You may already have been aware of the newest big trend in chocolate: the bean-to-bar chocolate.
It started years ago in San Francisco and is gaining popularity throughout Canada and Quebec.
Some already renowned craft chocolate makers, just to name a few, are: SOMA (Toronto,ON), Hemmingbird (Ottawa,ON), Chocolat Privilége(Montréal,QC), Palette de Bine (Mont-Tremblant,QC), and Take a fancy chocolate (Burnaby,BC).
What exactly is bean-to-bar?
It consists of taking cocoa beans to make chocolate bars which are slightly different from the »regular » chocolate-makers who use chocolate couverture . A bean-to-bar maker will pass through different stages to finally get the Holy Grail: a chocolate bar made from scratch!
It sounds fun for the chocolate maker and I know that some people have tried it at home. It is easy-to-roast cocoa beans and make chocolate in a coffee grinder, but the challenge is to get the right texture, remove the acidity and develop a good flavour profile.
What is the benefits for the consumers?
Chocolate aficionados can detect a wider range of flavours and unique tastes as the bean-to-bar chocolate makers either exclusively use single-origin beans or compose their own blends of different origin beans.
The movement is fairly recent and it is a growing trend all over the world. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Valrhona was a pioneer when the company bought its first plantation EL PEDREDAL in Venezuela 20 years ago. At this time, no one anticipated the coming bean-to-bar trend. Valrhona’s goal was to rehabilitate and reinstate a threatened cocoa species, Porcelana. More recently, Valrhona acquired a second plantation in the Dominican Republic. Named LOMA SOTAVENTO, the plantation grows a variety of cocoa tree called Trinitario, which is the product of hybridization between the rarest variety of cocoa tree, Criollo, and the most common, Forastero.
EL PEDREGAL plantation has enabled Valrhona to develop a vintage estate grown chocolate, with unrivalled delicacy: Porcelana El Pedregal (introduced in November 2011)
Like a fine vintage wine, the estate grown chocolates are the fruit of the yearly harvest of a single plantation, and the passion of a cocoa farmer. Each vintage thus offers you the opportunity to discover new facets of its personality. Valrhona also invites you to taste these vintage chocolates with unique and outstanding aromatic characteristics, LOMA SOTAVENTO from Dominican Republic, ElL PEDREGAL from Venezuela, GRAN COUVA from Trinidad and AMPAMAKIA from Madagascar.
These four vintage estate grown chocolates are exclusive to Valrhona and are represented in its CHOCOLATS DE DOMAINE line. They are THE quintessential bean-to-bar.