Friday, October 28, 2011

Six Kilos of Felchlin Arriba 72% Chocolate

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 HourThis is not so much a review as a recounting of an ongoing chocolate Odyssey.

I regularly watch the eBay candy auctions. And when I say regularly, I actually check the pages several times a day during the week. Partly to spy new candy products, partly to find international candies that are hard to get in the US, partly to find deals and partly to squash folks who like to use Candy Blog photos for their auctions without asking.

About a month ago I saw a new auction pop up for someone selling 13.2 pounds of Felchlin Swiss Couverture chocolate coins of Grand Cru Arriba 72% Cocoa (conched 72 hours).

The auction was priced at $95 and included local Los Angeles delivery. I bid. I won.

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 Hour

Because it’s for use as an ingredient, it’s packaged modestly. The mini case holds three bags. Each bag is 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds). I pulled out one bag for immediate enjoyment and put the other two, inside the box, into the bottom of my wine fridge. (Okay, I’d probably call it a chocolate fridge, which keeps everything at 58 degrees.)

Felchlin Arriba 72% - 72 Hour

Each little coin is about 3/4 of an inch around and has a set of embossed cacao pods on it. They’re kind of scuffed up, as they come in a bag like chocolate chips. They work as extra large baking chips but function better as eating chocolate. At this writing I am finishing up the first bag. I’ve made one batch of chocolate pudding, one small batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Rocher (meringues from a recipe from Tartine) and the rest has simply been eaten.

The disks fit in the mouth wonderfully, especially if you’re the kind of person who likes to let their chocolate melt. (Put two together to create an oblate spheroid and they’re doubly good.) The flavor is exceptionally well rounded, there is no dominant flavor though I get notes of molasses, honey, coffee and raspberry jam sometimes. 

As noted above, this is a 72 hour conch. Conching is the process of both mixing and grinding chocolate over low heat. The longer the processing the smaller the grain size of the cacao bits and the more emulsified the chocolate becomes. This process varies in time depending on what the cacao is like and the necessities of the final product. It can be anywhere from 24 hours to 100 hours. The grinding part is done with either stones or metal rollers.

This long conch also allows Felchlin to make an uncompromising chocolate without emulsifiers. So all that’s in there is cacao mass, sugar and vanilla. (So if you must avoid soy, try this.) It’s also creamy without cream. (So if you’re a vegan, try this.) It’s made from Criollo beans from the Los Rios area of Ecuador.

Yesterday I mentioned to Coppeneur Chocolate that I loved their Chuao origin. Today they gave me these:

Earlier this year I got to try a great example of how important conching is. When I was in Germany at ISM Cologne, one of my favorite chocolate companies, Coppeneur gave me this box of two chocolate bars. They were both made from highly prized Chuao beans (review of those bars here) but inside this box were two versions - one that was conched 70 hours and one that was conched 100 hours. The difference is quite remarkable. The longer a bar is conched, the silkier it becomes.

What I’ve learned is that I love long conched chocolate. It’s so smooth that the texture itself becomes like a flavor because it’s simply so forward in the experience.

Chocolate by M NonpareilsI’m not sure why the local gal was auctioning the bulk lots of chocolate, but I did find out that she runs a local chocolate catering company called Chocolate by M. She was kind enough to leave me with these huge nonpareils along with the delivery. The photo might make them look small, but they’re huge 3 inch platters of dark chocolate (I don’t know if it’s the same as the Felchlin 72%) with a dense sprinkling of nonpareils on the bottom.

It’s just one easy idea of what I could do with my bevvy of chocolate.

Chocolate by M Nonpareils

Mostly what I think I’m going to do with my chocolate stash though is eat it. It’s incredibly munchable but also exceptionally intense. I’ve found that I can’t make it an evening snack as there are too many caffeine-like compounds in there that keep me up at night. But I’ve found that it’s a great treat during the day while I work, I’ve been keeping a little dish of them on my desk and probably eat about an ounce of them a day. They’re filling and sustaining.

But maybe the last bag will make it to December and I’ll end up making chocolate truffles for Christmas.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 3:29 pm Tracker Pixel for Entry     All NaturalCandyChocolateSingle Origin9-YummySwitzerlandHighlight

  1. Wow I envy you.
    Such a good chocolate for the price.
    By the way , no added cocoa butter in ?

    Comment by Kuroishino on 10/28/11 at 11:25 pm #
  2. I read the title, and the first thought through my mind was, “This would be great for a room party at a Worldcon.”

    Comment by Johnny Carruthers on 10/29/11 at 12:57 pm #
  3. That is an amazing deal!! I love Felchlin chocolate for baking—it’s what I’ve used in a number of different restaurants and I also think their molding chocolate (candy coating) is top notch.

    If you get sick of eating it, let me know—I would be happy to buy some from you.

    Comment by Elizabeth on 10/29/11 at 4:03 pm #
  4. OMGOSH.

    Brilliant. As usual Cybele.

    Trying to get a complete picture on how you actually do this. Eat the chocolate. All your recipes sound great. My wish to do. Eat chocolate. Every day. Oh. I feel a migraine comin on.

    Recently I tried Black & Green. Very expensive. Not sure if I would buy again.

    Cybele .... what score did you give the Felchlin coins?

    The Chocolate M non pariels are tempting. These days, the old-fashioned types are way too sweet.

    You are a marvelous candy-taster-tester!

    Comment by Marcee on 10/29/11 at 4:04 pm #
  5. I am now completely fascinated by the e-bay food site.  I am marveling at what some people are selling.  And I am very jealous of your chocolate.

    Comment by Jules on 11/03/11 at 9:17 pm #
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