Choosing a Couverture

Pantoufle
@pantoufle
02/18/15 06:24:08PM
4 posts

Hi All,

I am considering starting a chocolate business and am in the process of trying to decide on the couvertures I would like to use for my product lines.  I'm wondering if others can share their input on how they went about deciding on the couverture you would eventually use in your business?

So far I have tasted around 40 different couvertures and I don't feel like I am anywhere close to finding a perfect dark, milk, or white chocolate that I'd like to use for my recipes.  The brands of couvertures I have tasted so far have been Felchlin, Valrhona, El Rey, Callebaut, Guittard, and E. Guittard.  I have tasted a few from each brand, but not every variety that each of those brands sells.  Some of those have been very good, but I am still searching.  I'd really like to find a way to get a very large sampling of different couvertures so that I feel like I've made an informed decision and that my products are the best they can be.

So far I have been limited to what I can find locally in small quantities.  I'm trying to avoid buying several pounds of a couverture that I just want to taste.  Can other chocolatiers offer suggestions on how you went about buying small samples of couverture to taste so that you could make a decision for your product line? 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!


updated by @pantoufle: 04/09/15 03:31:51PM
mda@umgdirectresponse.com
@michael-arnovitz
02/18/15 07:45:56PM
59 posts

You might want to think about these guys; for what you're attempting it seems like as convenient a way to begin as any: https://www.chocosphere.com

Sonia Christidis
@sonia-christidis
02/18/15 08:56:35PM
1 posts

Pantoufle:
Hi All, I am considering starting a chocolate business and am in the process of trying to decide on the couvertures I would like to use for my product lines.  I'm wondering if others can share their input on how they went about deciding on the couverture you would eventually use in your business? So far I have tasted around 40 different couvertures and I don't feel like I am anywhere close to finding a perfect dark, milk, or white chocolate that I'd like to use for my recipes.  The brands of couvertures I have tasted so far have been Felchlin, Valrhona, El Rey, Callebaut, Guittard, and E. Guittard.  I have tasted a few from each brand, but not every variety that each of those brands sells.  Some of those have been very good, but I am still searching.  I'd really like to find a way to get a very large sampling of different couvertures so that I feel like I've made an informed decision and that my products are the best they can be. So far I have been limited to what I can find locally in small quantities.  I'm trying to avoid buying several pounds of a couverture that I just want to taste.  Can other chocolatiers offer suggestions on how you went about buying small samples of couverture to taste so that you could make a decision for your product line?  Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

Hello another brand you might consider is Belcolade,  a Belgian couverture very nice. As far as buying small batches to sample, you might want to try Ebay.  

Ruth Atkinson Kendrick
@ruth-atkinson-kendrick
02/18/15 09:07:00PM
194 posts

While the taste is extremely important, don't forget viscosity, and what flavors you are planning to use with it. I think most chocolatiers use several different chocolates for different purposes. Also, some chocolates are easier to source than others, depending on where you live.

Pantoufle
@pantoufle
02/19/15 07:06:30PM
4 posts

Michael Arnovitz:
You might want to think about these guys; for what you're attempting it seems like as convenient a way to begin as any: https://www.chocosphere.com

Thanks for the suggestion, Michael.  I purchased couverture from Chocosphere once and was very happy with them.  One thought I had was to possibly just start emailing places like Chocosphere and asking if they ever sell smaller sample sizes of the couvertures they offer.

Pantoufle
@pantoufle
02/19/15 07:08:46PM
4 posts

Sonia Christidis:
Hello another brand you might consider is Belcolade,  a Belgian couverture very nice. As far as buying small batches to sample, you might want to try Ebay.  

Sonia - eBay is a great suggestion.  I had not thought of them for small quantities of couverture.  Thanks!

Pantoufle
@pantoufle
02/19/15 07:30:38PM
4 posts

Ruth Atkinson Kendrick:
While the taste is extremely important, don't forget viscosity, and what flavors you are planning to use with it. I think most chocolatiers use several different chocolates for different purposes. Also, some chocolates are easier to source than others, depending on where you live.

Hi Ruth - Thanks for replying to my post.  What an honor!  I actually just bought your Candymaking book and it just arrived a couple days ago!  It was recommended to me by my instructor, Kerry Beal, at Ecole Chocolat.  I wrote about a difficult time I had with making cherry cordials that leaked.  Kerry said your book could possibly help with that issue.  I'm looking forward to reading it! :-)

Regarding viscosity, that is an interesting point I had not considered.  For now I am mainly looking for couvertures to be used for solid molded chocolates/bars, and am not yet thinking about ganaches, etc.  So for that purpose, I believe I would need high viscosity chocolate?  I'm not really sure how to predetermine viscosity before purchasing and tempering the chocolate.  Do you have any recommendations?  That kind of brings me to my next question: Is there any website or resource that reviews/rates chocolate couvertures?  I've searched around, but the only thing I've seen has been C-spot, which I believe is more about reviewing chocolate bars?

 

Lisabeth Flanagan
@lisabeth-flanagan
02/21/15 09:03:16AM
11 posts

Hi!  If you took your class from Kerry Beal, does that mean you are in Canada? Your profile says U.S., but thought I'd check.  We have a few sites in Toronto where you can order from the U.S., also with low shipping cost tot he states, namely VanillaFoodCompany.ca who sells Valrhona, Ghiradelli, CacaoBarry, Callebaut, etc. And I believe you can also order from McCalls (www.macalls.ca) and view your prices in U.S. or Canadian $$s. McCalls sells all types of couverture chocolate, including Lindt (but watch for artificial flavours in Lindt couv.). In Montreal is www.chocolat-chocolat.com - I think you can order tools and packages from the U.S., but I'm not sure about their couvs (they sell Belcolade, Brazilian couv. Boa Sentenca (I have not tasted this) and CacaoBarry, and others).

I personally like Camino's organic and Fair Trade couverture (www.tasteofcamino.com) - their 45% milk chocolate is very nice and easy to work with and their 56% is a great semi-sweet (one of the only organic semi-sweet's you can find). I don't love their 70% for enrobing or bark because of flavour, but it is great in cakes. Cacao Barry also has an organic milk couverture that is very nice, high cocoa butter, 38%.  I really like it for enrobing (throublesome for truffles).  Their 71% FT/Organic couv is also nice, but disctinct flavour. It pairs very nicely with salt. There is no soy lecithin in this product, good for people concerned with that.

I hope this helps!

ChocolateCodex
@chocolatecodex
02/21/15 02:47:06PM
3 posts

My father-in-law recently started using ChocXO and has been really happy with it. They have a US location and Canadian location.

http://www.chocxo.com/view-our-catalog/

Also, our website isn't live yet but we will be reviewing couverture (as well as bars). We will be assigning the couverture reviews to my father-in-law because he's been working with chocolate for 30+ years.

Cheers from another Ecole grad! 


updated by @chocolatecodex: 02/21/15 02:52:43PM
Clay Gordon
@clay
02/21/15 04:32:32PM
1,680 posts

Pantoufle -

I would suggest that you look into the idea of doing your own custom blend of commercial couvertures. If you like the basic taste profile of (say) a 70% but you'd like it a little darker and the 85% is too much, then why not add some 85% (or 90% or 100%) to the 70% to get exactly you want? There's no need to accept just what the chocolate companies make and have to sell.

I know several people who take this approach for both dark and milk chocolate and it gets them exactly what they want, rather than relying on finding an exact match in an existing product. I know some people who even mix brands to get to a flavor profile and price point that they like.

You are not likely to get free samples from online shops. Go direct to company and get a sales rep to call on you. They will have samples. Go to trade shows and visit the booths and get samples.

Three other brands to look into that are not mentioned above are: DeZaan, Agostoni, and Kakao Berlin.

--- edited to fix typos ---




--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
clay - http://www.thechocolatelife.com/clay/

updated by @clay: 02/21/15 04:33:38PM
Daniel Martin
@daniel-martin
03/02/15 11:29:58AM
3 posts

Check out Cargill Chocolate on the web. I use their Wibur and Peters brands manufatured in Lititz, PA.     Linneas is a distributor- but you must be a business to order.

Davis Chocolate
@davis-chocolate
03/04/15 10:18:56AM
8 posts

 We would love to help you with your custom recipe:http://davischocolate.com/pages/co-manufacturing

We work with you to develop to your exact specifications and have no minimum size orders.

Contact Brent@davischocolate.com for more information!

Have sweet day :)

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