August 1, 2006
LoneLy mentioned earlier that where she lives Amedei bulk is cheaper than Valrhona bulk (to many people's amazement), and I think considering the types of chocolate each brand offers for bulk sale, I'd be more willing to pay the higher price for Valrhona than Amedei. If you think about it, Amedei really shines through with their Porcelana and Chuao, and perhaps the iCru squares (which imo, are much better than their regular bars). Amedei offers the following in bulk format: 70%, 66%, 63%, 32% milk, white, and Chuao (only exception to my spiel). Valrhona offers all their bars in bulk format including many more types of chocolate that are available exclusively bulk-wise. Valrhona's Guanaja is better than all other Amedei bars, except Porcelana and Chuao, and I'd be much better off using that to cook with (and eat) than Amedei's Toscano 70%, which imo, is merely good and nothing extraordinary. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Valrhona's bars across the entire line allow for wider arrays of applications due to varying cocoa contents, bean sources, etc., whereas Amedei is somewhat limited and doesn't have such an extensive line of products. All in all, I'd say that Valrhona is resultingly more versatile. Also, if you think about it, since Valrhona already has a good reputation, people will not have any qualms about paying the higher price for a reliable chocolate they already know is of high quality; Valrhona can afford to charge a higher price simply due to their reputation.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not belittling Amedei or venerating Valrhona; I'm merely expressing my opinion. I think Amedei has some excellent chocolate indeed, and so does Valrhona, but when it comes to application and versatility, Valrhona wins hands down.
June 19, 2004
August 1, 2006
I have not yet tried Araguani, but Guanaja is an excellent and rather intense 70% chocolate. Have you tried it yet, and are you contemplating on whether or not to buy either of the two (Guanaja and Araguani)? I really enjoy Caraibe; it's the least fruity of Valrhona's chocolate, with notes of almonds and tobacco. It surprisingly tastes less sweet than other bars of similar percentages, as well, which is another aspect I appreciate.
October 10, 2003
You're right, Legodude. But I don't know what offers chefs would get from the two importers. The prices I'm referring to are shop prices. In fact it is Amedei's 70% which is much cheaper than Valrhona, for Chuao the price per kilo is almost the same. And I didn't know that all of the Valrhona bars were available in bulk format. In general find the formats of both Amedei and Valrhona confusing, especially Araguani (Valrhona) which is only available in tasting squares and 3 kg bottles.
I don't agree with the argument that Valrhona's higher prices are 'acceptable' because of their reputation. If this forum is good for anything it is to judge chocolate by it's quality only, not by reputation, not by 'habit'. In fact, pricey chocolates signalise 'quality' which might be misleading. For example, I heard of a fish monger who tried to sell eel for approx 9 eur/kg - and no one would buy it, but when they set the price to 22 eur/kg people started to think of it as a delicacy item ;-) I actually heard someone asking themselves at Fortnum & Mason "is this one better than the one we bought at Harvey Nichols?" while standing beside Amedei's Porcelana to 5 quid looking at their receipt saying 3.75 ... ;-)
Btw, I would rather compare Guanaja with Amedei's 66%, not their 70%. On versatility I agree, although I do find Amedei bars more 'complete' - which I like.
June 19, 2004
August 1, 2006
Well, you also missed the line, "people will not have any qualms about paying the higher price for a reliable chocolate they already know is of high quality." Take this hypothetical situation:
An average Joe walks into a shop looking for 2lbs of chocolate to bake with. He sees Valrhona, a brand he likes and knows is reliable, then he sees a lesser-known brand, such as Amedei for example, and isn't too sure about it. If he's in a pinch or in a hurry, he's not going to feel like experimenting with the unfamiliar, so resultingly he's going to pay the higher price for something he knows is reliable. Next time, maybe, he'll try the mystery brand. Things like this happen all the time; I know because I used to work in a chocolate store. I wish I had a dollar for every instance someone rushed into the store in a harried frenzy desperately searching for bulk chocolate.