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Wendy DeBord

Chocolate brands

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I have a huge disadvantage in that I don't do my own ordering. I'M A TEMP., I will NOT be placing my own orders (so skip that suggestion). But I still have to comunicate with my chefs what I want and where they can get it- otherwise they'll just order whats cheapest and I'll have no input.

I've given my chef a brand that I want to try E. Guittard (as Steve and Chefette recomend it). He's having a devil of a time finding someone who distributes this. After calling the company dirrect he can buy from them, but they have a 500 LB min. order (and that's not in the relm of possiblities) and two distributors in Chicagoland that carry their brand. Dawn and Bakemark (who if any of you aren't familar with those companies-their both large bakery suppliers), but both companys only carry Guittards coating chocolates, no couveture.

I suggested he call European Imports because they purchased my favorite pastry company "Classic Gourmet" and promised to continue carrying their products. Sooooo turns out EI doesn't have Guittard in stock (aslthough they might be able to special order it)... and the sales person told my chef "Why do you want that brand? No one likes that brand." that's why they don't keep it in stock....

(I didn't appreciate the chef who doesn't have any understanding of chocolate coming back to me telling me that the sales person thinks I'm clueless and I want a crappy chocolate.) Then of course the sales rep. has to confuse my chef and push his stuff. Like I'm clueless and the rep. knows everything. Uurgh!

So this is where I've been in the past:

For many years I used Flechlin brand and loved it. But I was working at a place where money wasn't a problem and buying in their top of the line chocolate wasn't a problem.

So at this new place I was offered Flechlin thru Albert Uster Co. at a great price and I tried a couple boxes. I didn't like this at all. It was their bottom line Flechlin...and had no similarity to their top line.

Next I got in Cocoa Berrys Calaubout (53%). I don't like this either. The semi-sweet has to be adjusted in recipes because of it's density....and over all the taste on all (white, milk, semi) is nothing great-Nestles Choc. chips at the grocery store tastes better to me.

While were searching to Guittard we got in a couple boxes of Calbouet with a 60-something %....and maybe I'll like that better....BUT the price is higher and my Chef is as cheap as they come and I know that price will be an issue down the road.

Soooooo the point to this thread-well I have a couple.

1. Who sells E. Guittard in the Chicago area, anyone know?

2. I'm really mad at European Imports which promised to continue Classic Gourmets product line and have in only a very short time NOT followed thru with that promise. They are NOT stocking anything/product that doesn't do alot of volume. BUT as you and I know we need specialty ingredients and finding them is HARD. We don't need theses items in huge volumes. AND European Imports knew this before they bought Classic Gourmet- that's what was so unique about Classic Gourmet they had all the specialty ingred.. SOOOOoooo I'm really upset that I they broke their promise and I'm going to be struggling finding ingred. in the future. I want my Classic Gourmet back!

3. Sales rep.s- rrrrrrrr!


Edited by Sinclair (log)

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I'm afraid this isn't going to help you much, but Sur la Table carries blocks of E Guittard at outrageously inflated prices. Just in case you wanted to get some to try out and see if it's worth the hassle tracking down a supplier.

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2. I'm really mad at European Imports which promised to continue Classic Gourmets product line and have in only a very short time NOT followed thru with that promise.

"We're not going to change anything" is merger-speak for "it'll be gone in six months, tops."

Are your chefs willing to get it by mail order? chocosphere carries Guittard, probably some others do to.

(Locally I can buy the 'classic' Guittard at Sahadi's in Brooklyn for pretty cheap)


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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As a former sales rep (although not for food products) let me say what my mom said to me:

You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.

Yep, he's a jerk.

Yep, he said the wrong thing.

But, he can get you what you want, perhaps at a price the chef will go for.

Suck it up, and ask him if he can get it for you. You might be suprised what else he has access to that you might like/want/need.

The Defense rests.

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Hi Wendy. If you don't mind ordering by mail there is a company called Chocolate Man owned by Bill Fredericks. The have a web site at www.chocolateman.net. but not all of the varieties they carry are featured there. So request a printed catalogue and order from it. They will sell as little as a pound so you can try several of their offerings. According to the catalogue they carry 4 of Guittard's new european style chocolates. They carry only couvertures and no coatings. Hope this helps.


Fred Rowe

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Thanks for the suggestions of mail order.....but thats just not done in kitchens. It's always a major hassle to buy anything from a company thats not one of their established proveyors...meaning you have an account (usually with net 30 or similar) and terms with them. It's a really hassle getting a check cut from their petty cash.

Some restaurants/clubs are more liberal and you can place phone orders using the companies credit card.....but the clubs I'm working for now-not a chance I'd even suggest it.

Still hoping someone might know of a source in the mid-west?

Were any of you clients of Classic Gourmet? I'm really sad they're gone. They had great service, all the European products, the best lines for everything......I used to buy from them for myself and they never were a hassle over miniums or "who I was" (not a company). Is there any other one stop source/company thats similar (upscale pastry products) that anyone knows of?

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I am not sure if they are in the Chicago area but The Chefs Warehouse (AKA Dairyland) carries Guittard Chcolate. If I recall it comes in 5 kg boxes. They are based out of New York, however, we have a distributor here in Washington DC. Good Luck

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Wendy,

I had the same problem trying to get E. Guittard.

I was schellped around to a wholesale baking co. here (right up the street, actually) that I had never heard of, and they didn't carry the good stuff.

They could special order it.

However, they were cool, and put me in touch with a rep from E.Guittard, who said he was going to send me samples.

I'm still waiting.

Surprising that these people ( Guittard) want to make it so hard for anyone to get their product.

I'll just keep lobbing the bosses bucks on Valrhona and Cocoa Noel.

Chumps!


Edited by tan319 (log)

2317/5000

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I wonder- is it Guittard thats doing a poor job getting their product out there finding distributors and giving their sales staff samples/ammunition to promote their products?

Or maybe it's the system-

From what I've noticed flechlin seems to be dissapearing from sources. Its wierd because there was this big push/deals/low pricing.....now I don't even see them listed in Usters catalogs. ......were they just trying to unload what they had in stock to purge them from their company-thats my guess.

Guittard does good business selling their coating chocolates -apeels....everyone I know buys them. Why not their high end chocolate??

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Wendy,

When I was working in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I got all my chocolate from a company over in the Detroit area called GREAT LAKES GOURMET. I was using only Callebaut pistoles, but I believe they carried other brands as well.

Unfortunately I don't have their address or phone number somewhere convenient, but I do think I have it somewhere at home among all my papers. I know Michael Laiskonis has mentioned them before, so you might try sending him a PM and see if he knows more info.

If he doesn't respond in a timely manner ( I know he is a very busy person ), let me know and I will dig up their number ( although I don't know how current it is -it has been a few years since I have been in Michigan )

Hope this helps,

Jason

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I think Guittard is doing exclusive deals with people who are already carrying their products like chocolate chips and therefore, the distributors who would sell the high end stuff to the likes of you and I, can't get their hands on it.

Out here at least, the small purveyors have kind of vanished.

I wouldn't mind giving this small company some of my biz but I don't want to commit to buying a huge amount at a time and also, I don't want to screw the people who have always been there, have always followed me from gig to gig, and always try to get me what I want.


2317/5000

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Wendy,

When I was working in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I got all my chocolate from a company over in the Detroit area called GREAT LAKES GOURMET. I was using only Callebaut pistoles, but I believe they carried other brands as well.

Unfortunately I don't have their address or phone number somewhere convenient, but I do think I have it somewhere at home among all my papers. I know Michael Laiskonis has mentioned them before, so you might try sending him a PM and see if he knows more info.

If he doesn't respond in a timely manner ( I know he is a very busy person ), let me know and I will dig up their number ( although I don't know how current it is -it has been a few years since I have been in Michigan )

Hope this helps,

Jason

While I maintain a friendly relationship with these guys, I honestly haven't used them in a couple of years. I know they used to carry all of the Guittard chips and such, but I'm unsure if they picked up the E. Guittard line when it was launched- I haven't seen their book in a while. It is worth giving them a ring as they do ship outside of the Detroit area. Their primary lines are Patisfance, Ravi, Noel, etc.

Great Lakes Gourmet/Tom Chaput 248.735.1700 or glg@voyager.net

And Wendy, if you are looking for Felchlin's Maracaibo line (they have some newer 'origin' chocolate from Ecuador and Madagascar, too) you simply have to go through Mid-West Imports right there in Chicago... 800.621.3372 or midwestimports@earthlink.net

As for European Imports, did you speak with their pastry guy Michael Cohen, or just whoever answered the phone? Michael may be able to give you better information or sources. His extension is 226 at 773.227.0600

Hope this helps!


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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Thanks Michael those are a couple helpful leads.

Yes, Chef talks to whom ever ansers the phone and I think being able to dirrect him to someone (by name) at European I.'s should be very helpful, Thanks!

I have to keep price as a top consideration. I don't think Flechlins lower end is very good and their high end isn't cheap enough...unless somethings changed...

Who are you buying the most from/finding the most products you like (with all pastry items) Michael?

I was really hoping European was going to be a one stop shopping source....and Midwest has never carried much of an assortment....Great Lakes is interesting-but I fear shipping will be an issue at this club.

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Who are you buying the most from/finding the most products you like (with all pastry items) Michael?

For basic pastry items, I use a variety of distributors and primarily shop for price, as so much product overlaps. But then every company has a niche, a couple of unique items, so I do get a lot through European (true, the closest you might get to one stop shopping), Chef Source (a local offshoot of Mid-West, and someone who is willing to find anything I want, as long as I am willing to pay for it) and occasionally a few things from Uster. With those three and the occasional one night stand, I'm covered.

For me the fun begins looking for all of the off-beat, kooky items I use more and more of... Tekla in Chicago for interesting cheese and dairy items, Yamasho for Japanese stuff, Fresh and Wild for hard to find dry ingredients, Chef's Garden for expensive, but fun, herbs and fruit... I'm endlessly scouring the little ethnic shops for stuff like jaggery, huezo, an paste, etc. And health food stores are good for stuff like lecithin, ascorbic acid, and other dry ingredients like buttermilk powder. That is really where I am right now- I'm happy with where I find the basics, but constantly on the look out for the not so basic...


Michael Laiskonis

Pastry Chef

New York

www.michael-laiskonis.com

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Ambassador Fine Foods carries Guittard Chocolates. Believe they

have a warehouse in Chicago as well as in Los Angeles.

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Wendy,

I had the same problem trying to get E. Guittard.

I was schellped around to a wholesale baking co. here (right up the street, actually) that I had never heard of, and they didn't carry the good stuff.

They could special order it.

However, they were cool, and put me in touch with a rep from E.Guittard, who said he was going to send me samples.

I'm still waiting.

Surprising that these people ( Guittard) want to make it so hard for anyone to get their product.

I'll just keep lobbing the bosses bucks on Valrhona and Cocoa Noel.

Chumps!

Ok, I take it all back, kind of.

I had originally spoken to a Guittard rep before Xmas, who said he would be sending me some samples of the E.Guittard 'Collection Etienne' line.

Which I never received.

However, a few weeks ago, I spoke to the owner of the small, more commercial oriented (supermarket cakes supply,etc.) company, who I think had called me, doing a follow up call.

I told her what had happened, she said she would take care of it.

This morning she called me to tell me my samples were in.

Six 1.1lb. boxes of 'em!

I just picked them up from her.

I have the whole line up, I think.

31% White

38% Milk

55% Semi (?)

58% Bitter

61% Bitter

72% Bitter

I just tasted the 72% and it kicks butt!

Beautiful mouth feel, extraordinary taste, very nuanced but not real wine-ish, like a Valrhona Grand Cru Guanaja 70%

I'm knocked out.

And the 72% is going for around $37 for 11 lb.

I'm not crazy about the white.

The milk choc is nice, different. Very 'dairy-ish', not as much caramel as you would usually taste in a milk.

The 55% is pretty assertive. Nice and bold.

The 58% is a little less bold, I kind of like the 55% better.

The 61% is great, really broad, truly bitter and sweet.

I have to say other then the taste, what's really impressing me is the way it melts in your mouth.

I haven't had chocolate do that for me in a long time.

From Cocoa Noel to Cocoa Barry all the way to Valrhona, this Guittard stuff just melts in your mouth in a really wonderful way.

I'm going to cook with it this week, I'll let you know how it goes.


2317/5000

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I have had similar difficulty in finding the E. Guittard line in South Florida-- last year there was even a rep at the SoBe Food and Wine Fest, and I asked where I could buy their super size chips-- and he said there was no retail outlet anywhere here. He suggested I buy from the website. I only had to point outside and ask how the chocolate would hold up in the Florida heat. I'm resigned to only ordering chocolate by mail or web from November to February.

Neil


Author of the Mahu series of mystery novels set in Hawaii.

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Hum....interesting review Ted-now I want to try it even more!!!

The melt in your mouth point: THAT's EXACTLY WHAT I CAN'T FIND in any other brands I'm getting comercially.

The low end Flechlin won't melt in your mouth no matter how long you hold it in, just wierd-I mean, even nestles chocolate chips melt in your mouth. The brands I've gotten, Flechlin (low end only) and Cocoa Berrys Callauet have the texture and mouth feel and taste of cheap coating chocolates.

Specificly what is it in the chocolates make-up that does that or prevents melt? If I could look at the side of a box and read that ingredient I'd know instantly if I wasn't going to like the product.

Hoping someone can enlighten me...........

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I just don't think you can get any good mouth feel from a chocolate with a low price break. Stuff here (near NYC) in the mid $2/lb. range just ends up acting like a tootsie roll to me. Too many added ingredients that don't melt near 98 degrees..

Tan- did you find the E. Guittard white a bit too -- bland -- for your taste? Meaning not as floral or such? Drew Schotts told me that they're formulating it to be more "neutral" in flavor kowing that the pro's would probably use it in conjunction with other things. My only gripe is how fast E. Guittard sludges up when working with it for enrobing. I always have to thin it a bit.


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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Wendy,

I went on the Guittard site last night to read their philosophy, so to speak, and mouth feel was one of the things they were going for, it seems.

I'm not sure what people are adding to their chocolate that keeps the melting point high.

Tchorst, even Valrhona, which is hardly a low end product, i think you would agree, doesn't just dissolve over your tongue like the Guittard. Maybe the Valrhona faves (their pistoles) would, but even a small piece of the Valrhona high percentages don't have that feel.

Re: white chocolate.

Yes, the Guittard white was pretty neutral, not real attractive in taste to me.

My fave whites are El Rey, which I find awesome tasting but too finicky to work with, and Cocoa Noel, which seems to get the job done.

I like Cocoa Barry white also. The Valrhona White is good but the 'Noel comes right up on it to me, for the price.


2317/5000

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Ted,

Might have something to do with the kind of cocoa butter added to the blend. The same thing that causes E. guittard to *sludge* for me has been described to me as being the type of cocoa butter used. Drew referred to it as "hard crack".

Just a thought.


Timothy C. Horst

www.pastrypros.com

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I'm not in charge of ordering at the establishment I work at (in Chicago), but I am aware of what we do receive and what we request as well. As recently as last week, our main supplier, Dawn, brought over a large array of brand new E. Guittard samples for us. I'm not sure what type of couveture you need, but we saw a pretty nice selection of %s, an excellent white, and a milk--along with the coating chocolate you were talking about which we weren't interested in. Phil has yet to give us prices since I believe they JUST began carrying this and haven't started shipping it out yet. (to my knowledge) We're most certainly going to order the E. Guittard over our current Callebaut if the prices aren't outrageous. I'm just wondering if you contacted Dawn a while back and this is a recent development that they now carry it? I'm just curious, and also curious of your findings since we're not very happy with the chocolate we currently use. Good luck in your search!


Edited by Elizabeth_11 (log)

-Elizabeth

Mmmmmmm chocolate.

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Ted,

Might have something to do with the kind of cocoa butter added to the blend. The same thing that causes E. guittard to *sludge* for me has been described to me as being the type of cocoa butter used. Drew referred to it as "hard crack".

Just a thought.

I cooked with the 55 and 58% today, Tchorst, and found the same sludge factor, as you described.

It melted nicely and when it started to cool it got very thick, it was kind of weird.

But I just kept it slightly warm and everything was fine.

It wasn't as taxing to work with as El Rey, let's put it that way.


2317/5000

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Ted,

Might have something to do with the kind of cocoa butter added to the blend. The same thing that causes E. guittard to *sludge* for me has been described to me as being the type of cocoa butter used. Drew referred to it as "hard crack".

Just a thought.

I cooked with the 55 and 58% today, Tchorst, and found the same sludge factor, as you described.

It melted nicely and when it started to cool it got very thick, it was kind of weird.

But I just kept it slightly warm and everything was fine.

It wasn't as taxing to work with as El Rey, let's put it that way.

Here are some things to consider....

Are you you working with 55% and 58% couverture or baking chocolate?

Every chocolate manufacturer - Valrhona, Cocao Barry, Callebaut, Carma, El Rey -all produce both.

Are you going to be making chocolates with molds or enrobing with it? Do you require a shine on the chocolate? If so, you need to use couverture. Couverture requires tempering - not just simply melting. Never expect chocolate to perform correctly if it is not tempered correctly.

Baking chocolate does not require tempering. It is used for ganache and baking. It will always be cheaper than couverture.

There are also products that can be used to enrobe that require no tempering. These contain vegetable oils.

The kind of cocao butter is not the factor that determines the fluidity, 'melt-ability', mouthfeel or quality. The determining factor on these is the legnth of time the chocolate is conched. The flavor is dependent upon the type of beans used.

First you need to determine how you are going to use the chocolate - then you need to pick wich one you are going to use.

What you might want to do is call your supplier and simply ask to speak to the person on staff who knows the most about the chocolate they carry. Tell him/her what your requirements are - couverture/baking, flavor profile (fruity, smoky, acidic etc.) and price. Also use a tempering machine - it will maintain the proper temperature you need to work with the chocolate without the guess work.

Hope that helps a little.

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I'm not using it to temper or enrobe, etc.

I'm cooking with it.

All of these chocolates have different characters that make them different to work with.

Thanks for the info about conching, I've always been under the impression that a longer conching time helped determine mouthfeel.


2317/5000

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