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good milk chocolate
May 16, 2008
9:18 pm
miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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can anyone recommend a good milk chocolate couverture for enrobing and moulding. i have tried valrhona cao grand organic and jivara lait, the latter of which i found to be too highly flavoured with vanilla.

i have also tried callebaut’s basic milk chocolate which doesn’t excite me.

i’d also like to find a really good bar of milk chocolate, purely for gorging on. again, i’m not keen on ones which are highly flavoured with vanilla. i do like the cao grand organic milk but i’d like to try something else. any recommendations would be greatly appreciated

can anyone tell me why vanilla is used so much in milk chocolate?

miss coco

May 16, 2008
9:51 pm
Sebastian
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good is way to subjective, try lots on your own and find what you want 8-) i like a good caramalized milk chocolate made with crumb, but not everyone does. vanilla is a taste modifier, it’s used because lots of people like it, but again, tastes are subjective so as with everything, not everyone does…

May 17, 2008
11:49 am
Gracie
Chippenham, United Kingdom
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I love Jivara!…not only for it’s caramel notes, but I like Valrhona’s fluid style. Have you tried Callebaut’s Arriba milk for moulding? It’s got quite good “chocolateyness” at 39% but id quite viscous. Their Java is only 32%. I haven’t tried it yet so let us know what you think if you get to it before me!
What is your target market? Are you willing to go right up into the top price range for your commercial chocolates or do you (like me) need to balance price and excellence to find a quality product at a price that people are willing to pay (that could start an argument!!)It would be interesting to hear the opinions of others in the business and equally of those who enjoy “good” filled chocolates but don’t make them for a living.

May 17, 2008
1:29 pm
miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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i was happy with using callebaut for my filled chocolates until i went on a trip to london last week. i bought a tonne of chocolate – mostly michel cluizel, pralus and valrhona and some amedei. i visited selfriges, harrods, john lewis, la maison du chocolat and best of all, william curley. i brought back a lot of bars for tasting and a few boxes of filled chocolates from william curleys, the valrhona shop in selfridges, la maison du chocolat, michel cluizel and godiva (not my favourite). it was all for market research (so i told my husband!!)

i dont think i’ll ever view chocolate the same after tasting williams curleys chocolates. whatever the chocolate he uses on his sea salt caramels is amazing. his chocolates weren’t sickly sweet either, i’m getting through the collection i bought quite quickly. saying that, i didn’t like all of them. i was surprised at the lack of ‘tradition’ flavours he had to offer, as i have found that these are what people want, though i did enjoy his selection especially the sesame one (not sure of the name as there wasn’t a menu card available).

at the minute i only sell to friends and family and a local restaurant, but would like to get a shop and website up and running in the next year. i do quite a few weddings too. i still have a lot to learn but i do have a lot of self belief and think my chocolates a better than anything else on offer in our area (saying that, there isnt a lot to offer in the north of ireland when it comes to chocolate). the few chocolate shops we have import large plasticy pieces from belgium which are mass produced and, i believe, of extremely poor quality, but people are buying them because there is nothing else on offer. i do think we need a high end chocolate/patisserie shop here and i’d like to be the one to do it. big ambitions but anything is possible with passion and good training.

i am so grateful to this forum and people like you gracie who want to help others who have a love of chocolate.

miss coco

May 17, 2008
5:29 pm
Gracie
Chippenham, United Kingdom
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I agree that once you’ve tasted stuff like Cluizel & Amedei that a return to Callebaut seems pointless, but I haven’t yet managed to tap into the market that will pay the prices necessary to make a profit from couverture that costs upwards of £20 /kilo. I’ve found Valrhona affordable for the quality it gives and a select few of the single origins from Callebaut & Cocoa Barry (although I often find the CB ones a bit waxy).
When William Curley demonstrated at the chocolatiers conference last year he was using mostly Valrhona couvertures…it’s interesting to read that he may have made a full switch to Amedei although I do doubt that he uses any one company exclusively…he’s too canny for that!
I had a friend bring back a selection from Curleys recently and I too found the lack of a menu card a little frustrating. Question for those that know…how does an outlet like Curley’s get away without ingredients labels? Is it only needed for products sold via a third party? Be good to know.

May 17, 2008
11:31 pm
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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In answer to your original question, the master of good milk chocolate is Michel Cluizel. Mangaro Lait remains the best in the world IMHO by a large margin, and the 45% isn’t bad, either, as a utility milk chocolate.

Coppeneur, a rather odd German company, does have some good milk chocolates, too (you can try them through Hotel Chocolat in the UK, if you’re interested, through the “Purist” line, although the price is pretty prohibitive), however, I don’t think distribution is as reliable as Cluizel.

quote:


Originally posted by miss coco

i was happy with using callebaut for my filled chocolates until i went on a trip to london last week. i bought a tonne of chocolate – mostly michel cluizel, pralus and valrhona and some amedei. i visited selfriges, harrods, john lewis, la maison du chocolat and best of all, william curley. i brought back a lot of bars for tasting and a few boxes of filled chocolates from william curleys, the valrhona shop in selfridges, la maison du chocolat, michel cluizel and godiva (not my favourite). it was all for market research (so i told my husband!!)

i dont think i’ll ever view chocolate the same after tasting williams curleys chocolates. whatever the chocolate he uses on his sea salt caramels is amazing.


Amedei. Curley is certainly one of the best in London and indeed in the world, although I also do have to mention that it’s representative of a particular style – the low-ratio ganache (i.e. about 1:1 chocolate: cream), ultrafluid centre approach. The result is an inevitable compromise on flavour intensity – which it’s interesting to compare against by trying a denser, higher-ratio style. Curley, however, is particularly good on freshness, and using Amedei really makes a difference, particularly in the Chuao chocolate.

quote:


his chocolates weren’t sickly sweet either, i’m getting through the collection i bought quite quickly. saying that, i didn’t like all of them. i was surprised at the lack of ‘tradition’ flavours he had to offer,


That’s always a bit of a disappointment to me too – that so many top chocolatiers are eschewing classics like hazelnut or lemon or even strawberry in favour of more exotic flavours. I’d like to see more of the classics done to the level they can achieve by a really first-rate chocolatier. It must be said, of course, that strawberry you can’t really do perfectly except in June, but that’s part of the delight of classic chocolates – strong seasonality in some flavours that makes them an annual delight.

Actually, though, what makes me the most disappointed is when chocolatiers “tweak” classic flavours by adding something else, so that one might not be able to find a pure strawberry flavour but the same chocolatier might be offering a strawberry/rose (or whatever). The point is not that such mixed flavours aren’t delightful, because they can be, but that I for one would like to try the pure flavour, and tasting something that’s a combination is a different experience rather than an acceptable substitute.

One problem with chocolate sourcing is that the right chocolate manufacturer for one chocolate isn’t necessarily the best for others, so that if you go with a single company to supply couverture it’s best to make specific decisions about what flavours to offer. For example, if you chose Pralus it would be a bad move to offer bright fruity flavours which would clash badly against the Pralus dark roast. Amedei, with strong raisin notes and always a hint of molasses, works well with assertive flavours, but isn’t as good a match with subtle, retreating flavours such as most flowers, vanilla, and tropical fruits such as banana or papaya. I think overall, if your leaning is towards the classic flavours, however, Cluizel is a good choice, with a fairly neutral balance (usually with a slight leather/tobacco slant to the flavour) and an extraordinarily wide range coupled with a price that isn’t extreme.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
May 18, 2008
3:11 pm
jifar
United Kingdom
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I have used Valrhona Jivara 40% and really like it but the price is getting too high for the small market I sell too. My favourite economy milk chocolate was Lubecca Rio Caribe 47% but keylink have discontinued it so I am back to the drawing board. I have just ordered Callebaut Arriba, liked the taste but have not moulded with it yet. I have also used, and quite like, Cocoa Barry Origin Ghana. El Rey milk chocolate is ok but I am finding their stuff inconsistent from one batch to another.

Does anyone have a recommeded supplier for Cluizel in the UK? I really like their milks but where to buy?

May 18, 2008
4:06 pm
Aphrodite2
Ongar, Essex, United Kingdom
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Hi Jill, you can get Lubecca Chocolate from http://www.Banquet-Chocolates.co.uk, they sell different types of couverture and are Lubecca agents in the UK

May 18, 2008
4:44 pm
Gracie
Chippenham, United Kingdom
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Keylink stopped stocking Lubecca because they increased their prices by a huge amount (I was quoted a 63% rise on original price). I don’t know if other stockists & agents will have to pass on the same increases but it may be worth checking out beforehand. I liked the Aribba too and I’ve found it to be a good all rounder for moulding, centres and dipping.

May 18, 2008
7:21 pm
jifar
United Kingdom
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Hi Aphrodite2 have you bought from Banquet Chocolates?

I though I had found an alternative supplier when I found there web address a few weeks back but I have left phone messages and emailed them but never hear anything back. They may not want to supply small volumes but I do not understand people who cannot even email a no thank you.

May 18, 2008
8:03 pm
Aphrodite2
Ongar, Essex, United Kingdom
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Hi Jill Banquet Chocolates don’t actually hold any stock, they order from Lubecca when they receive orders, the minimum amount you can order is 200 kilos but that can be mixed dark, milk and white. I have not ordered yet. When I emailed them they replied quickly the person I emailed was James Passmore at jp@Banquet-chocolates.co.uk try that you may have better luck

May 18, 2008
8:13 pm
jifar
United Kingdom
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Ok, that explains their lack of interest in me, I would not be ordering 200 kilos even as a mixed order. 20 kg but not 200! Never mind.

Many thanks for the information.

May 18, 2008
8:32 pm
miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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thankyou everyone for your replies.

alex, i do love cluizel especially the mangaro. do you know of any suppliers in the uk or ireland?

i will probably be using a range of different couvertures. i have been completely surprised by valrhona organic plain chocolate, it is my personal favourite, when it melts its like sucking the seed from a ripe mango – mmmmmmm!! also, their organic milk isn’t too bad. initially i didn’t like it, but i managed to get through a whole bar sitting in front of the pc yesterday, without even noticing how much i had eaten!!

i wont be making many white chocolates but will have a few to offer. so far i have only used the basics from valrhona and callebaut. can anyone recommend another??

miss coco

May 19, 2008
7:14 pm
Marcellus
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Miss Coco,
I think Transmanche Foods in Weybridge may supply Cluizel. They don’t have a website as far as I know but their tel. no. is 01932 855727 Fax: 01932 830081 E-mail: transmanche@tiscali.co.uk. I believe they also do Pralus. Those details are 18 months old and I think they may have moved to another premises in Weybridge in the meantime but with luck they’ve kept the phone number.
As far as white chocolate is concerned, El Rey is worth trying. HB Ingredients used to do it and still may do so. Google search should give you the details.

May 19, 2008
8:10 pm
miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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thank you marcellus. i’ll definately give them a call.

miss coco

May 20, 2008
8:18 am
Gracie
Chippenham, United Kingdom
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I was going to recommend El Rey’s Icoa as a white chocolate too. They don’t deodorise their cocoa butter so it has a unique cocoa taste that you won’t find elsewhere.
A word of caution though…I use Icoa whenever I need to mould or dip in white chocolate, but if you’re using it for a ganache with a subtle flavour, you might find it dominates. I’ve actually found that a mild dark chocolate often works better for subtle flavours when I had originally intended to use white. Standard white chocolate from Callebaut doesn’t interfere so much, but then it doesn’t really add to the experience either! You may as well use cocoa butter and sugar with cream!

May 20, 2008
1:35 pm
jc
manchester, United Kingdom
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Callebaut also do a non deodorised white chocolate which I think is classed as a single origin from Malaysia, it’s a little stronger than Elray

John

May 20, 2008
5:51 pm
miss coco
coleraine, United Kingdom
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thank you gracie and jc. all information is much appreciated[:D]

miss coco

June 3, 2008
12:55 pm
Ephrem
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I use and am quite pleased with Des Alpes Topaz 31 percent milk chocolate. It has strong caramel notes but is not as strong in chocolate flavor as the higher percentage Valhrona or Cluizel milk chocolates. They are based in Switzerland. I live in the U.S. so I don’t know who the distributer is in the U.K. I just thought you might like another suggestion. Good Luck with the terrible (implied sarcasm) ordeal of trying different brands of chocolate.