The Chocolate Life

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Hi, All! I'm an aspiring chocolatier in Kansas City and am enrolled in the Professional Chocolatier course through ecolechocolat dotcom. I have been using Callebaut 835 as my primary couverture but wanted to add something a little snazzier to it. I was thinking of Valrhona, Sharffenberger, El Rey or Felchlin. So I went to the supplier chocolateman dotcom, where (there is no El Rey but) I was surprised to find the Felchlin is crazy inexpensive! Now I'm really curious why this is so: it is a Criollo product and Swiss and, by all reviews I've read, an outstanding chocolate. None of these variables suggest a much lower price than the dramatically costly Valrhona -- or do they? What makes Felchlin so cheap? Is there less production involved (e.g., shorter roasting time) because the Criollo beans are so fragrant?

I'd love any answers!

Kate R.

Tags: buying, cost, criollo, felchlin, manufacturing, price, swiss, wholesale

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Hi Kate,

I read your post and couldn't not respond to you to tell you about another new line of couverture. I'm the Director of Sales for a new chocolate company in San Francisco called TCHO. We are chocolate makers, pod-to-palate, and we produce our couverture here in San Francisco which allows us to keep our prices affordable while offering a very high quality product. I'd love to send you some samples of our couverture for you to work with. I think you'll find our quality to be equal to or possibly exceeding many of the brands mentioned in your post and our pricing is equally attractive. You can reply to me apart from this forum at

I look forward to hearing from you.

Hi Rob, I sampled Tcho last month in SF and was sorry not to be able to tour the factory. I will email you regarding the couverture. Thanks!
I thought this sort of shilling was frowned upon here?

Not that I mind your product or the way in which you've sought to alter chocolate appreciation to pointing, not unlike Koko the gorilla, to a brightly colored wheel... cause that is just genius.

There are a lot of chocolate companies represented on TheChocolateLife. I am not averse to their answering questions and mentioning their product - as long as the mention is appropriate and contextually relevant. As well as accurate.

So - I don't mind Rob mentioning Tcho, but I do have to ask if the factory is up and running and they are finishing the chocolate there. Last I heard (at the Summer Fancy Food Show) roasting and liquor grinding were still (mostly?) being done in-country of the bean origin and the liquor turned into finished chocolate in SF. Is this still the state of things, Rob?

:: Clay

BTW - I am on record as saying that I do like much of the marketing approach the company is taking and simplifying tasting descriptions is a big - and good - thing.


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