Note: I would like to thank Guittard chocolates for sending me a sampler of their latest artisan chocolates.|
I just (November 2011) found a wonderful website offering many great varieties of bulk chocolate as well as flavorings, etc and received my first order from them:
I've written reviews on their website of some of their bulk chocolates, and highly recommend their Madagascar and Felchlin chocolate.
In January of 2012, I was sent samples of 10 Agostoni chocolates. Outstanding! Read my review and learn how to get them by clicking here.
The Best of the Best
These are the chocolates that I find simply wonderful:
Note: please read my latest review of the Agostoni chocolates, here, because they are phenomenal and really worth getting, and not listed below.
1. Inexpensive but super:
Felchlin Maracaibo -- available from Chocolateman (in their bittersweet section), Felchlin is an exceptional chocolate with an incredibly lovely blend of flavors, perfectly balanced with both fruityness and depth and incredible smoothness. Outstanding!
Guittard Madagascar -- also available from Chocolateman (in their single origin section) in 500g (1.1 lb) blocks, this is an excellent example of just how superlative chocolate from Madagascar is. Fruity, winey, raisiny, and just plain fantastic in flavor.
Guittard Oro bittersweet ribbons -- in the shipment that Guittard sent me were many varieties, but I was very surprised by the excellent and well-rounded chocolate flavor of the Oro ribbons. Amazing! (You can get it in bulk at the Chocolateman link at the top of this page.)
El Rey Gran Saman -- a wonderful, single-bean Venezuelan chocolate that has a light and perfumey flavor. Fine for providing the high notes when blended with other chocolates! (You can get it in bulk at Chocolate Source)
2. Expensive and great:
Dagoba New Moon organic chocolate is bittersweet, wonderfully complex, and superb. I often purchase the bars for eating, but because of the price seldom cook with it.
Michel Cluizel bittersweet chocolate is wonderful, but too pricey to usually use in cooking.
Santa Barbara Peru Organic Chocolate comes in 66% and 78%. The 78% in particular is very fine, albeit expensive, but appropriately priced for an organic chocolate from well-paid farmers. To visit their website and purchase chocolate, click here.
Very, Very Good Chocolate
Callebaut bittersweet is available at most fine grocery stores, and is a "tried-and-true" wonderful baking chocolate. I'm grateful for all of the years this has been a mainstay in my baking. (You can get it in bulk at Gourmail)
Ghirardelli Bittersweet Bars. For those who cannot obtain fancy chocolate, or who want to whip up a special recipe while traveling and only have a Safeway to get their chocolate at, this is a wonderful inexpensive chocolate. As a person living near San Francisco, I continue to be impressed by the quality of these bars.
Shokinag Extreme Dark Chocolate Chips is a new couverture (chocolate for melting to cover truffles with) that has 40% cocoa butter and 25% cocoa liquor and an excellent deep, rich taste. You can see a list of distributors by clicking here. The taste is wonderful.
Quite Good for Blending with Other Chocolates
Schokinag Bittersweet Chocolate Couverture is a fine (and inexpensive) chocolate for coating truffles with, or adding to a blend of other chocolates. (You can get it in bulk at Chocolate Source)
Guittard Gourmet Bittersweet is a well-balanced and inexpensive, if a little undistinguished, chocolate that is fine for using in chocolate making. (You can get it in bulk at Baker's Cash and Carry)
Valrhona Equatorial is a very nice chocolate for eating, but I find it a little too "flavored" and not "chocolatey" enough to use by itself for cooking, but it adds a great deal when blended with other chocolates. (You can get it in bulk at Gourmail)
Cacao Barry Concord Lenotre bittersweet. I purchased a large block of this chocolate and was surprised that while I didn't like it at all "raw", i.e. for eating pieces of, that it was truly a fine chocolate for blending with others in making baked goods and truffles. (You can get it in bulk at Gourmail)
Fair for Blending with Other Chocolates
Guittard Onyx is a bittersweet chocolate that is quite "monochromatic" in flavor. In other words, it hits only one or two taste notes, and is not good enough to use by itself, but is useful to provide a "base note" in blending with other chocolates.
Hawaiian Vintage Fine Dark Chocolate was both very pricey, even at wholesale prices, and completely disappointing to eat (or cook with) by itself. It had too much cocoa butter added, and had a slightly off-putting smokey aftertaste. But it actually is a fine chocolate for adding to a mixture of chocolates for truffles. Just don't use it by itself.
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