All You Need to Know about Couverture Chocolates

Posted by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 15th Mar 2017

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Magnificent chocolate creations require high quality chocolate that can make the chocoholic rejoice in pleasure. The creation of top-quality chocolate delicacies requires an equally high class of bulk chocolate as a strong ingredient base. This high class of chocolate is usually called pure chocolate or more professionally known as couverture chocolate.

What is couverture chocolate?

All chocolate bars may contain the same base ingredients of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar as well as flavor enhancers like vanilla or milk powder. Couverture chocolate is a colloquial term referring to a particular type of chocolate that is special type compared to other regular chocolate bases. It is the finest professional quality chocolate that is produced with the highest percentage of cocoa butter using premium cocoa beans. Couverture chocolate is grounded to a finer texture during the production process and that results in superior flavor and texture. It melts smoothly and gives an elegant glossy sheen when tempered. Couverture chocolate is ideal for molding, enrobing truffles and fine candy making.

In America, the exact standards for couverture chocolate are not set but bittersweet chocolate in general must contain at least a minimum of 35% cocoa solids. That’s just the minimum amount, so real dark couverture chocolate used by professionals will contain more than the minimum. You’ll find couverture chocolate with at least 60% cocoa solids in most fancy restaurant kitchens.

How and when to use couverture chocolate

Couverture chocolate is delicious and can be eaten on its own for a wonderful chocolate eating experience. You’ll notice it melts more evenly and with better flavor than regular chocolate. The extra cocoa butter and cocoa solids make this chocolate type easier for dipping and candy making of high-quality chocolate bars and clusters.

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You must have seen professional chefs on TV using oval disks or chocolate wafers - this is typically couverture chocolate. Chocolate wafers are quite common these days compared to just 5 years ago. There are several advantages of using chocolate wafers as they're easier to measure for a recipe as compared to a bar of chocolate. They are uniform in size and so they melt easily and make the tempering process smoother.

Why is tempering best for couverture chocolate?

The high cocoa butter content in couverture chocolate greatly improves the gloss, snap and smooth flavor of the chocolate so it is perfect for tempering. Tempering chocolate is a process to master, but once it is done right, it’s worth the effort. In tempering, the chocolate is subjected to a distinct temperature range. This process creates gloss and crispness that is best for coating truffles, creating delicious and appealing chocolate decorations and candy bars.

How to temper a couverture chocolate?

Below is one of the most popular and simple methods of tempering chocolate (It is called the traditional method):

  • First, take small pieces of chocolate (chocolate wafers) and place them into a stainless-steel bowl over a saucepan of water heated to a maximum of 105˚F.
  • Allow the chocolate to melt while stirring carefully. Remove the bowl and set over a pot of cold water.
  • Stir gently, while making sure that no bubbles are introduced, till a small amount of the couverture begins to set at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Return the bowl to the top of a saucepan of room temperature water.
  • Stir continually until the cooled, slightly solidified couverture has melted and is thoroughly dispersed - do not exceed the working temperatures below.
  • Use the chocolate.

The ideal working temperatures for these types of chocolate:

  • Dark – 89˚F
  • Milk – 87˚F
  • White – 86˚F

When the chocolate sets after using to dip or make truffles, the crystals of cocoa butter join in perfect chains, creating an extremely smooth, shiny chocolate that has a clean snap when broken.


Can it be used for baking?

Yes, couverture chocolate is perfect for baking. It contains a high amount of cocoa butter so it adds an extra dimension of texture and flavor when baking brownies and cakes.

Couverture chocolate vs. Compound Chocolate

The difference between couverture and compound chocolate is significant because unlike couverture chocolate, compound chocolate uses cocoa powder, instead of chocolate liquor. Compound chocolate also uses vegetable oil non-cocoa fats instead of cocoa butter. Compound chocolate does not require tempering to set up shiny and hard as compared to couverture chocolate.

What about the taste difference?

While most people cannot differentiate between the taste of compound chocolate and couverture chocolate, the difference is quite apparent when tried next to each other. That's because couverture chocolate is made with cocoa butter and with chocolate liquor versus cocoa powder. Thus, it tastes richer as compared to compound chocolate.

Benefits of couverture chocolate

Couverture chocolate has great benefits to offer as it is made with pure cocoa butter and the best cocoa beans. Benefits of couverture chocolates are:

  • Cocoa butter used in couverture chocolate has a melting point at body temperature. Cocoa butter is a source of friendly cholesterol helping HDL levels and could help maintain total cholesterol level in check.
  • Cocoa butter used in couverture chocolate has shown in research that it could combat kidney problems and lower the risk of cardiac diseases.
  • Couverture dark chocolate is said to lessen the risk of arteriosclerosis which is the thickening of walls of arteries in a person’s body which hampers the blood flow.
  • Couverture chocolate contains theobromine, which has shown some benefit in hardening tooth enamel and seems to cure a cough.
  • Cocoa butter also helps in the skin's appearance, almost anti-aging and helps with improved skin health overall.

Where can you find the couverture chocolate?

Couverture chocolate was once only available in specific shops and from a gourmet food distributor, but thanks to today’s technology, it's easy to order high-quality couverture chocolate online from all over the world. In the USA alone, there are several websites catering to the demand of couverture chocolates. For organic, high-quality couverture chocolate, Santa Barbara chocolate is a great option to consider. Santa Barbara Chocolate provides wholesale bulk chocolate in a wide variety that can add the right amount of versatility, great flavor and luster to your chocolate making experience.

Santa Barbara Chocolate Couverture Selection:

Summing it up

Not all chocolates are identical. Couverture chocolate is the best chocolate when compared to regular store chocolate. Couverture chocolates are rich in taste and offer great tempering and enrobing truffle experience. So if you're a chocolatier or a chocoholic then couverture chocolate is the finest chocolate for you.

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