Saturday, December 25, 2010

Guittard: Simply the Best of 2010

It isn't unusual for a chocolatier, retailer or company to send us several products to review at the same time.  It is less expensive in terms of shipping after all plus then they've done it and they won't get a follow up email from me a few months later asking if they were still interested in being reviewed.  However when that happens it creates a challenge for us here on The Chocolate Cult -- storage and usage both become issues.  I don't want to spend an entire month focused on one company because I think you'd all get bored and I prefer variety.  Sending something I can use in my own baking or candy making or easily share with others is a great gift these chocolatiers offer me.  Guittard sent me two types of their products: baking chocolate in 24 square pallets and samples of their newer 3.5oz bars.  Over the course of the year I used the pallets and have done special sacramental reviews with them.  Today I can declare that Guittard is the Best Chocolate of 2010 here on The Chocolate Cult.

The first project I used this chocolate in was for a friend's birthday back in March.  I made a simple chocolate cake that called for melted chocolate not cocoa which I usually see in brownies, cakes or cookies unless you want to include pieces of chocolate within the batter itself that will last through the baking process.  I asked my friend what percentage of cacao she wanted and she chose the 38% Kokoleka Hawaiian Guittard chocolate.  You can learn more about that cake in this review HERE.  It melted wonderfully but I think that the lower cacao content allowed so many of the other ingredients through that it just didn't make my list of most chocolaty cakes but my friend thought it was OK if a bit dry.

One of the greatest challenges to using all this chocolate was the weather.  I don't know how many of you, Sisters and Brothers, bake or make candy, heck even just make simple treats but the weather particularly temperature and humidity has a huge impact on how chocolate performs. After a very long and hot summer, much more hot and dry than usual and yet oddly humid as well, I broke down and used the 55% Kokoleka Hawaiian Chocolate to make cereal bars.  I just needed some quality chocolate and I really wanted to make something rather than just eat something I'd been sent.  For this previous review you can check back HERE.  Think of using something as fine as Guittard here as making high class treats for yourself and your family. These were so wonderful that I'd say they are even worthy of being given as gifts or used for a birthday.

In November I finished making three recipes from a cookbook and used the 65% Cacoa Machu Picchu-Peru Chocolate from Guittard.  You can read the review that was mentioned in HERE.  I actually preferred ganache for the center of these treats not just because it didn't squish out as you ate it but it was so tasty and so easy to make -- a bit of heavy cream, a minute in the microwave, stir and wait. 

This made such a wonderful ganache for the whoopie pies that I had to use the final variety, for our annual Christmas Party.  For a change I made less chocolate items for the party.  I made a big cake which I'll review later, some cookies and I made a ganache to dip sponge cookies in from a new cookbook which, again, I'll review later when I've tried a few more recipes.  Let's just say that the bitterness of this chocolate was a wonderful change for me in that table of sweetness I and my family created for all our friends at the party.  The fact that the cookies themselves tasted like almost nothing just allowed the chocolate to shine more.

Here you see the undipped, the white almond bark dipped and the 70% dipped sponge cookies.  Guess which was my favorite?

All four of these Guittard pallets were wonderful for several reasons that involve all our senses.  The chocolate smells intense as soon as I opened the wrapping and that scent remains whether I melted it, combined it with other ingredients or baked it.  The squares themselves look adorable with the cocoa pods on them, they aren't shiny and artificial but solid brown to black in color.  As thick as the squares were they were separated by more narrow chocolate that I could snap off and that made a very loud sound indicating the purity of the product.  This purity meant that I couldn't hold the squares very long or they would start to melt but that low heat point also explains why it melts so quickly and so evenly whether I did it on the stove top or in the microwave.  The taste, each type had a unique flavor but always, always each variety had that buzz that we want from chocolate and cocoa regardless of how many other ingredients I added to it.

All of that makes it easy for your Chocolate Priestess to declare Guittard to be the Best of 2010 here on The Chocolate Cult.  Sadly, very sadly, I don't see these pallets for sale on their website.  I see the bars I was sent and a lot of cocoa but not these particular pallets of chocolate.  However, I strongly recommend that you look into Guittard and check back here for a review of their 3.5oz bars very soon.


Torviewtoronto said...

looks delicious

Confectionary Designs said...

Very nice review! Thank you for sharing your results.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thank you both for reading and commenting.

I'm sure 2011 will see in more wonderful chocolate, incredible giveaways and surprises so I hope you keep following.

briarrose said...

Mmmm....looks so so good.

TheChocolatePriestess said...

I have a good amount left so I plan to keep using it.

Katja said...

They are generally underrated by people, because they are domestic. I found it hard to sell the brand. I think I will give it another go though, thanks to your review! Happy New Year CP!

TheChocolatePriestess said...

Thanks for reading and commenting, Katja.

I've seen several chocolatiers mention that they use Guittard chocolate but until very recently it seems they were only for professionals since I never saw them in stores and most of their products on their website are for very large quantities. Of course, I'm dealing with a large supply of samples and products all the time but I still have chocolate from these pallets to use myself.

May I ask what you do, Katja, that involves selling chocolate?

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