Valrhona, one of the world’s leading producers of chocolate, has been operating out of the small village of Tain L’Hermitage, France, since 1922. Because of its quality chocolate and the company’s commitment to sustainably, the company has been a favorite of pastry chefs for decades. Therefore, it made sense that they had a booth at this year’s 2017 StarChefs International Chef Congress (ICC) in New York City, as the producer is always on the top of what’s happening in the chocolate world. So what trends are they seeing emerge? According to their representative, “different types of sugar.”
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“We’re seeing different types of sugar being used in chocolate, especially in Europe,” a representative from the marketing team said. “And whatever is in Europe moves this way.”
In particular, they’re seeing muscovado sugar, which is a pure, unrefined cane sugar. They get theirs from Mauritius, a small island east of Madagascar. To obtain the product, sugarcane is crushed, pressed of its juice, and then the juice is heated, dried, and ground.
“Because of its natural molasses content, muscovado sugar has a rich brown color and delicate liquorice flavor,” a Valrhona pamphlet reads. Because of its unique flavor, texture, and color, Valrhona wanted to make a chocolate that celebrates the sugar. Hence, Orelys 35% was born.
A part of Valrhona’s Blond Range, the chocolate is made of cocoa butter, powdered whole milk, dark muscovado whole cane sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Its dominant flavors — liquorice, biscuits — come from the muscovado, as well as its color and texture. The 35% in the name refers to the percentage of cocoa present in the bar, and the light bronze, soft chocolate is best highlighted when prepared as a ganache, mousse, or cream mixture.
“People don’t always realize that different chocolate have different flavors,” Valrhona said, and preparations like mousse and ganache truly highlight the nuances of a flavor. However, Valrhona also recommends simply biting right into the bar, or serving it with banana, pear, cookies, or coffee. “It’s a chocolate that’s really good for pairings.”
When asked about what consumers are looking for these days, a Valrhona representative said that people want to try news flavors, which they have supplied in this new bar.
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“More interesting ingredients, fewer preservatives,” they said. Consumers are also pursuing foods that are organic and Fair Trade-certified, as sustainability is on the tops of people’s minds. Responding to this demand, too, Valrhona recently launched a Fair Trade and Organic Range.
“Overall, people want variety,” they said.