Questions and Answers - Our products

You can directly access any section of interest by clicking one of the topics below:

  1. Where to find our products?
  2. Cocoa
  3. Manufacturing and Composition
  4. Directions for use

1.Where to find our products?

I am a consumer who wants to buy Valrhona products

  • Please click here to go to our Store Locator page: https://inter.valrhona.com/en/store-locator-valrhona
  • You will find partners who distribute and/or use our products.
  • You can also contact the Valrhona Store in Tain l'Hermitage, France by calling +33 (0)4 75 09 27 27 If you live in France, they can take your order and have it shipped to your home.

 

2. Cocoa

What climate do cacao trees grow in?

  • Cacao trees grow in tropical climates at 20° latitude north and south of the equator.

How long do cacao trees live?

  • Cacao trees reach maturity at 7 or 8 years old and start producing less after the age of 25.

How tall are cacao trees?

  • Farmed cacao trees are pruned to about 10 feet high.

When does a tree start producing?

  • Trees start bearing fruit when they are around 3 or 4 years old.

How many flowers does a tree have?

  • Thousands, but only 1 out of every 1,000 flowers becomes a fruit, or pod.

How often are they harvested?

  • Cacao trees can produce year-round and may be harvested once or twice a year after the rainy seasons. Harvest times vary by region.

What color are mature pods and what color are the beans inside?

  • Pods are usually green or red. When ripe, red pods turn orange and green pods turn yellow. The beans inside can range from dark purple to white or cream-colored.

I would like some marketing materials about cacao

  • You may contact our customer service department and place your order by clicking the Help button.

 

3. Manufacturing and composition

Which kosher certifications does Valrhona use? For which products?

  • We have one product line that is certified kosher by the Orthodox Union: Ariaga, Batôn Petit Pain 48%, dark chocolate chips 60%, milk chocolate chips 32%, dark chocolate chips 52%. We also have a certified kosher pareve range: nibs, cocoa powder, cocoa butter. And we have a wide variety of kosher dairy products. If you have a question about a specific product, please click on the Help button and complete the form.

How is cocoa butter made?

  • Cocoa butter is extracted from chocolate liquor using hydraulic pressure.
  • It is then filtered and deodorized to obtain a flavorless, colorless butter.

What are pralines and how do they differ from each other?

  • Pralines come as a brown paste. The recipe contains at least 50% finely ground nuts and sugar. Valrhona's line of pralines offers a huge range of flavors and textures, so the possibilities for your delicious creations are endless. We offer many recipes with varying amounts of almonds and/or hazelnuts, pistachios, and pecans. Valrhona is also unique because it has two different product levels: pralines with a caramelized flavor and pralines that taste like fruit. Lastly, while most of our pralines have a smooth texture, we also sell two crunchier products to satisfy everyone’s tastes. 

Does Valrhona make pure cocoa butter chocolate?

  • Yes, Valrhona makes pure cocoa butter couverture chocolates according to Cocoa and Chocolate Directive 2000/36/EC, which means it does not add vegetable fat.

I would like to find out about a product's ingredients

  • If you are logged in as a customer, you can download the datasheets from the product pages.

Can Valrhona products be defined as ovo-lacto vegetarian?

  • Most of our products are suitable for a vegetarian diet.
  • You can also check the ingredients of our products in the datasheets on the product pages. 

What is cocoa butter and what is it used for?

  • It's the fat from the cacao bean. It's a texturing agent that gives couverture chocolate the desired amount of flexibility.
  • The solid form of cocoa butter is what makes chocolate look solid but feel melting.

Is chocolate an allergen?

  • Current European regulations list 14 major allergens. Cocoa beans are not one of them.
  • However, our products may contain and/or do contain one or more allergens on the list of 14 that must be stated.
  • The official list of allergens fixed under EU legislation is occasionally revised.
  • Allergy-causing ingredients are indicated in the ingredient lists. You can find our datasheets on every product page.

What do you do with the shells after roasting the beans?

  • Our cacao bean shells are reused in the perfume and fertilizer industries.

Do you have certified organic and fair trade products?

  • Yes, we have one product line with 4 chocolate couvertures, 2 bars and a coffee break product. .

What are nibs?

  • Nibs are pieces of shelled and roasted cacao beans.

What is the double fermentation process?

  • Valrhona chocolate is made according to a very special process where fermentation is a key step before it leaves the plantation.
  • Fermentation is a natural process that enhances the initial flavor profiles in the cacao beans when the yeasts turn the sugars into alcohol, which bacteria then turn into acetic acid.
  • It took ten years to create a new flavor signature by working closely with Valrhona partner producers.
  • Double fermentation occurs after conventional fermentation is complete. A new raw material is added to start the second fermentation phase.
  • The experts at Valrhona figured out that adding fruit, which is naturally rich in sugar, activates the second fermentation, a process that gives the chocolate products all their unique flavor character.

Why do you use powdered milk to make milk chocolate?

  • Liquid milk cannot be added in the milk chocolate manufacturing process because this milk has a very high water content that would destroy the chocolate, which is water-repellent. That is why the milk is dehydrated before being added to the chocolate. 

Can Valrhona products be defined as vegetarian/vegan? (Europe)

  • Most of our products contain or may contain eggs or milk and are therefore not vegan. The products that are suitable for a vegetarian or vegan diet are: cocoa powder, almond paste, sugar-coated eggs. They do not contain any animal products. 

Do you have a Health & Safety Certificate number?

  • Health & Safety Certificate numbers (French Order of June 8, 2006) only pertain to companies that prepare, process, transform or warehouse animal or animal-derived foodstuffs intended for human consumption. Therefore, we are not required to have a Health & Safety Certificate number. If needed, we do have the Health & Safety Certificate numbers of our raw material suppliers for ingredients like milk, cream and butter. 

 

4. Directions for use

How should Valrhona chocolate be stored?

  • For solid chocolates (tablets, beans, squares, etc.) and gourmet gift boxes
  • Storage condition on arrival: keep at 16-20°C (61-68°F) in a dry place away from light to prevent the fat content from going rancid. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, pralines and nut decorations are particularly sensitive.
  • For 2 kg boxes of chocolate bonbons (pro)
  • You can also store them at 16°C (61°F), the same as any chocolate bonbons. However, Valrhona recommends this method for conserving them at 4°C (39°F): As soon as they arrive, these chocolate bonbons have to be kept at 4°C (39°F) in their original box with the protective film intact. Before placing in a showcase at 16°C (61°F), slowly bring the box of chocolate bonbons under the film to ambient temperature over a period of about 3 hours.

What do I do if the couverture thickens or becomes like Vaseline?

  • You can prevent the couverture from over-crystallizing by raising the ambient temperature, which is probably too cold. If the surface of the couverture becomes shiny, immediately add a little couverture at 50°C (122°F) for dark couverture or 40-45°C (104-113°F) for milky couverture. If the couverture is just too cold, you have to re-temper it after keeping the chocolate melted for at least 3-4 hours.

It's difficult, if not impossible, to remove molded products from the molds.

  • It may not have been tempered in the right order. Check the bag for the recommended temperatures. Make sure the molds have been sufficiently cooled.

Why do you have to pre-crystallize chocolate?

  • Pre-crystallizing forms stable crystals that will allow the couverture to crystallize in a stable and consistent manner. Correct crystallization stops the fat from moving toward the edges of the chocolate, which would result in white spots. That is why it's important to carefully follow the recommended temperature curve so the chocolate becomes smooth and shiny without any white spots.

Can I eat the chocolate after the date on the packaging?

  • We guarantee that when products are stored according to our guidelines, they maintain their optimum organoleptic properties (appearance, flavor, texture) and do not undergo any changes before the Date of Minimum Durability (formerly the Best Before Date). We cannot guarantee that our products will keep their organoleptic properties after that date.

My chocolates have cracks.

  • The molds have been subjected to thermal shock. To prevent this from happening, wait before putting the molds in the refrigerator.
  • Do not chill at very low temperatures:
    - Molded bonbons: chill at 10-12°C (50-54°F).
    - Coated bonbons: chill at 15-18°C (59-64°F).

When the pieces come out of the molds, they have matte spots on them.

  • The molds are too cold.
  • They should be at room temperature during shaping (20-25°C/68-77°F).

Why do the chocolates have a whitish coating or white marks on them?

  • If the chocolate has been pre-crystallized, this problem is caused by molding conditions (molds too hot), storage conditions (ambient temperature too high), temperature shock or too much humidity.

What is chocolate bloom (whitening)?

  • The cocoa butter may not be crystallized correctly, which is why you see white spots. An example in the home would be putting a melted chocolate bar back in the fridge.
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