Saturday, January 8, 2011

E. Guittard and Cacao Barry couverture chocolate - not just for professionals!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had visited a Homesense retail store, in Sudbury, Ontario and made some great chocolate finds in their gourmet food section.  Today I am tasting two of those chocolates (E. Guittard Semisweet chocolate couverture and E. Guittard Bittersweet chocolate couverture), and comparing them to a similar chocolate by another manufacturer (Cacao Barry extra-Bitter Guaryaquil).  If you are not a professional pastry chef, baker or chocolatier, you may not have come across the term "couverture" before.  It is used for chocolate that is of high quality and that has added cocoa butter to assist in creating beautiful looking (and tasting) chocolates, truffles and desserts. You can use it too, if you know where to buy it, and make your home-baked desserts all the more wonderful.

I began my tasting today with the E. Guittard Semisweet chocolate with 61% cacao solids.  It is very smooth and creamy and seems like it has a high amount of cocoa butter compared to other chocolate couverture that I've ried. It has almost the colour of milk chocolate as well - this could be the beans used, the roasting process or possibly the amount of cocoa butter used. Overall, I really like the E. Guittard Semisweet couverture and I'm finding it hard to stop eating it!

When compared to Cacao Barry's Extra-Bitter Guayaquil couverture chocolate (which I always have on hand for my business), you can see just how buttery and creamy it is in comparison.  The Cacao Barry tastes sweeter and crispier, and definitely has that texture and taste like there is more sugar in it than the E. Guittard Semi-Sweet.  Although the Cacao Barry is smooth, it just isn't as smooth and rich as the E. Guittard - like the way a dark chocolate mousse made with a lot of cream tastes, compared to a fat-free chocolate jello pudding...or something like that.

Since I've been using the Cacao Barry Guayaquil for some time, I can say that it is really nice to work with, has a good chocolaty flavour and a perfect amount of sweetness that makes great dark chocolate truffles and beautiful shells for filled chocolates.  I have not worked with the E. Guittard couverture yet.  I have a feeling the cocoa butter content may make it a bit harder to temper, but the flavour would be divine in any chocolate creation.

Now moving on up a % point....

E. Guittard also makes a 72% Bittersweet chocolate couverture for baking (and eating). I've tasted it and again, I think I am in love.  It still has that milk chocolate colour, like E. Guittard's 61% bittersweet.  It is definitely ob the bitter side, but does not have that harsh acidic edge that many dark chocolates in the 70% range can have. Of course, the memory of those acidic and bitter 85% chocolate bars that I tasted the other day may still be lingering, and so this is wonderful in comparison.  It has that smoothness and creaminess of the added cocoa butter and I highly recommend giving it a try.  I imagine it would make very nice extra dark truffles - the kind that do not turn off people who prefer sweeter chocolate because it lacks that acidity and bitterness. I will add a comment to this post once I have worked with the chocolate to let you know how it is for tempering and truffle-making.  I'll throw in a recipe with it.

Overall, I'd say that E. Guittard offers a really nice, smooth chocolate couverture.  It is also great that it comes in wafer form, so no time is wasted on cutting and chopping, and it is all natural.

Here is further information on the chocolate that I tried today:

E. Guittard Bittersweet Chocolate (couverture chocolate wafers for baking & eating), 72% cacao, 1 lb/454 gram package
Guittard Chocolate Company
Burlingame, CA, U.S.A.
Ingredients: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla beans.

E. Guittard Semisweet Chocolate (coverture chocolate wafers for baking & eating), 61% cacao, 1 lb/454 gram package
Guittard Chocolate Company
Burlingame, CA U.S.A.
Ingredients: cocoa beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, vanilla beans.

Cacao Barry Extra-Bitter Guayaquil, 64% cacao, 11 lbs/5kg package
Barry Callebaut Manufacturing France / Belgium
Ingredients: unsweetened chocolate, sugar, cocoa butter, soy lecithin, natural vanilla flavour.  May contain: milk.

1 comment:

  1. Since this post, I have used the E. Guittard Semi-Sweet Couverture to make a nice, smooth and creamy tasting dark chocolate truffle.
    Here's how:
    1. Place 8 ounces of the E. Guittard Semi-Sweet chocolate in a stainless steel bowl.
    2. Heat 3/4 of a cup of whipping cream to boiling point and immediately pour over the chocolate.
    3. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon. Stir slowly, clockwise and with spoon continuously touching bottom of bowl to minimize air bubbles until all the chocolate is completely melted and no lumps remain. To know if your truffle is lump free, lift spoon up high with the ceiling light behind you and look through the stream of chocolate as it falls back into the bowl. If you see no lumps, your truffle is ready.
    4. Put an air tight lid on the bowl or wrap well with plastic food wrap. Set bowl on counter overnight.
    5. In the morning, place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool and set for two hours.
    6. Once set, roll into balls using a spoon and the palms of your hands. Drop directly into cocoa powder and roll, or dip into melted tempered chocolate and then roll in cocoa powder - depending on your preference.
    7. Eat immediately or freeze in an airtight container for future indulgence!