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Valrhona - arrogance or ignorance
July 9, 2004
9:15 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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I know it seems like I’m crusading against Valrhona, but what do you think of the following statement:

“There is no need for any other chocolate than Valrhona. Valrhona is the best chocolate you can get.” It was presented to me after I mentioned names like Domori and Amedei. I was also told that most other brands where not genuine but Callebaut’s (which I of course expressed my opinion about …)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
July 9, 2004
10:50 pm
Masur
Stockholm, Sweden
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Four years ago I would agree. Today I’m not sure. I think most chefs still prefere Varhona but at least Amedei is challaging. A few other French companies, like Michele Cluizel also goes the whole way as far as I know.
Callebaut is a gigant when it comes to dark chocolate within EU. Together with Pierre Marcolini it’s the only Belgium company going the whole way from cacao beans to chocolate.

Masur

"Porcelana: The Holy Grail of Pure Criollos" (Maricel E. Presilla)
July 10, 2004
5:04 am
blakej
San Francisco, USA
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There’s no more “need” for chocolate besides Valrhona than there is “need” for coffee besides Starbucks. For a lot of people, Starbucks serves reliably good coffee, and without question it’s a step up from Folgers Crystals. A number of businesses say that they are proud to serve Starbucks coffee – which is higher praise than a lot of coffee brands get. But none of that means that Starbucks “is the best coffee you can get”.

I still don’t think chocolate of higher quality than Valrhona is of much use in recipes, especially anything complicated. I can usually tell when Valrhona-quality chocolate is used in enrobing truffles, but probably not many people even make that distinction.

This discussion has served as a good reminder for me to try making some pure Amedei Chuao truffles this weekend, though. And if I’m feeling generous I’ll share. [:)]

July 10, 2004
11:36 am
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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For the record; I do not think of Amedei, Domori or others as “of higher quality than Valrhona”. Probably needless to s ay, but quality-wise I’m fine with the criteria set here (ie. high cocoa content, all natural ingredients, artificial flavourings, real vanilla, no fat substitutes but cocoa butter). The rest is history – euh, taste and preferences.

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
July 12, 2004
10:20 am
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Who said that? Valrhona representatives?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
July 14, 2004
10:26 am
Warwick
London, United Kingdom
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Incidentally, I’m going down to the South of France in a month or so and thought of visiting Valrhona’s HQ. Anyone been before or know anything about what they have there for the visitor?

July 14, 2004
8:05 pm
legodude
Norway
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I was in Tain l`Hermitage where the factory and stuff is located two weeks ago. They have a shop where you can taste most products and buy chocolates and pralines. I think you must be quite important within the chocolate/pasty business to be alowed to come inside the factory. But you can try to e-mail them and ask. They have a workshop area too, but I think the activity is a bit low in the summer. By the way the Hermitage wine from the hill behind the town is fantastic, but of course expensive. There is also an old steam train that goes from Tournon, the town across the river. Could be interesting if you are a train nut, or as they are called in Germany: eisenbahnsexuelle. Sorry, just love that word!

"I`ve got lots of friends in San José. Do you know the way to San José?"
July 15, 2004
1:01 pm
alex_h
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:-) the word reminds me of a movie i just saw: station agent…

July 16, 2004
3:06 pm
Hans-Peter Rot
USA
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I don’t know, I guess it’s justifiable for someone to express his/her opinion based on the premise that the best chocolate is his/her favorite. I disagree with the comment, however, that no other chocolate needs to exist because, although Valrhona is an excellent brand, I don’t particularly enjoy the intense fruitiness of their bars all the time. It’s a nice switch after eating Cluizel or Domori, but as with cars, you’re comparing apples with oranges. Certain brands are known for different things, and each product is going to be different even within the brand’s own line. But, as discussed earlier, there are usually signature characteristics of brands that can be easily detectable by most people. I wonder if the quality of Valrhona LoneLy’s mysterious culprit was referring to was the texture; also, he mentioned Callebaut. Both are extremely well known brands that are usually the standard chocolates for pastry chefs. Brands such as Amedei and Domori are rather new to the scene and are somewhat explorers/pioneers in the field. Their chocolates are noticeably different (thank God) than other brands and don’t necessarily lean towards everyone’s tastes and/or chocolate budget. Valrhona’s and Callebaut’s long-standing familiarity, affordability, accessibility, reliability, and overall pleasing quality is probably why most people stick with them. I wonder if Martha Stewart was the one who made the comment, though….

July 17, 2004
3:37 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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It wasn’t Martha Stewart, Monte ;-) It was a couple of staff members at my Valrhona provider. I had already had quite a long chat with them, including a request to bring over my wish for Manjari bars (except the 200g) without orange peels and Araguani bars (discussed elsewhere in the forum). The service was great, they let me buy 200g Araguani from a 3 kg bucket – meant for chefs. (To the Norwegians – Araguani taste pretty much like “Mokkabønner”!) Since I’m still awaiting someone to provide Domori in Norway (I migth start up myself!), and since this shop has got other brands than Valrhona (in light of the comment one may ask why …), I asked if there was a chance they would stock other brands. And then they said the magic words. (Please excuse another offensive comment on men; some men simply doesn’t like women to know what they know or even more. Maybe it is alarming to hear a woman saying ‘Trinitario’ and ‘Criollo’ …?) I was told that Valrhona had “exclusive rights to the best beans”. Question is still; ignorance? arrogance? or both …

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
July 17, 2004
4:20 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Strange… I suppose you are talking about the “Jacobs” shop?
I once suggested that they should stock Claus Meyer and El Rey, and they said it sounded interesting. No Valrhona-worship there.

BTW, I am now in the “south” and will go to Oslo on tuesday. Any addresses you suggest I should visit for Amedei and Cluizel?

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
July 17, 2004
4:33 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Polar, no name mentioned ;-)

As for Amedei, I’ll have to disappoint you. The shop (Assaggio di Toscana in Pilestredet 75) is closed all July.

Some Cluizel bars are available at a tiny coffee&tea shop (not a coffee bar) in Bogstadveien, quite close to Schultz’ gate – can’t remember name & number, sorry.

If you’d like a further description, please send me an e-mail. (Couldn’t sort out how to send you any.)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
July 17, 2004
5:31 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Thanx, Lone, I think I will be able to navigate my way.

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
July 25, 2004
7:00 pm
Polarbear
Tromsø, Norway
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Yupidupi – I found the shop and filled up with Cluizels. [:)]

***
My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic…

*** My name is Polarbear and I am a chocoholic...
August 14, 2004
3:35 pm
VonRock526
Long Island City, USA
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I started out 4 years ago with Valrhona and Callebaut chocolate. Through out my first year, I came across EL-REY chocolates, and tried them first in chocolate bar form, to enhance my knowledge. This first year, I tried many many different brands of chocolates, both domestic(USA) and non-domestic. El-REY is the easiest, and most palatible, to work with in my experience. The quality speaks for itself. The reason Valrhona and Callebaut are the most accepted brands used by pastry chefs and professional chocolatieres, come down to one truth.
That is that they “sponsor” culinary institutions world-wide and that is all the pastry chefs know, before embarking on thier pastry or chocolate careers. EL-REY does no sponsorship programs to any of the formidable culinary institutes world-wide, and they are less known!
The snap, the different nodes of flavor,the viscosity and the adaptive appeal in working with EL-REY chocolates exclusively at this point, has made my business the success it is!

August 14, 2004
10:43 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Would you like to elaborate on your ‘business’, VonRock? Welcome to the forum btw :-)

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
August 15, 2004
2:43 pm
VonRock526
Long Island City, USA
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Thank you so much Lonely for your welcome. I have a chocolate business which I create artisanal chocolates and box, package and ship
to corporate clients. This is an exclusive chocolate business, which I marketed myself. I am extremely fussy to whom I sell my chocolates to.
One has to be this way, if one chooses to be exclusive. My business is primarily word of mouth. The chocolates are continental miniatures, truffles, and the artisanal varietals that I create, that few make. I make my own fondant creme centers from scratch as well as a few commercially made centers.

August 15, 2004
6:46 pm
Lone Ly
Oslo, Norway
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Mouthwatering …. [:D]

"Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can." (Unknown)
August 16, 2004
6:23 pm
choca
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March 3, 2004
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Von Rock is right about the dominence of Callebaut Chocolate and Valrhona . Callebaut are huge , but although they were slow to pick up on origins make some good chocolates, and probably match Valrhona . Callebaut also make some cheap chocolate .
There are very few real maitre chocolatiers though , making the whole thing .
On the subject of El Rey , I loved their chocolates , but have now been out of stock in the U.K. for over a year now . The word from Venezuela is that ElRey chocolate has gone down in quality , that they are buying cheaper beans and having major supply problems . Is this happening in the U.S. Von ??

August 16, 2004
9:39 pm
VonRock526
Long Island City, USA
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Dear Choca:
EL-Rey chocolates are having some supply problems, but not anything critical. This is due to the Embargo at Venezuela and with the container ships to export. They are not “buying” cheaper beans because they have a private plantation in Venezuela. There is definitely a shortage going on, globally. of chocolate however. This is due to the fungus caused by Witches Broom. It attacks the pod, the “teeth” (beans and nibs) and the sticky white pulp which conched, creates the cocoa butter. El-Rey still manufactures the best chocolate to my palate. Due to my palate, I pass it on to my end users! I would love to start a forum here on where to get chocolatiere supplies. Are there anyone here, that would support that forum? I love using rare, hard to find tools. Its a thing I have. I love gadgets.