What is the difference between a chocolatier and a chocolate maker?
It felt apt to answer such a question at this point in my reviewing career. A question which can divide a room of chocolate lovers within one fail swoop of a chocolate covered wand.
One of the most common misconceptions about the chocolate industry is that chocolatiers make their own chocolate from cocoa beans.
They are the creators, the Willy Wonka’s, the people who will take a single origin chocolate and turn into something of pure beauty. (The Chocolat Story as an example)
Chocolatiers source chocolate, known in the industry as couverture. The quality of the couverture chocolate really does shine through in the end product.
Think back to the slightly musty, old tasting boxed chocolates devoured at Christmas time, unfortunately low quality couverture would have been used to keep costs down.
Chocolatiers are typically creating filled chocolates, flavoured bars, truffles and everything in between.
For example; renowned chocolatier Paul A Young is famous for his innate ability to make chocolates & truffles taste and look amazing, he goes to extraordinary lengths to ensure he sources the best.
Paul sources his couverture from award winning French chocolate makers; such as the infamous Valrhona and Michel Cluizel, he also likes to support the smaller artisan producers such as Mast Brothers and Duffy Sheardown.
The Chocolate Makers
Chocolate makers are taking on the responsibility of taking the raw cocoa bean, then putting it through a highly skilled and complicated range of processes. Conching, roasting, grinding, tempering and cooling.
French chocolate makers have held 80% of the chocolate couverture market over the last few years but the UK are now following close behind.
British makers such as Willie’s Chocolate & Duffy Sheardown are producing amazing couverture chocolate which is widely recognised and used by chocolatiers worldwide.
There are many small batch producers who don’t own their own factory but use bigger chocolate makers to work with them to create their own chocolate. Hotel Chocolat are an example of this.
This is why it’s always a good idea to ask of a chocolate company where they buy their chocolate from and the answer is a big clue to the quality – if they say ‘Belgium’ then you can be pretty confident it’s mass produced and will be a blend of many varieties of Cocoa Bean.
The Magic Beans
Top chocolatiers are usually pretty transparent about the origins of the couverture chocolate they use to create their chocolates.
As an example; with my recent foray reviewing The Chocolat Story chocolates, chocolatier Trace was very honest about her chocolate. Proudly sourcing top quality Peruvian and Madagascan couverture chocolate.
Spending a little extra makes a big difference in the world of boxed chocolates. Savour their beauty and feel embraced by flavours beyond your imagination.