The premium private label chocolate industry is becoming increasing interested in the subtleties of cocoa and is willing to sacrifice single origins for a flavorsome blend, according to French chocolatier Cémoi.
Maud Clarissou, communications manager at private label and branded chocolate maker Cémoi, told ConfectioneryNews during a recent company visit: “At the beginning it was single origin, but now it’s changing.”
Although many Cémoi private label customers still demand single origin cocoa, Clarissou said there had been more and more asking for a blend to get the desired flavor.
French supermarket Carrefour recently developed a mixed origin premium chocolate tablet that uses an on-pack description of flavor notes, while Nestlé has also marketed some premium products this way.
Pantarôme sensory analysis tool
Cemoi recently developed a sensory analysis tool called Pantarôme to help its R&D team and private label customers to choose preferred cocoa blends.
Pantarôme is a handheld chart that helps to identify the aroma characters of cocoa masses, enabling users to choose which blends of cocoa beans best match the desired flavor for their product.
The chart features thirteen cards representing flavor notes, which are based on simple terms used in wine descriptions such as bitter and floral. Each card tells you which cocoa origin gives you the strongest perception of the given flavor note.
For example, a user may want bitter top notes, spicy middle notes and woody back notes. The chart tells you that an Ecuadorian and Madagascan blend may work best for flavor – although the high cost of this particular blend may put the user off.
Cocoa preference variants
Sabine Quintana, quality and development manager at Cémoi said that consumer cocoa preferences varied significantly depending on geography.
In France, for example, she said that people preferred a stronger perception of cocoa from Ivorian beans, whereas the British preferred a slightly weaker flavor from Ghanaian beans and tend to favor single origin.
Quintana said that the US was still chiefly a milk chocolate market that produced far more cocoa blends than single origins.
She said her personal favorite origin was Ecuadorian – the same choice as ADM and Cargill R&D chiefs. She said this cocoa gave a substantial flavor explosion compared to other origins.