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Chocolate Advice

Chocolate

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39 replies to this topic

#1 ChristopherMichael

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 12:53 AM

I'm just curious to find out what people have had success with what chocolate. This is the thing. When I went to culinary school they barely touched on chocolate, by barely I mean not even 1 day. So my knowledge of chocolate is from researching, reading and working with it at home on my spare time. Now that I know this is the direction I want to go with my career (don't want to work the line forever), I'm going to start focusing on chocolate and open my own shop in the next year or two. The only problem is, with all the chocolate companies out there with there many different chocolates they offer and my limited budget, it's hard to buy and work with every chocolate product out there. So I decided to ask the veterans, enthusiast or whomever for their experiences with the chocolate they have used, i.e.- brand, actual product from that brand, what application they used it for (enrobing/dipping, molding<ganache filled/solid, etc.>, centers, etc..), results and whatever information that you find to appropriate. Once I get an idea of what people have used and their results, I will then try to pick a few different ones for myself to try. I really appreciate any help you can give me and thanks! :biggrin:

Does anyone want to sell me 1 or 2 pounds of chocolate their using? I will also pay for shipping. Thanks.

Edited by ChristopherMichael, 18 April 2006 - 12:26 PM.


#2 Truffle Guy

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:03 AM

I'm just curious to find out what people have had success with what chocolate. This is the thing. When I went to culinary school they barely touched on chocolate, by barely I mean not even 1 day. So my knowledge of chocolate is from researching, reading and working with it at home on my spare time. Now that I know this is the direction I want to go with my career (don't want to work the line forever), I'm going to start focusing on chocolate and open my own shop in the next year or two. The only problem is, with all the chocolate companies out there with there many different chocolates they offer and my limited budget, it's hard to buy and work with every chocolate product out there. So I decided to ask the veterans, enthusiast or whomever for their experiences with the chocolate they have used, i.e.- brand, actual product from that brand, what application they used it for (enrobing/dipping, molding<ganache filled/solid, etc.>, centers, etc..), results and whatever information that you find to appropriate. Once I get an idea of what people have used and their results, I will then try to pick a few different ones for myself to try. I really appreciate any help you can give me and thanks!  :biggrin:

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I've had my best success with El Rey and really like it's flavor when enrobing or for molded chocolates. I've also used Chocovic, Valrhona, Scharffen Berger, E. Guittard and Callebaut. I live in Florida and it might be that El Rey just does best in the high heat and humidity for some reason which brings me back to it. Personally, although budget is not a real concern for me, I think some of the bigger names are a bit overrated, I think there is a bit of a snob factor. Not that they don't taste great, I just don't think they are really any better. You buy a French chocolate....you pay more....despite the fact the beans originate from the same location. But...you should try for yourself. I will say I like Callebaut for ganache, it seems to be richer and deeper flavors. And...Valrhona white is excellent...you just have to decide if it is worth the price...it isn't cheap.

#3 SweetSide

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 05:20 AM

And, while I have so little experience with chocolate, I will say that I DON'T like Callebaut for coating and eating. The flavor is fine, which is why it would work in ganache or for baking, but it doesn't seem to melt as smoothly on the tongue.

For an inexpensive chocolate, I use Cacao Barry. Same company as Callebaut, but I find it melts better in the mouth.

I've used E. Guittard a lot also and like that better than Cacao Barry. But, since I'm not selling product at the moment -- just playing around -- I haven't bought the E. Guittard.
Cheryl, The Sweet Side

#4 jturn00

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 06:24 AM

I've found I really like El Rey but I also like becolade and felchlin.

#5 bibbotson

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 07:45 AM

I've found the best quality/price balance to be Cacao Noel.
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#6 Sebastian

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:31 AM

I think what you'll find is a situation of ask 100 people, get 100 answers. Ultimately, you're the best measuring stick - no one can tell you what you like (although marketers sure spend a lot of time trying!). My advice is to try a dozen or so manufacturer's, get samples and make up product using each of them, and experiment to find what works for you, your environment, your applications, and ultimately, your customer. Also, you may want to give some thought as to what type of customer/technical support each manufacturerer offers, as believe me, you'll have good days and not so good days. A little tech support can go a long way!

I know, I know... testing dozens of chocolates is a horrible job. Someone's got to do it...

#7 Sebastian

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 08:32 AM

I think what you'll find is a situation of ask 100 people, get 100 answers. Ultimately, you're the best measuring stick - no one can tell you what you like (although marketers sure spend a lot of time trying!). My advice is to try a dozen or so manufacturer's, get samples and make up product using each of them, and experiment to find what works for you, your environment, your applications, and ultimately, your customer. Also, you may want to give some thought as to what type of customer/technical support each manufacturerer offers, as believe me, you'll have good days and not so good days. A little tech support can go a long way!

I know, I know... testing dozens of chocolates is a horrible job. Someone's got to do it...

edit - erm.. that's weird. apologies for the double.

Edited by Sebastian, 18 April 2006 - 08:33 AM.


#8 Beanie

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 10:24 AM

First I want to say welcome to eGullet! I would agree that you should try to get samples from different manufacturers and see what works for your applications. Many of the companies mentioned have web sites, with recommendations on best uses. I've used Callebaut for basic things like brownies and it was fine, but it didn't work well for enrobing. However, Callebaut manufacturers different varieties and some are more viscous than others, but I only have access to one. This raises another issue: apart from taste preferences and applications, you need to identify reliable sources in your area, wholesale prices, minimum order requirements. Shipping costs can be prohibitive.
Ilene

#9 duckduck

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 11:00 AM

I'm in the same boat of trying to figure out what I like and not having the funds to try it all. I really wish there was a sampler box out there of just a small piece of everything. Would be nice. We do have a local shop that has everything they sell in small chunks behind the counter but you have to know enough to ask.

May be a dumb question but at the big chocolate show in NY, do they have just companies that sell molded, boxed chocolates or do the vendors that sell bulk chocolate show up and have samples as well?

There are a few companies that show up at the tradeshow at the forum in Phoenix. Felchlin and Guittard come to mind but I know there are others. I've been talking with a friend about finding other people in my local area and asking what they have and would be willing to swap small chunks of.
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#10 Desiderio

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 11:28 AM

I am actually working with Callebaut ( for enrobing, dipping ,molding).
I was very couriuos about El rey and I wanted to make a big order but I wanted to try first , so I found some El rey is sold at my local Whole foods market , I had the chance to try the 73.5 % ,the 70%( my least favorite ), the 61%, the 58% the white and the 41% milk , and Ihave to say I think El rey will be one of my first choise as soon as the budget permits. The 73.5% and the 41% milk are AWESOME , I am litterally in love with them ,they are very fluid as well as the aroma and flavor and taste are formidable.
I think i am going to order some soon even though its getting warm here I might wait till the fall season for my new production.
Callebaut is fine , and budget friendly , but I am not 100% satisfied , but there are lots of the Callebaut anyway and I havent try them all ( long way to go ),I think I like a chocolate that is more fluid and more unique in its taste and aroma , and El rey is on of those for sure.
http://www.callebaut.../?item_id=20302
http://sales.chocola....com/Search.bok
I never tryed Valrhona , and they sell it at the whole food market as well but at 17.00$ per lb it scared me away, maybe I shoul just try to say I have :raz:

Edited by Desiderio, 18 April 2006 - 11:37 AM.

Vanessa

#11 ChristopherMichael

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 11:38 AM

Thanks to everyone that has replied to the thread. I know I should try to work with them myself, but I just wanted a starting point so I don't have a ton of excess chocolate when I'm done trying the product. It's hard to find small amounts of chocolate that I can use as samples around here (Southern CA), because we don't seem to have any chocolatiers (exempt Rocky Mountain if you can call them that). I did buy a 11lb slab of Callebaut 60-40, but now I have 10lbs left after working with it a little and $40 out of my pocket. If I do this with every chocolate I will be broke and have a lot of extra chocolate (not bad, but..).

Does anyone know where I can get samples from? I tried to contact a couple of distributor and they don't seem to care about helping me.

Duckduck- I went to the NY Chocolate show this past year and I did see a couple of manufacturers. I believe they were E. Guittard and Becolade ifI remember correctly.

Does any one want to sell me say a pound or two of whatever they're working with and I will pay the going rate and shipping?

Edited by ChristopherMichael, 18 April 2006 - 11:40 AM.


#12 Desiderio

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 11:44 AM

Thanks to everyone that has replied to the thread. I know I should try to work with them myself, but I just wanted a starting point so I don't have a ton of excess chocolate when I'm done trying the product. It's hard to find small amounts of chocolate that I can use as  samples around here (Southern CA), because we don't seem to have any chocolatiers (exempt Rocky Mountain if you can call them that). I did buy a 11lb slab of Callebaut 60-40, but now I have 10lbs left after working with it a little and $40 out of my pocket. If I do this with every chocolate I will be broke and have a lot of extra chocolate (not bad, but..).

Does anyone know where I can get samples from? I tried to contact a couple of distributor and they don't seem to care about helping me.

Duckduck- I went to the NY Chocolate show this past year and I did see a couple of manufacturers. I believe they were E. Guittard and Becolade ifI remember correctly.

Does any one want to sell me say a pound or two of whatever they're working with and I will pay the going rate and shipping?

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Did you try local whole food market http://www.wholefood.../list_CA-s.html
There I found some different chocolates.They sell them in pieces or discs ( wich are great , here in Colorado I found the callebaut , valrhona El rey .

Edited by Desiderio, 18 April 2006 - 11:46 AM.

Vanessa

#13 duckduck

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:00 PM

You're familiar with chocosphere too, right? He does break some things down into smaller amounts.
Pamela Wilkinson
www.portlandfood.org
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

#14 R Washburn

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:11 PM

I often buy Valrhona from Assouline and Ting in Philadelphia. Most types are in the $6-8/pound range, which are good prices for Valrhona.

#15 Desiderio

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 02:15 PM

I often buy Valrhona from Assouline and Ting in Philadelphia.  Most types are in the $6-8/pound range, which are good prices for Valrhona.

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Umm good prices thank you for the link :smile:
Vanessa

#16 joiei

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:01 PM

get in touch with the Albert Uster rep in your area and talk to them. Another possibility, get yourself to the Western Foodservice show when it happens in the South of California. A good source for suppliers.
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#17 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:53 PM

ChristopherMichael,

I'm in Canada and the Callebaut I get is from Belgium. I have had some of the american Callebaut and didn't like it at all (with the exception of the new maple white chocolate they are making, which is amazing in flavour, but way to viscous for molding).

I use Callebaut Milk Smooth 665, dark excellent 815, white excellent WNV - all 3 have the 3 drop rating ie viscocity appropriate for molding, dipping and a variety of purposes.

I went through a number of different chocolates before I settled on these ones. The milk is very smooth, with excellent caramel flavour. The white is also very smooth, with caramel and vanilla. The dark is a strong bittersweet.

I have also recently tried some Belcolade, the supplier in Canada is Puratos. Puratos is also in the US. I enjoyed their milk and white, but the only dark they were carrying was too sweet for my taste. I do have some samples of their organic and single origins to try yet. They make little sample bars that you could probably get the rep at Puratos to send you. Rumour has it that Jacques Torres uses the Belcolade.

If you are interested in samples of the Callebaut chocolates send me a PM.

#18 ChristopherMichael

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:08 PM

ChristopherMichael,

I'm in Canada and the Callebaut I get is from Belgium.  I have had some of the american Callebaut and didn't like it at all (with the exception of the new maple white chocolate they are making, which is amazing in flavour, but way to viscous for molding). 

I use  Callebaut Milk Smooth 665, dark excellent 815, white excellent WNV  - all 3 have the 3 drop rating ie viscocity appropriate for molding, dipping and a variety of purposes. 

I went through a number of different chocolates before I settled on these ones.  The milk is very smooth, with excellent caramel flavour.  The white is also very smooth, with caramel and vanilla.  The dark is a strong bittersweet. 

I have also recently tried some Belcolade, the supplier in Canada is Puratos.  Puratos is also in the US.  I enjoyed their milk and white, but the only dark they were carrying was too sweet for my taste.  I do have some samples of their organic and single origins to try yet.  They make little sample bars that you could probably get the rep at Puratos to send you.  Rumour has it that Jacques Torres uses the Belcolade. 

If you are interested in samples of the Callebaut chocolates send me a PM.

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I would love some samples! I will send you a PM. Jacques Torres use to use Belcolade, but he now makes his own chocolate, which is ok. I will try to contact Puratos and see if I can get them to send me some samples of Belcolade. Thanks!

#19 ChristopherMichael

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 04:17 PM

Did you try local whole food market http://www.wholefood.../list_CA-s.html
There I found some different chocolates.They sell them in pieces or discs ( wich are great , here in Colorado I found the callebaut , valrhona  El rey .

View Post


I do have a wholefoods a few miles from me. I didn't know they sold bulk chocolate, but it appears that they're really expensive. Thanks for the advice and I will stop by there and see what they carry. Thanks.

#20 Desiderio

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 05:40 PM

Did you try local whole food market http://www.wholefood.../list_CA-s.html
There I found some different chocolates.They sell them in pieces or discs ( wich are great , here in Colorado I found the callebaut , valrhona  El rey .

View Post


I do have a wholefoods a few miles from me. I didn't know they sold bulk chocolate, but it appears that they're really expensive. Thanks for the advice and I will stop by there and see what they carry. Thanks.

View Post


Yes unfortunally their prices are very high , I only bought the El rey becuase I wanted to try it out , but I wouldnt and couldnt buy in bulk form them , cant afford it .Next time will be probably from the El rey site the big whole sale 10 kilos package they have free shipping for that as well
I do buy some guittard form the chocolateman.com also he has some good prices on those.

Edited by Desiderio, 18 April 2006 - 05:41 PM.

Vanessa

#21 ChristopherMichael

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 05:57 PM

I orginally posted how I thought El Rey was expensive, but then I noticed that the blocks they have for sell are for 10kg and not 5kg.

Edited by ChristopherMichael, 18 April 2006 - 06:00 PM.


#22 Desiderio

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 06:11 PM

I orginally posted how I thought El Rey was expensive, but then I noticed that the blocks they have for sell are for 10kg and not 5kg.

View Post


Yes its good price I think the best you can find for El rey , and you can actually choose two different type , I was thinking to order the 10 kilos one with half 73.5 % and half dark milk 41% , that should do it .Actually I am wrong there are different option of mixing or just chose one type i think the mix half and half is for the rio caraibe only.I havent try that one yet, and I just checked and teh sale its over on the rio caraibe 10 kilos :sad: Ahh i should have bought it when I saw it.

Edited by Desiderio, 19 April 2006 - 01:02 AM.

Vanessa

#23 Desiderio

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 12:58 AM

Does anyone ever tryed the guttard Etoile 58%?
If yes can you give me your opinion on flavor viscostity handling in general?
Thank you
Vanessa

#24 sirch1980

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 03:04 AM

Valrhona is my first choice
Callebaut : compare the price is very good
Lindt: waste money
Michel Cluizel: good but compare the price, i'll choice Valrhona.

#25 Sebastian

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 04:34 AM

Other US companies you may wish to consider:

Wilbur Chocolate
Peter's Chocolate
Guittard
Blommer
ADM

Each of them have a web site with contact information. You may be able to contact their sales department and request samples, or you can ask them who your nearest distributor is. If you have trouble finding contact information, I can probably help with that 8-)

#26 SweetSide

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 05:16 AM

Does anyone ever tryed the guttard Etoile 58%?
If yes can you give me your opinion on flavor viscostity handling in general?
Thank you

View Post


We used the Guittard Etoile 58% at work. I don't have much chocolate experience, but I liked it. Flavor I liked better than the Callebaut and Cacao Barry that I use at home (but use those because of cost). I used the Etoile for dipping and liked the viscosity better as well. We used Belcolade in school for dipping, and I liked the Etoile better. If I'm recalling right, I also thought the Etoile had a more fruitty undertone, something that I personally prefer.

Just tried some Schocinag (sp?) extra bitter yesterday (75%) and nearly fell over. Normally I don't like eating plain chocolate much over 61% and this was not bitter in my mouth at all. Very smooth.
Cheryl, The Sweet Side

#27 Matsu

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 08:25 AM

Thanks to everyone that has replied to the thread. I know I should try to work with them myself, but I just wanted a starting point so I don't have a ton of excess chocolate when I'm done trying the product. It's hard to find small amounts of chocolate that I can use as  samples around here (Southern CA

View Post



If you're in Southern California have you been to Surfas in Culver City?
They sell many different brands of Chocolate in small quantities... This is their
website... https://www.surfason...ctlines/118.cfm . They also give discounts to
culinary students. It's a restaurant supply type of store with both food and equipment.

Edited by Matsu, 19 April 2006 - 08:28 AM.


#28 Desiderio

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 04:07 PM

I often buy Valrhona from Assouline and Ting in Philadelphia.  Most types are in the $6-8/pound range, which are good prices for Valrhona.

View Post



I just ordered several lb of chocolate form them as well , since their prices are very nice, but my order is still pending , they are very slow to get back to me with the confermation and shipping cost email, I dont know how they work this is the first time ordering with them.Are they usually slow on processing or its just me?

Thank you
Vanessa

#29 Patrick S

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 04:26 PM

Desiderio, please report back how well they handle your order. If they do right by you, my next order will be with them.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#30 Desiderio

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Posted 21 April 2006 - 12:32 PM

Umm still nothing, order still pending, sent couple of email to see if there was any problem, but no replay.I am getting little bit impatient.
Will report as soon as they contact me or process the order.
Vanessa





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