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Really exciting time as we're shortly due to open our first chocolate factory shop in the UK. Now that the reall leg work has started, we are currently looking at suppliers of raw materials and I was absoluteley astounded by the sheer number of chocolate and couverture types on offer from the various suppliers. A

difficult question to answer as I realise everyone has their own taste in chocolate but is there any such thing as a 'safe' choice for the main chocolate types to use for a retail start up?

Tags: chocolate, choice, choosing, types

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Hello Mike,

Are you planning to only use chocolate couverture or cocoa beans, liquor or butter as well?

Here in the US reliable sources for couverture would be Barry Callebaut, Guittard

Hi Mike,

I'm surprised you've got to this stage without knowing what chocolate you're going to use but I'm sure you know what you're doing! If you looking for a safe, mainstream, decent value couverture then the standard ranges from Callebaut or Belcolade are probably the most popular ones. Next level up in terms of quality (and price) would be either the higher-end ranges from these companies or Felchlin, Cluizel or Valrhona.

Good luck,

Nick.

Mike:

One way to look at the question is to take a look at the price you're going to be able to charge for your finished product and then work backwards from there.

If your market will pay for a premium product at £60 or more per kilo then you've got a lot of freedom to choose the chocolate you want. If your market has trouble paying £20/kg then you need to look a lot harder at your chocolate choices.

Keep in mind that there's nothing magical about the air or water in Belgium or Switzerland or France that makes their chocolate any better than chocolate manufactured elsewhere. They all use pretty much the same machinery, they all use pretty much the same beans (that is, until you get into the premium brands). After that it's just marketing.

I think it's a matter of taste. Buy the chocolate you like. That said, there are people who think that Belgian chocolate is best or Swiss chocolate is best and if your market has a lot of people who've bought into the marketing hype then it makes sense to pay attention to that fact and use it to your advantage. From personal experience {{{{ shudder, trying to forget bad tasting experiences }}}} I can tell you that there is a lot of crap chocolate made in Belgium and Switzerland.

One approach I recommend to all my consulting clients is to consider blending two or more couvertures to arrive at a distinctive taste profile. One of the challenges with using the same chocolate that everyone else does is that it's much harder to differentiate your product from others when the base ingredient tastes the same. Another thing to consider is always using the same chocolate for the enrobing and shells, and then to use different chocolates for the fillings.

So - I wouldn't go for a "safe" choice, I'd go for something that gives you a competitive edge over all of the other confectioners in your market.

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