Yet, good chocolate is not birthed from ‘just any cocoa bean’. The chocolate experts at Callebaut® wholly believe that “great chocolate comes from growing great cocoa”. For the last 100 years or so, Callebaut® has consistently remained the choice chocolate for chefs and culinary craftsmen all around the world, be if for cooking or baking. From the basic cooking chocolate, research and development continues to bring innovations to the table with chocolate for coating/glazing, filling, “bake stable” chocolate, nuts, cocoa products and decorative chocolates, to name a few. It has been one that esteemed chefs go to as its quality has not waned after many generations. Perhaps it is not a stretch to say that Callebaut® is part of the inspiration for many delectable culinary creations that fuse various flavours, something that the people in white suits and tall hats can gleefully go crazy with.
With chocolate, nary a gloomy image is conjured up. However, the foundation of it, referring to cocoa, has weathered many storms over the course of time – be it environmental, economics or human exploitation. The cocoa bean is actually complex and fussy in its choice of habitat. It requires very optimum climate conditions, healthy soil and great care; yet it is the opposite (depleted soil, unsavoury farming practices, aging trees and farmers) in West Africa, where the majority of the world’s cocoa originates. Realising the downward spiral, Callebaut® moved and is taking strides to maintain the quality in cocoa farming, most importantly ensuring sustainability.
Whether it is certified chefs or your average cook-at-home in focus, a shift is apparent whereby more people want to know exactly where their ingredients come from. “Knowledge is power” isn’t just an inspirational saying. When you know, you are able to make informed choices for quality assurance, taste and safety. Hence, Callebaut® is now bringing forth its new direction, a three-pronged concept that covers the entire manufacturing line of chocolate; from cocoa bean to the finished product. “Grow Great Chocolate” is a platform that invites customers to see the whole process of how chocolate is made from seed to finished product. It is an invitation to grow great chocolate together. This connection is also apparent in Callebaut®’s rebranded logo, which is inspired by Aztec symbolism and shows the interdependency between cocoa, chocolate and craftsmanship.
It starts from the core, which is the cultivation of cocoa beans. Callebaut® sees the importance of working with local farmers to continually produce top notch cocoa beans, work these farmers can be proud of as they are part of making great chocolate, today and tomorrow. Farmer training programs impart knowledge and introduce innovative agricultural practices that enable farmers to improve crop quality for better yield. Through direct partnership with farmers and cooperatives, there is no need for middlemen and traders to transact between growers, directly increasing farmers’ income towards better living standards.
As the details of growing quality and sustainable cocoa are ironed out, the focus falls on processes and procedures. Under this campaign, Callebaut® seamlessly integrates its in-house manufacturing operations, which are one of the key factors of the trust it has gained. It is the only Belgian chocolate couverture maker that processes cocoa beans on its own, following techniques of Callebaut®’s Master Blenders and Roasters, passed down from generation to generation, maintaining the great taste that culinary artisans have come to recognise and love. Taste only goes this far, especially when Callebaut® produces chocolate as a foundation or an accompaniment to culinary delights, not for consumption on its own. The next pillar of this campaign is then great workability where grinding and conching play their respective roles. Ground finer than the distance between the human taste buds, a velvety texture is a sought-after experience while careful conching removes acidic flavours before the chocolate is finished with cocoa butter and natural vanilla for optimum fluidity and a balanced taste.
Callebaut® has always been a pioneer in cooking chocolate. Since bursting into the scene way back in 1911, its consistent presence is testament to a desire of achieving higher standards and diversifying its portfolio. But times have changed, and Callebaut® has adapted to change with gusto by finding ways to rein in positivism from the less than rosy outlook of the industry. With that, the Grow Great Chocolate campaign was born and launched on May 1st 2012 – an initiative that shifts its entire production to sustainable cocoa with the aim of improving relations between cocoa producers, Callebaut® and consumers through education, innovation and sustainability to uphold its century-long standard and quality.
Some Hints to Picking the Finest Belgian Chocolate That is Just Right for Your Taste:
• 80–20-44NV is the most potent dark Finest Belgian Chocolate of all. Its very high cocoa content makes for a very intense cocoa taste that is never too bitter. 80-20-44-NV has been developed for creations that require a strong chocolate boost: ganaches, brownies, moelleux, dark chocolate mousse…
• 70-30-38NV has a powerful and intense chocolate taste. It is ideal to reduce sweetness, especially in combination with hazelnut praliné, nougat, etc. Furthermore the high cocoa butter content in this chocolate gives cream-based preparations firmer texture.
• 60-40-38NV is rich and intense, in a mild, widely accepted way. It is a perfect chocolate for numerous applications that require a firm chocolate taste without overstatement. The high cocoa butter content in this chocolate gives cream-based preparations a firmer texture.
• 815NV & 835NV are both ideal to give cream-based and sweet preparations a rich chocolate taste and firmer texture. Think of chocolate mousse, creamy ganaches, ice-cream… In fact, cream and sweet ingredients absorb the intensity from the cocoa. 835NV offers a rich flavor with less bitterness compared to 815NV.
• 811NV chocolate is an all-around couverture. It has become a true reference among professionals. Its balance in taste, color and texture fits many applications and is well perceived by a very broad audience.
• 805NV & 804NV are sweet to very sweet dark chocolates. They are ideal in combination with sour or bitter ingredients, or ingredients that offer very little sweetness.
• 823NV is an all-round couverture: ideal in various applications, and great in a milk chocolate ganache. It has a darker color, an intense cocoa taste with typical caramel flavors and creaminess. It balance of taste, color and texture is well perceived by a very broad audience.
• 667NV & 665NV have a very light color and pronounced caramel flavors. They work best when combined in dessert with less sweet ingredients.
• 845NV is a full-bodied creamy milk chocolate, and just great as a pure ‘eating chocolate’. It tastes excellent in combination with sour flavors, too.
• 826NV is a very light, creamy milk chocolate with subtle hints of caramel. It is ideal in combination with ingredients that have a subtle, light taste.
• 668NV forms soft milk chocolate with a subtle taste and a light color. It is great when combined with creamy (chocolate mousse) or less sweet ingredients.
• WNV has a refined, pronounced and intense caramel flavor. It is an excellent choice: even in creamy dessert such as bavarois, mousse, etc. It remains very expressive.
• W8 has been developed to offer the same, balanced creaminess as W2NV, yet less sweet. It is therefore ideal in a wide variety of applications, and works well in combination with sweeter ingredients too.
• CHW-R2241NV has an intense taste of fresh milk that lasts. It is the perfect chocolate for hollow figures, tablets, enrobing… It also lends itself wonderfully to desserts and pastries that require the creaminess of white chocolate, yet with dosed sweetness.
• W2NV is an all-round couverture: ideal in various applications. It has a balanced, creamy milk taste and smooth texture and is well perceived by a very broad range of people.
• W11NV has a pronounced sweet taste. It can be used in combination less sweet or slightly sour ingredients: dark, bitter chocolates for instance.