I've been using different varieties of valrhona for baking tortes and tarts and brownies and whatnot, and I love it. But I'm going broke! The few places in New York where I can find it in bulk it costs around $15 a pound. And my recipes use a lot of it.
The best alternative I've found so far is callebaut. The price is about half of valrhona. The quality is very good ... definitely much better than half as good. The only thing I miss is all the wonderful varieties of valrhona that are available. I can only find callebaut in a single non-descript bittersweet, or unsweetened.
Any other suggestions? Ideally something that's great quality, especially in the 70% range, and that comes in at least two or three distinctive varieties, and that costs closer to $8 a pound than $16. If it's really all that, I'll mail order it. Though it's hard to believe there's anything that I can't get in manhattan somewhere.
I would look into Guittard. They've got blended 61, 65, 72 and 99 percents as well as a 38% milk--and you can also get the Chucuri, Ambanja and Sur del Lago in couverture form. (You can check reviews of these last three bars in the reviews section...)
Food service folks should have these in either 5kg or 11kg boxes--check with your local wholesaler.
February 23, 2006
I would suggest Cocoa Barry, it's a division of Callebaut and they have many varities, I currently use a 64% dark for my chocolates, which I love. You say you are in NY, well, Harry Wils, is a great source for this, albeit they are a bit on the pricy side but MUCH cheaper than what you are paying now. If you set up an account you can get even better prices. You should end up paying about $4-5 or so per lb!!!!!!
Harry Wils & Company
505 Jefferson Avenue
Secaucus, NJ 07094
Attn: Julie Taylor or Tina Cipriano
(I just found this online) Good Luck and let me know how you do!
Keep it Sweet!