I normally use ghirardelli bars for making ganache that I use under my fondant. BUT the last couple times I went to walmart, they didn't have any and now the spot is removed. If I buy it from one of the other grocery stores in my area, it's almost twice as much and if I'm going to pay that much for chocolate, I started thinking about buying in bulk.
I don't do a big volume of cakes, so I don't want 50 lb bags!!
What is your favorite brand of chocolate (for making ganache) and should I look into buying in bulk?
Yes, I buy mine in bulk, it comes in 25lb boxes and it's over $5.00 per pound (but I also sell toffee so I need a good coverture).
You need to see what's available from your local restaurant wholesale stores. The least expensive chocolate I could find was chocolate chips from Aldi. Sam's and Costco also sell chocolate chips cheaply.
AWe use 365 brand vegan chocolate chips from Whole Foods for ganache since they were the only brand we could find that was dairy-free. For regular chocolate chips or bulk chocolate I recommend checking out your local restaurant supply store, Restaurant Depot has locations nationwide.
Stitches, what brand of couveture do you use? I just ordered Callebaut samples from my supplier to test in a couple of recipes. About the same price as yours.
AStitches, you think I can use the cheaper chocolate in ganache & it'll still hold up under fondant? I haven't been using ganache for all that long, so I didn't know! Is there a % I need to stay above to have it set up? I currently use semi-sweet that is 54% cacao.
I'm very lucky, I've been able to attend chocolate tastings several times and worked with several brands so I've got pretty strong opinions on them. Personally, I really dis-like Callebaut. I found it's viscosity too thick to work in all my baking applications, plus I'm not crazy about it's taste.
I love E. Guittard brand. It's handles perfectly in every application, I love the taste so much that we snack on it. It can be hard to track down a supplier in your area. In Chicagoland (where I live) there's only one business selling it:
Sotiros Foods, Inc.
He sells all the finest pastry products you can dream of..........and I find him very easy to work with. He can tell you who sells E. Guittard in your area and get you contact info., if you're interested.
Stitches, you think I can use the cheaper chocolate in ganache & it'll still hold up under fondant? I haven't been using ganache for all that long, so I didn't know! Is there a % I need to stay above to have it set up? I currently use semi-sweet that is 54% cacao.
Yes, you can use chocolate chips in place of coverture in ganache. Chocolate chips are heat resistant compared to coverture chocolates which melt around 90F......so it's definitely going to hold up well. It's a matter of taste..........and quite honestly cost too. Don't get hung up on cocoa butter percentages with ganache, you can make ganache with any percentage chocolate including unsweetened chocolate (yuk). Yes, you might need to tweak your cream to chocolate ratios if you use really cheap chocolate chips........but do so by trial. Test run how much cream to chocolate chips you like and keep records of your quantities......let them rest and use them on a test cake. You're sure to find what you like that way.
Making ganache with choc. chips and cream can be the same cost or less than making butter cream frosting for your cakes. But if you use premium chocolates, it's way more expensive. Consider butter is selling for around $2.00 per pound right now and coverture chocolate is over $5.00 per pound.
Yes, I love the E. Guittard, too. Sucks to have such good taste in chocolate. :) But my purveyors don't carry it (Iowa) and I can't afford to pay retail for resale (around $12/lb).
I'll send him an e-mail and see if he knows of a distributor here. I order from Reinhardt, Sysco and Martin Bros. And sometimes they use secondary suppliers for specialty items, so I'll check again. I'm looking for milk, semi and dark pistoles, callets, etc. for a fab chocolate chip cookie recipe. :)
AAldi has their Moser-Roth brand of chocolate which isn't bad. Maybe not as good as ghirardelli to some, but I like it when I can't get the other. They have 2 different dark chocolates, 70% & 85%, as well as milk chocolate.
Guittard here too. Their white chocolate makes wonderful modeling chocolate, too.
AHmm thats a shame I really like working with callebaut. I remember we got to taste a bunch of different covertures in school and there was one the discs were shaped like a little coffee bean. It had sortof a floral taste to it. It was by far the best chocolate I've had to date. But I don't know the name of it. Also coco barry is good.
AAt my local restaurant depot...I believe it's like $35 for an 11 pound bar. Might be 15 pounds even. But it's Callebaut which I like
I buy it with 2 other ladies in town, one is a cake decorator as well, and the other owns a bakery. We get Lindt Berne and 70% Scharffen Berger. We order together and split it up because you have to order a boatload to get the discount, and I'd have to sell my husband on Ebay to afford it all on my own :P
Anything else I need, I usually just order on amazon, haha.
there was one the discs were shaped like a little coffee bean. It had sortof a floral taste to it. It was by far the best chocolate I've had to date. But I don't know the name of it.
That's valrhona chocolate and it's widely considered the best chocolate in the world among pastry chefs.
AEeek! Good to know!
Such great information here!! Thanks everyone!! Although, I have a craving for something chocolate now...
Original message sent by cakestomuch
Has anyone ever tried Black River Chocolate from Jamaica? I bought some out of curiosity, but have not tried it yet. I have the last 4 products listed on the link.
AWow! I just checked out the valrhona chocolate thinking I might try it. That stuff must be really good for that price. I will have to get some small samples for comparison.
AYeah, I had one bite, one pistiole, 5 years ago. And I still haven't topped it.
I personally love Callebaut chocolate and their single origin dark chocolates all taste slightly different when you get to line them up and taste compare. I buy in 2.5kg and being a hobby baker I use this as an excuse to eat quite a bit of it out of a cup, rather than putting it all in the ganache and cakes and chocolates. Takes tooooo long to use up if I don't help by eating.
AI'm in the UK and I use the bog standard Dairyfine dark from Aldi. I have used Moser Roth, Green and Blacks etc and doesn't do it for me. Never had any customer complaints and I think it tastes great!
I thought I would update my chocolate search. Turns out that my restaurant supplier was unable to procure even an ounce of the Callebaut chocolate range they sell for testing. (Which was fine after Stitches gave her opinion on the viscosity of Callebaut).
Ended up ordering E.Guittard and Guittard from chocosphere.com. Ordered 6 lbs with an icepack and it made it fine from the west coast to the midwest in August. But I will have to order in 25 lb. boxes and will just have to stock up in the winter when it can ship ground.
Stitches, I did sign up with Sotiros, but couldn't figure out how to order online - maybe you have to call your order in? They do ship to my area, so it is good to have a few options.
Thanks to all -
Yes, you have to call Sotiros directly to place an order. It's a small gourmet wholesaler and you'll talk directly to the owner (Glen) or his wife. You probably wouldn't buy directly from them, instead he'll direct you to the right company in your area that sells the E. Guittard....unless your in our area. I don't know what part of the country you live in? Sotiros is in Chicago.
I'm in Iowa. My only wholesaler who sells E. Guittard (Sysco) only sells it through ChefEx, which means next day shipping is automatically added on to the price. So a 25 lb. box of chocolate ends up costing around $280.00. Compared to chocosphere, where I would pay about $125 plus $20 ground shipping.
So there is another "specialty" item that I won't order through my normal delivery channels because they either can't get it, or charge an arm and a leg. Same with almond flour - more expensive through my wholesaler suppliers than it is online. I guess they are happy only selling me eggs, butter and flour, because that is about all they are competitive on. But that is for another thread . . .
After 3 years of experimenting and having fun (hobby baker) with cake decorating and chocolate, I find that chocolate goodies are fast becoming my favorites!
I have a ton of questions about ganache on cakes, and ganache as a candy.
I have been using Guittard Dark Chocolate A'Peels. This is not a chocolate that requires tempering; it is a "dipping compound". I have used the A'Peels for ganache, truffles, dipping fruit and cookies, making molded chocolates. I LOVE IT!
Do any of you use a "compound chocolate"? I have the blessed opportunity to purchased a 25 lb. box of Guittard A'Peels locally at wholesale pricing, so I always buy in bulk since it is so inexpensive for me to purchase locally.
Here is a link to the "dipping compound" product on the chocosphere.com page:
I use Guittards white a-peels for some decorative items. They are far better than those Wilton bags of candy melts.
What kinds of questions do you have about chocolates and ganache? I know a fair amount, and I can direct you to experts online if you're looking for that?
I have not used the A'Peels, but use both the milk and dark E. Guittard wafers/disks (38% and 72% chocolate) and the Super Cookie chips (semisweet) and they are all fabulous! I would bet the A'Peels are a nice quality.
I have a hard time tempering, but find the seeding method the easiest. If I did LOTS of chocolate confections, I would just buy a tempering machine. :)
AI haven't used the apeels but I've used a similar product from clasen. I used to really love table tempering but its not always practical, and I seem to have lost my touch. Use it or lose it I suppose. I had the privilege at my old job of working with a hilliards. It was awesome, too bad it costs just about as much as my college education.