Something useful I learned at Whole Foods

I was looking for chocolate meeting particular specifications for some recipes I’ll be writing about soon. I went to the cheese specialty department at my local Whole Foods, where they sell broken blocks of chocolate, but the labeling is too general to be useful in determining what products they are actually selling. (The labeling on Valrhona products is usually pretty specific and accurate, but not so for Callebaut.) Once I found a clerk who understood what I was asking for, I was able to get them to tell me what the various blocks of chocolate actually were. I don’t know how much this varies from one unit to another (department managers at Whole Foods have a fair amount of flexibility in what they carry), but for the benefit of those who don’t want to mail-order their Callebaut, here’s what I found out:

  1. The chocolate labeled “bittersweet” is L-60-40-NV (60% cacao).
  2. The chocolate labeled “semisweet” is 811NV (54.5%), or perhaps D811NV (52.6%).

I only asked whether they had any 811 or 815, which is why I don’t know which of the 811s it is; I would have preferred the 815NV, but I took what I could get reasonably easily in the small quantity (less than 1 kg) that I needed. I don’t normally make recipes that specifically call for low-test chocolate; my normal chocolate for baking would be TCHO or Valrhona, but in this case I wanted to prepare the recipes as written, and both called for 55% rather than the 66% or 70% I would usually reach for.

Of course it would be much simpler if they labeled the Callebaut packages with the actual product inside, like they do with Valrhona (and used to do with El Rey back when they carried that).

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