Last month I went to the Callebaut Chocolate Academy in St. Hyacinth, Quebec to study chocolate and bonbon making with their school Director Derrick Tu Tan Pho.
*Fun Fact* about Callebaut: The company was founded by Eugenius Callebaut as a brewery in Wieze, Belgium, in 1850, and began producing chocolate bars in 1911. (Who would have thought a chocolate company started as a brewery?)
At school we played with various Single Origin Chocolates. Single Origin chocolates are grown in a single region or country whose distinctive flavors are directly influenced by that territory (or environment). This means that the taste of the chocolate could be more fruity, earthy, bitter, acidic, smokey, taste like tabacco because of the soil, rain and vegetation. This is very similar to the way wine is grown and why the flavours change from Chardonay to Sauvion Blanc. Most of the chocolates we consume in North America are a blend of chocolate from various countries therefore it would be like a table wine made with a few varieties of grapes.
What makes Single Origin chocolates tend to be more expensive? I like to tell people that it compares to the coffee industry, why a cup of coffee at Starbucks is so expensive compared to Nabob and other large coffee suppliers. We purchase the coffee because of its unique tastes. We also learned about the roasting techniques and how each taste differed from each country. Before we even knew it Starbucks became a flavour addiction and now a daily routine! I truly believe that once you sample some unique flavours of chocolate from different countries it opens your mind to a quality of Chocolate that is relatively new to North America and truly incredible!
When I open my showroom in the front of our company this year I hope to showcase these amazing flavours and educate our already super smart consumers about all the fun flavours you can experience from many different countries.
Wish me luck opening a retial store is a BIG job getting the space ready but I am so excited!