These days North Americans have developed an unprecedented appreciation and consumption of these elegant and flavourful chocolates. Several artisan producers invent new taste sensations, shapes, fillings and textures to entice consumers.
Chocolates, as we know it, is a Spanish invention. In fact, before conquistadors set foot on Aztec lands, no European knew about cocoa. Aztecs used cocoa beans as currency, and also made a bitter drink from these beans believing them to have aphrodisiac qualities.
Spaniards were intrigued with cocoa. They brought the plant to Europe and planted it, but, coca being a tropical tree, succumbed to the perils of the continental climate.
After several tries, Spanish confectioners were successful in producing an edible chocolate by combining sugar, cocoa, and cocoa butter. The Dutch, Swiss, and Belgian confectioners perfected production techniques. The French ever the gastronomic genius, developed a taste for dark chocolate and employed several manufacturers to satisfy demand.
Valrhona, in the village Tain l’Hermitage, in the Rhone Valley, has been producing chocolates and couverture since 1922, and enjoys a worldwide reputation for its dark, deeply flavoured chocolates.
The company has two divisions – consumer and trade.
The consumer division is reputed for its generic and single plantation chocolates. The grand cru line offers intensity, flavours of nuts, fruits, and elegance. Then there are several blends of coca butter content at different levels i.e 33, 40, 66, 70, and 85.
Cocoa fro Palmira bars originate in Venezuela, Apamakia from Madagascar, and Gran Couva from Trinidad, all of which are dark and display the characteristics of the soil and climate of the estate.
There are also blends with pecan, orange; the temptation line worth a range of spices and nuts.
The bigger division produces couverture chocolates for the restaurant and artisan chocolatiers.
Valrhona spends considerable funds to train pastry chefs in different countries including the U S A, Canada, Russia, Lebanon, Japan and China.
Recently, the travelling pastry chef of Valrhona was in Toronto to demonstrate recipes that he in conjunction with other pastry chefs invented.
He used a revolutionary chocolate concentrate (Coeur de Guanaja), Nyanbo from Ghana at 68 per cent cocoa butter and many other delectable Valrhona products.
All tasted memorable. They were intense and visually highly attractive.
Lentia, represents Valrhona couverture chocolates in Canada importers of fine foods for the trade and consumer products by a company in Montreal,
Valrhona bars are sold in high-end grocery stores across the continent and are well worth the price.