WHAT IS COVERTURE?
Coverture is the finest chocolate that you can buy. Transforming cocoa beans into edible Coverture is a complex process, in which ingredients, time and temperature play a crucial role. It undergoes a lengthy and costly refining process; it contains only cocoa mass, sugar, cacoa butter, vanilla and lecithin (with milk powder in milk & white chocolate). Cheaper confectionary chocolate has more sugar added, which leaves a scratchy texture on the throat.
It is the addition of extra cacoa butter that makes Coverture fluid when melted, which in turn makes it perfect for use in chocolate production. The very nature of cacoa butter is quite remarkable it is solid at 27c and completely liquid at 33c, it only takes 6 degrees to go from hard to liquid. This gives the sensational melt in the mouth experience.
There are three most used species of cocoa tree. The descendants that we see in the plantations today are usually cultivated or coincidental hybrids thereof, each with their own particular characteristics:
Thought to be originally from Mexico, also known as the prince among cocoa trees, produces pods with a very thin peel. The cocoa itself has a very pale colour and a unique refined aroma. This variety produces small harvests and is also very fragile.
Cariollo: (means native or local origin)
Originally from the Amazon. This is a stronger type of tree which is easier to cultivate and produces larger yields. The cocoa pods have a thicker peel and a coarser, stronger aroma. Cocoa from the Forastero beans is often called bulk cocoa because it gives chocolate a recognisable basic aroma. This cocoa therefore forms the basic ingredient in most chocolates and can often account for 80% of the cocoa mixture.
Forastero: (means foreigner or stranger)
This is a cross of both types of trees and has characteristics of both of the former: it has a strong but relatively refined aroma and, moreover, is very easy to cultivate.
Trinitario: a hybrid of the Criollo & Forastero.
CHOCOLATE PRODUCING COMPANIES
Barry Callebaut is the world's leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate - with the upmost importance placed on its social responsibility the company operates in an ethical manner within the countries where they source raw ingredients for the manufacture of their chocolate. With annual sales of more than CHF 4.1 billion per year 2006/07, the Zurich-based company is present in 24 countries, operates about 40 production facilities and employs some 7,500 people.
Chosen by the world's finest pastry chefs in the most prestigious gastronomic establishments, Valrhona have been creating exceptional chocolate since 1922. Dedicated to quality, Valrhona controls each step in the 'Grand Chocolat' process. Valrhona deal directly with its plantations.
Is the technique of taking the Coverture through a number of different melting and setting points making sure all of the fat crystals are bought to its correct crystalline form. The purpose of this is to achieve the desired high level of gloss & hard brittle snap in the chocolate. It also releases the aroma and extends the chocolate’s shelf life. If this is not done properly, the chocolate will not set or break cleanly and it can bloom, which will affect the flavour.
Characterised by a grey film of fat crystals on the chocolate surface, which makes the chocolate lose its gloss. It is caused by re-crystallisation of fats and / or migration of a fat from the centre to the chocolate layer. In contrast to sugar bloom the fat disappears when touched because it melts.
Blooming - Fat:
Sugar bloom is a rough, irregular layer on top of the chocolate and is always caused by condensation. The moisture settles on the chocolate dissolving the sugars. When the moisture later evaporates, the sugar is left behind in rough irregular crystals giving the chocolate an unattractive appearance. This happens when product is stored too cold or in a humid environment.
Blooming - Sugar: