Friday, January 21, 2011

Chocolate Classification

Typically, the terms "grand cru" and "premier cru" has been used to describe wines, cognac, beer and now chocolate. While these terms are well defined when it comes to vineyards, however the use of these terms for other food items are not regulated. Therefore, there is a vague idea when it comes to reading the labels of food and in particular in chocolates.

I would safely say that many people do not know the classification of chocolates. For a start, we might not even know it if we are actually chewing on sugar instead of the real cocoa beans because no one reads the labels! Some of us would be aware of dark chocolates that are categorised by the amount of cocoa in a bar with percentages but do you know that all 70% cocoa bars do not taste the same? It's just like all 21 year-old whiskies do not taste the same either.

The secret lies in the ingredients of making the chocolate. Small chocolatiers do not have the resources to buy and process their own cocoa beans and thus they have to buy chocolate couverture to make their chocolates. Very few chocolatiers would actually have access to the high quality beans and then blend it the way they like before making them into bars. One such chocolatier would be Beschle (Swiss), joining the ranks of Amedei (Italian), Valrhona (French) and Domori (Italian) with it's Quiza collection.

A Premier Cru chocolate is actually more superior than a Grand Cru chocolate in chocolate terms unlike wines which is actually the other way round. Premier Cru, which designates that the cocoa in a bar is sourced from a specific area, such as a plantation, within a country or region. And Grand Cru designation signifies that the beans in a bar all come from a certain country or region.

Quizás’ philosophy stresses collaboration with the farmers from various regions of Venezuela, resulting in both a first class product . Beans are imported directly by Beschle to Switzerland and the whole line is free of vanilla and lecithin, leaving their ingredients list incredibly short: cocoa mass, cocoa butter, cane sugar. It's a brave move which resulted in stripping off the inferiority of the beans, fermentation and roasting process. The Quizás Premier Cru Criollo has subtle tastes of the bean to shine through, and a very smooth buttery melt on the palate.

Tastes great with a glass of single malt whisky too!

If you have a chance, try to grab a bar and try it yourself. Beschle has a boutique in Singapore at the Mandarin Gallery on Orchard Road. If I'm not mistaken, this bar is actually retailing at almost SGD$16-20. I think it's worth every cent!


Anonymous said...

‘For a start, we might not even know it if we are actually chewing on sugar instead of the real cocoa beans because no one reads the labels!’
For a start, read your own product labels.

‘Small chocolatiers do not have the resources to buy and process their own cocoa beans and thus they have to buy chocolate couverture to make their chocolates.’
Guess your ex-employer is one of them.

Premier Cru or Grand Cru is all about perception and marketing.

Cruel Angel said...

good info, I am an avid choco fans but age has caught up & I decided to slow down.


KY said...

i'ma cheap eat, i like the 50% type more. hehe

Sean said...

hopefully this will be available at retail outlets in kl soon too :D

Huai Bin said...

Nice! I like the minimalistic, classy packaging. When I eat dark chocolate I like the higher percentages too - 74% cocoa sounds incredible! :)

eiling lim said...

Anon: so does that mean that you sell proton and you can't drive a mercedes benz? I do not deny that they are many people who drives proton out there so what's wrong with giving people choices? Btw have u read Valrhona's labels? Is that cocoa or sugar? You tell me. Aren't we all living in a world full of marketing? Even the orange you ate has a brand!

Cruel angel: yeah moderation is always good.

Ky:haha 50% is not cheap k depends on which beans and brand u buy.

Sean: haha if people are willing to pay for the price of good choc, I'm sure they would be here too.

Huai Bin: usually the good choc has a mninimalist wrapper design because what's important is the ingredients, labels, description and taste.

Anonymous said...

Of course, proton seller can drive and buy Mercedes or BMW if he doesn’t has brand loyalty or trust his products.

So you admit your current products range is proton equivalent.

eiling lim said...

anon: excuse me, do you know what valrhona is? and btw if i don't have money to buy a BMW, I would buy a proton. I see nothing wrong with that.

suituapui said...

Like alcohol, the real drinker will be able to tell the slightest difference....the kaki botol will drink anything, just gulp down like water - no need for anything good and expensive - like casting pearls to swines.

As far as chocolates are concerned, I'm neither...and the same with liquor too.

Gee! We're poles apart, aren't we? So different.

Anonymous said...

Then do you know what Cartier is?

eiling lim said...

STP: Hey don't say that. Different people have different interests and mine is just different from yours.

foongpc said...

Oh, thanks for this information on chocolates! I don't know much about chocs just like I don't know much about wines : )

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