is a light milk chocolate. i have many different chocolate brands on hand because I use them in my chocolate tasting presentations and my clientele also likes the variety I use. Callebaut and Cocoa Barry have a large single origin line of chocolate out on the market, but I go with the small batch producers because they don't deodorize the cocoa butter and they are purchasing some of the best beans on the planet! So when I do a tasting the flavours really pop out and people understand why some chocolate is $3 and why others are $10

#13 David J.

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 09:48 PM

I use Callebaut 811NV for my dark, but I may give the 815NV or even 835NV a try. Most of these basic formulas are available in varying viscosities. The basic taste is the same, but the workability for different techiques varies. If you find a letter in the prefix it means a thicker than normal batch: A-1%, B-2%, C-3% less cocoa butter, and so on. If you get a number in the prefix that means that percentage more: 1-1%, 2-2%, etc. If you like a particular brand but find it too thick you can always add cocoa butter to decrease the viscosity.

I also use Callebaut for Milk and White, but that has been through inertia and I'll probably try other brands when what I have on hand runs out.

#14 tammylc

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 07:24 AM

I was using E. Guittard up until very recently, but i've just switched over to Michel Cluizel. It has great flavor and is very easy to work with. Expensive, but I'm ordering it directly from the distributor, so that puts it within the realm of possibility.

I liked the Guittard, it tempered nicely and had good viscosity, but the 72% had a bit of a smoky bitter finish that some of my tasters noticed and didn't like. The Cluizel has always been my favorite, but was financially out of reach until i figured out to order it direct.

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#15 rmillman

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 09:20 AM

I am not in the industry so I do not need to control my costs as much as those in the industry do. As such, I spend the EXTRA and go for Amedei. Each has a unique flavor profile and they temper and blend incredibly well.

The Chuao is my favorite of all time and the "9" is also really special.

Amedei “9” (Dark) 75%
Amedei Toscano Black (Dark) 70%
Amedei Chuao (Dark)

#16 ejw50

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 06:06 PM

Looking at his book, Frederic Bau uses all sorts of chocolates for the centers. But for coating, he recommends something like Caraque (55-60%). His reasoning is that he is looking for a coating that works with all centers, and some centers do not benefit from "strong coatings".

#17 Mikeb19

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Posted 25 October 2007 - 01:22 AM

My favourites are the Callebaut Origine (single origin) chocolates. The flavours are amazing, and I haven't had any problems working with them.

http://www.callebaut.com/en/150

Edited by Mikeb19, 25 October 2007 - 01:23 AM.


#18 dejaq

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Posted 26 October 2007 - 11:21 AM

This critique is based on over twenty five years of fooling around with couverture.
Disclaimer, I am honest, brutally honest when it comes to taste and performance, if I insult anyone that favors with something below or disagrees with my eval, remember it’s all subjective.


In my experience Callebaut make a fine chocolate, but it’s regarded more as a workhorse AP type these days particularly the 60/40 than anything else with exception to their new Origine varieties, I had an opportunity to try some of them at a recent P.W. seminar, they come to within 90% of the flavor profile of manjari and the java noted below.

Cacao Noel has been consigned to the doldrums of a generic class such as American Gourmet’s (Chef’s Club) private label, inexpensive, yet effective.

Valronha, hmmmm we used it exclusively at the President’s guest house the Maybach of couvertures, pricy cost no object, let’s through our food cost out the window.

Cocoa Barry-one of my ATF, consistent, high quality, their Quayaquil is richer and more
Pronounced with less acidity and astringency than for example DGF’s

Des Alpes- good, actually very good-the garnet is a bit mild in the flavor niche,
But their 70% is superior, I use it daily.

Patisfrance- actually very good, hard to get these days though, they have a Java Milk to die for with earthy, spicy, caramel notes-superior.

DGF- I love the absolute white, the milk is ok, and as noted the Quayaquil is on the acidic Side, for you master blender choco wizards out there this is a nice one to throw into your “custom blend mix”

Chocovic-makes a superior 70% and small change dark, intense, yet with subtle notes in the finish, it’s what I refer to as a balanced couverture, carried locally by Metropolitan.

El Rey-deleterious results, poor sheen. Schokinag Chocolate is unfortunately in the same boat, these guys don’t know how to make chocolate in MHO.

Felchlin-the Lucerne 44% will not function with a quick mousse, it seizes. Flavor profile is weak, the matterhorn , is decent, the Edelweiss, is a bit sweet, their Arriba is good though, if at a premium.

#19 Qui

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 08:05 PM

Thanks for the evaluation! I plan on doing a taste and performance test on different couverture after the holiday, should be a fun project... maybe I will have more question for you when the time comes...




This critique is based on over twenty five years of fooling around with couverture.
Disclaimer, I am honest, brutally honest when it comes to taste and performance, if I insult anyone that favors with something below or disagrees with my eval, remember it’s all subjective.


In my experience Callebaut make a fine chocolate, but it’s regarded more as a workhorse AP type these days particularly the 60/40 than anything else with exception to their new Origine varieties, I had an opportunity to try some of them at a recent P.W. seminar, they come to within 90% of the flavor profile of manjari and the java noted below.

Cacao Noel has been consigned to the doldrums of a generic class such as American Gourmet’s (Chef’s Club) private label, inexpensive, yet effective.

Valronha, hmmmm we used it exclusively at the President’s guest house the Maybach of couvertures, pricy cost no object, let’s through our food cost out the window.

Cocoa Barry-one of my ATF, consistent, high quality, their Quayaquil is richer and more
Pronounced with less acidity and astringency than for example DGF’s

Des Alpes- good, actually very good-the garnet is a bit mild in the flavor niche,
But their 70% is superior, I use it daily.

Patisfrance- actually very good, hard to get these days though, they have a Java Milk to die for with earthy, spicy, caramel notes-superior.

DGF- I love the absolute white, the milk is ok, and as noted the Quayaquil is on the acidic Side, for you master blender choco wizards out there this is a nice one to throw into your  “custom blend mix”

Chocovic-makes a superior 70% and small change dark, intense, yet with subtle notes in the finish, it’s what I refer to as a balanced couverture, carried locally by Metropolitan.

El Rey-deleterious results, poor sheen. Schokinag Chocolate is unfortunately in the same boat, these guys don’t know how to make chocolate in MHO.

Felchlin-the Lucerne 44% will not function with a quick mousse, it seizes. Flavor profile is weak, the matterhorn , is decent, the Edelweiss, is a bit sweet, their Arriba is good though, if at a premium.

View Post



#20 merstar

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 09:18 PM

This critique is based on over twenty five years of fooling around with couverture.
Disclaimer, I am honest, brutally honest when it comes to taste and performance, if I insult anyone that favors with something below or disagrees with my eval, remember it’s all subjective.

Chocovic-makes a superior 70% and small change dark, intense, yet with subtle notes in the finish, it’s what I refer to as a balanced couverture, carried locally by Metropolitan.

View Post


I've only tried the Chocovic 71% Guaranda and 71% Ocumare. Loved the Guaranda, hated the Ocumare.
Is this the Chocovic 70% you're referring to?
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B000OZW7CA

Edited by merstar, 02 December 2007 - 12:10 AM.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#21 dejaq

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:04 PM

This critique is based on over twenty five years of fooling around with couverture.
Disclaimer, I am honest, brutally honest when it comes to taste and performance, if I insult anyone that favors with something below or disagrees with my eval, remember it’s all subjective.

Chocovic-makes a superior 70% and small change dark, intense, yet with subtle notes in the finish, it’s what I refer to as a balanced couverture, carried locally by Metropolitan.

View Post


I've only tried the Chocovic 71% Guaranda and 71% Ocumare. Loved the Guaranda, hated the Ocumare.
Is this the Chocovic 70% you're referring to?
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B000OZW7CA

View Post



the Guaranda which uses forastero arriba cocoa from Ecuador and yes is the best of the lot. Chocovic also make a blended Tobago which actually is a 64% that is spectacular, very nice full bodied flavor.

M

#22 merstar

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 03:08 PM

This critique is based on over twenty five years of fooling around with couverture.
Disclaimer, I am honest, brutally honest when it comes to taste and performance, if I insult anyone that favors with something below or disagrees with my eval, remember it’s all subjective.

Chocovic-makes a superior 70% and small change dark, intense, yet with subtle notes in the finish, it’s what I refer to as a balanced couverture, carried locally by Metropolitan.

View Post


I've only tried the Chocovic 71% Guaranda and 71% Ocumare. Loved the Guaranda, hated the Ocumare.
Is this the Chocovic 70% you're referring to?
http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/B000OZW7CA

View Post



the Guaranda which uses forastero arriba cocoa from Ecuador and yes is the best of the lot. Chocovic also make a blended Tobago which actually is a 64% that is spectacular, very nice full bodied flavor.

M

View Post


Thanks, I'll keep my eyes open for the Tobago.
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.

#23 annachan

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 10:17 PM

For flavor, I love Weiss' milk chocolate with the caramel undertone. I also got the 64% to try out.

#24 golfgirl1227

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 09:02 AM

I use Callebaut D811 for pretty much everything- but I don't make chocolates or candies- just cakes/cookies/brownies/etc. It's what we used in my classes and it works for me now as well. I can get it in large quantities for a reasonable price and no shipping since it's somewhat local (used to be very local, then I moved).

I just saw that you were in KC- I get it from the Chocolate Store/Mid America Gourmet in Lenexa (or maybe OP, not really sure). Have you been there? They have so much chocolate, and it smells incredible in there!!!!

Edited by golfgirl1227, 05 December 2007 - 09:04 AM.