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Callebaut couverture?
December 14, 2004
2:18 pm
Gunnaknow
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Hi, I have just joined today. I want to make some truffles and chocolate dipped fruit for Christmas time. I figured that the most expensive, Connoisseur brands would be wasted in something like a truffle, with so many other flavours masking the delicate notes. Would you agree? I was thinking that a high grade chocolate, that is not quite at the very top would be better to use. Especially economically. I am not made of money.

Is Callebaut dark couverture worth me buying? It is certainly very cheap in bulk and aparantely Callebaut is the most widely used chocolate by chefs, so it can’t be an average quality chocolate can it? How does it compare to the best brands found in the supermarkets, like Green & Blacks or Lindt Excellence? I know that these aren’t at the very top but they are seemingly at the top of what the mass produced market sells in the supermarkets.

Is Callebaut’s couverture of an inferior quality to it’s regular eating kind? If I use it to incase dried and alcohol soaked fruits and truffles, will the couverture be high enough quality?

Is extra cocoa butter a bad thing for the flavour of a chocolate? This seems to be the only thing which seperates couverture and eating chocolate. Maybe there are other production differences? Would Callebaut’s super bitter 70% dark callets be a couverture? Sometimes it isn’t made clear which is which. If it is, would the callets be good for eating on their own, like regular chocolate?

Sorry for all the questions. Thanks for your help.

Zero is where truth begins. Didn’t you know? You can’t say it wasn’t obvious.

December 14, 2004
2:23 pm
green
Trondheim, Norway
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Hi!
I am not very experienced in making my own truffles and such, but I think as a general rule, everything gets better if the quality of the ingredients are better…
(Not actually advice, this, rather an opinion…)

(But I guess the other nice members of the forum will respond with real, good advice soon enough! [;)])

December 14, 2004
8:44 pm
Sebastian
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As with everything, appearance seems to play a huge part of your experience. Many people will pay a great deal more for a product if that product is packaged nicely or has a nice marketing story behind it. Many here would probably be very surpised to find out who actually makes the chocolates they’re buying (and no, I’m not going to give any examples..). Rule of thumb? Find something you like, and use that. Just because the chocolate you’re buying at a specialty shoppe is $30/lb doesn’t necessarily make it better – or even different – than the $2/lb bulk chocolate. It may well be different, and there are many good examples of that. Don’t, however, discount something purely on price or because of it’s ‘bloodline’, as it were. Do your homework, physically try a number of products, and go with what you find works the best for you. It may be the 30 dollar bar, or it may be the 2 dollar bar – or perhaps something in between.

Generally speaking, I tend to like very dark pieces for making ganache, ones that use either real vanilla or no vanilla at all, and are of higher (~40%) total fat content. Of course, that’s my personal preference. Your’s may differ – hence the importance of trying different things for yourself 8-)

December 14, 2004
9:18 pm
stu
Wellington, New Zealand
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I have been using DGF 72% couverture and have been quite happy with it. I think pretty much any of the professional brands like Callebaut, DGF etc will be good for truffles. However, if you have a receptive audience that would appreciate the difference, something like Valrhona might be worth using. As Sebastian said, try a few and pick one that you like!

December 14, 2004
9:32 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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In Sweden Valrhona (Cluizel etc) is a bit too expensive for most chocolatiers when they make truffels. A few skilled chocolatiers use a combination of Callebaut and Valrhona. If they want a neutral shell then Callebaut is used, otherwise Valrhona (E.g. Manjari). I would go for Callebaut with at least 62% if you already have a lot of flavours.

“Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos” (Marieel E. Presilla)

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
December 15, 2004
5:54 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Well, if you’re making flavored confections, then I suggest using a chocolate that complements the flavors. You have to try the chocolate first and see how it tastes with a certain flavoring you’re using. Certain chocolates have flavors that go well with other ingredients better than others and to match the two, you must do some research. For example, I would not make a hazelnut truffle with a Madagascar chocolate because the fruitiness would clash with the hazelnuts. Also, the hazelnut flavor might demand a slightly sweeter chocolate or else it will get overwhelmed by the chocolate’s strength. If you’re making unflavored truffles, then try a higher percentage chocolate because the cream will dillute the chocolate to a certain extent. Don’t use overly sweet chocolates because the sugar and cream will make it much too sweet and not very chocolaty.

Callebaut is certainly a good brand to use and is the preferred choice of many chocolatiers and pastry chefs the world over. Obviously, they’re doing something right for their chocolate to be used on such a worldwide range. Cocoa butter is not a bad thing, but it certainly subdues the overall chocolate flavor while further adding to the smooth texture. It’s used to enhance the melting properties of the chocolate in baking and cooking applications, as is the addition of lechitin. This makes the chocolate easier for the pastry chef or chocolatier to melt and use. Couverture is definitely good for eating, but keep in mind, that it will be slightly different than eating its equivalent in bar form made for domestic consumption.

Basically, try some chocolate and use what you think is the best for what you want to do. It’s your opinions and specifications that you’re going by, not anyone else’s. It’s all trial and error and personal preference.

December 17, 2004
6:09 pm
asmokemezzo
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I recently bought a 5Kg block of the Callebaut 54% couverture chocolate and have used it extensively this christmas season, both as couverture and in truffles, fudge and other confections. I find it to be just a little sweet for the truffles, and have been mixing it with other, darker chocolates for that purpose (most recently the Cluziel 72% Amer Brut – amazing). However, I find that it is a wonderful all purpose chocolate and is quite delicious to eat straight as well. If you’re trying to be cost effective, Callebaut is definitely a good way to go.

December 17, 2004
6:37 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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… and mixing chocolates is indeed a good idea, also in order to match flavors and adjust intensity, sweetness etc. I don’t know much about Callebaut, but I know there are couverture more neutral than others.

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
December 17, 2004
8:46 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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Keep in mind Callebaut make hundreds of different grades of chocolate and couverture (so many they have numbers, not names). To say ‘Callebaut it ok’, or is a good brand is fairly meaningless, they make it all from the quite bad to the quite bad (ok, not all!) asmokemezzo – have you checked the indredients? At 54%, I smell vanillin, even from here.

The trick is to insist on a good minimum quality – I would say at least 60% for dark, no vegetable fat, no milk or butter fat, real vanilla.

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
December 18, 2004
4:21 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Just read that the probably best confectioner in town recommends at least 61% (e.g. Valrhona’s) for plain truffles.

“Man cannot live by chocolate alone – but woman can.” (Unknown)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
December 18, 2004
3:59 pm
Gunnaknow
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I am only contemplating a high cocoa solids percentage chocolate. Callebaut do a 70%. Valrhona do Guanaja, which is also 70%. I’m not sure whether Valrhona’s considerable extra price is worth it or not. I would get the Valrhona if I could be certain that the extra price was going to be worth it and deliver easily tastable higher quality over the Callebaut. The price difference is very considerable. I can afford both but the extra quality would have to be very noticable in the mouth for me to be interested in paying that much more. I am sure the difference in quality taste would not be very noticable in a cake or other dessert mixture but what about when eating the chocolate on it’s own or for making hand made chocolates? Comparing equally high cocoa mass chocolate ofcourse.

-Zero is where truth begins. Didn’t you know? You can’t say it wasn’t obvious.-

December 18, 2004
5:29 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I think if you use a 70% Callebaut with real vanilla and generally good ingredients you will get a pretty good result. If you use Valrhona you will get a better one. You could also try some of the Valrhona couvertures which are not the Crus, and therefore cheaper. You could mix and match as well, how about Manjari for the filling and the Callebaut for the coating. Personally, I would always spend the extra for a good chocolate. You will notice the difference.

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
December 19, 2004
5:48 am
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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Well, you should never skimp on ingredients, especially chocolate, if you want results that match or perhaps exceed your expectations. Chocolate doesn’t undergo a magical transformation during its baking/preparation process. In other words, its basic flavor profile doesn’t change, but rather it might be enhanced, complemented, or subdued by heat, other ingredients, etc. If chocolate is the main stage in the flavor department, then use the best chocolate for maximum flavor and strength potency. Valrhona Guanaja makes an excellent chocolate for truffles. Try using that for both the ganache and the coating. The Valrhona couvertures, imo, are way too sweet. Try this experiment: sample a piece of Callebaut 61%, then Valrhona’s 61%. Although both are the same percentage, I think you’ll find Callebaut’s to be much “stronger” in overall chocolate flavor, although grittier and a bit more rustic. Sometimes, I think that some couverture can be a bit too refined, and I also believe that brands need to take that into consideration, especially since couverture is mainly intended for baking applications (i.e. addition of other high fat ingredients, such as cream and butter).

December 19, 2004
6:37 am
Gunnaknow
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Monty,

“Valrhona Guanaja makes an excellent chocolate for truffles. Try using that for both the ganache and the coating. The Valrhona couvertures, imo, are way too sweet.”

I am a little confused. I thought Guanaja was a couverture. Yet you say it makes excellent truffles and then say Valrhona couverture is too sweet for your liking.

Martin, I don’t mind paying extra for something better but I just want to know that it will be a fairly noticable difference in the mouth and therfore worth it. I guess I will just have to try lots of different samples. How do I get Callebaut samples? They only sell the couverture in blocks don’t they? If I source one of their bars, how will I know if that particular one is available on the block? How do I select from their endless different types in order to pick one of their better ones and how do I know which one is which when they only have numbers for names? I mean where on earth do I start and where do I get the samples from?

One last question. I want to know if Valrhona Manjari is a good chocolate for making truffles. Monty, you mentioned that Guanaja is good for this but what about Manjari? I can get Manjari at the supermarket and it comes in 200 grams, so offers more value per gram. My concern is that it’s citrus and strawberry notes won’t work in a truffle but maybe it might be great. I will be putting grand marnier in the truffles, which is triple orange liquor, so Manjari might work well with this. I am sure it will work well with the alcohol soaked fruits I will be dipping into it but not certain about the truffles and whether 64% will be enough for use in truffle ganache.

Sorry for all the questions.

-Zero is where truth begins. Didn’t you know? You can’t say it wasn’t obvious.-

December 19, 2004
6:09 pm
Martin Christy
London, United Kingdom
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I have used Manjari in truffles before and it worked very well. I think I used Manjari in the filling and Guanaja as the coating. I like the citrus notes. To be honest, I’d make different truffles with different couvertures – this, after all is what Marcolini, La Maison, L’artisan do for their creations. I think as you can get 200g Manjari it would be well worth experimenting.

I have to disagree completely with you Monty – I’d have to think it was a very good grade of Callebaut to be better than Valrhona. Also I think you are being too general. I know in the US you can buy bars of Callebaut in the stores for cooking, but this is only one of their grades. These are almost not available in the UK anyway, they only really sell wholesale here. Valrhona’s 61% is not the best of the chocolates though.

Gunnaknow, exactly how many truffles are you making? Bars will go further than you think – why not buy a selection of bars and experiment?

Martin Christy
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http://www.seventypercent.com

Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
December 19, 2004
7:12 pm
Gunnaknow
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OK, forget about my last question. I couldn’t find Manjari without orange zest and I couldn’t find Guanaja either. I found Caraibe 66%, Jivari Lait and Gastronomie Lacte 200 grams. I bought all three Valrhonas. I then went to another Waitrose afterwards to look for Guanaja and Manjari but they didn’t have them. I was, however, pleased to find Michel cluizel chocolate, which was a suprise. Tamarina, Concepcion, Java Lait and the tasting squares collection. I bought all four.

I consider these purchases as one offs, to help me find which chocolate I want to buy in bulk. It will probably be a Valrhona but I have no idea until I get my hands on some Guanaja and Manjari noir, without orange zest.

I am impressed with Waitrose for having both Valrhona and Cluizel. They also had Rococo but I didn’t get it because they only had one with cinamon. Perhaps other waitrose branches have other artisan bars. I have not looked in the other supermarkets. Waitrose is known for selling the slighty better produce. Waitrose and Mark’s & Spencer. My brother is also into good chocolate, so I have asked him to have a look out for the Guanaja, Manjari 200 gram and any other artisan bars, when he visits the Waitrose near him.

Now all I have to do is figure out which of these bars is best for dipping soaked fruits, which is best for truffles and which is best for eating on it’s own. I might have to blend more than one of the dark chocolates together for the truffles because I don’t have enough of any one kind to make enough truffles. I might make seperate truffle mixtures with different dark chocolate, like you suggest Martin. The truffles I was thinking of making are these; http://www.deliaonline.com/rec…..001011.asp

Although I will use Grand Marnier instead of whiskey. This recipe looks very easy to make and that is the only reason I have chosen it. I have never made truffles before, so I think an easy recipe is best for me, until I gain experience. I am going to try to learn how to temper chocolate before I make the truffles, so that I can dip them in chocolate instead of having to role them in cocoa powder. Also so that I can dip soaked fruits into chocolate.

-Zero is where truth begins. Didn’t you know? You can’t say it wasn’t obvious.-

December 19, 2004
10:51 pm
Martin Christy
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Waitrose carry Valrhona, Cluizel, Rococo and New Tree. I think only the range you have seen though, with more Rococo. They might have Guanaja, but probably not the Manjari.

I don’t think I could recommend anything you’d find in M&S – a lot of additives in everything. (Try reading ingredients lists in M&S – they read like a short novel!)

You could always try to get them from a website …

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
December 20, 2004
12:04 am
Gunnaknow
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I would never eat M & S brand chocolate. I meant they might stock artisan bars. I wouldn’t know because I never shop at M & S.

I looked on Waitrose.com to see if they had Valrhona and it came up with Manjari 200 gram. This is why I thought I would be able to get it at Waitrose. If it is listed on Watrose.com then they must have it in some of their outlets. The fact that they didn’t list Javari, Caraibe or Manjari orange on their site, whilst they are clearly sold in atleast some of their stores, perhaps suggests that if you don’t find Guanaja or Manjari 200 gram in some of their outlets, you still stand a chance of finding them in others.

I will let you know if I ever find Guanaja or Manjari 200 grams in any Waitrose. If anyone else finds Guanaja or Manjari 200 gram in a supermarket, please let me know. The 200 gram Manjari will probably be in the cooking section with the cocoa and marzipan, where I found my 200 gram block of Lacte Gastronomie.

-Zero is where truth begins. Didn’t you know? You can’t say it wasn’t obvious.-

December 20, 2004
12:07 am
Martin Christy
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M&S only carry their own brands I think.

Martin Christy
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Martin Christy Editor www.seventypercent.com
December 24, 2004
11:06 am
Gunnaknow
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OK, I said that I would post any new updates. I have now found the 75 gram Guanaja bars in one Waitrose and also found the Manjari 200 gram in the cooking section of another Waitrose. Next to the catering marzipan, cocoa and dried fruits.

Waitrose stock every bar Valrhona does but not all in the same place. I think that I prefer the Manjari. I think that it could do with a little extra cocoa mass and a little less sugar but the subtle and not so subtle flavours in it are better than the others, in my opinion. It’s all relative ofcourse.

Manjari just needs a little bit more chocolaty taste hanging around in the length for me. The length isn’t as good as it could be and sometimes the citrus and strawberry notes are so overwhelming that it doesn’t even taste like I am eating chocolate. The notes are perfect and should not be changed in any way but they are a little bit dominant over the chocolatiness and once the fruitiness starts to fade in the mouth, there is no chocolatiness to proceed in the length, so overall flavour vanishes quickly. Leaving you craving more.

I might blend it with some high quality 100% chocolate. Maybe 80% Manjari and 20% pure chocolate. The Manjari’s notes are just too good to be messing around with, so it would need to be a neutral 100%er with nothing but chocolatiness in it’s flavour. That has made me think of Callebaut from what people have said on here. Although I don’t know whether Callebaut do a good quality 100% chocolate. I know that Valrhona do a 3kg “Cocoa Pate Extra 100%”.

If Manjari had more length and more background chocolatiness I would definately rate it as an overall 9 out of ten. The review was right. This one is far too easy to eat. Perhaps it is because afterwards, your mouth and brain don’t feel like they have eaten any substantial amount of chocolate. They think they’ve been eating Strawberry, lime and mango compot with a sprinkling of chocolate flakes. LOL. Or perhaps it’s because the taste fades quickly, leaving a craving for more of the sensation.

-Zero is where truth begins. Didn’t you know? You can’t say it wasn’t obvious.-