Calledbaut No. 811

Kcal 550 Fat 37g Fat (Sat) 22g Carbs 45g (per 100g)

If you were to ask me which country I thought produced the finest quality chocolate, you would not be surprised to hear me say Belgium. If you asked me which company I thought produced the finest quality chocolate, however, you would probably draw a blank expression. That’s because I would say Callebaut. You’ve probably never heard of it, and for good reason.

You won’t find Callebaut in the supermarkets, and you won’t find it in an independent artisan shop off the high street. That is because Callebaut targets the catering industry rather than the consumer.

So how did I find out about it you ask? Well, I work behind a bar, where the kitchen chefs make chocolatey treats made from this one and only brand. I never really paid much attention to the bag of chocolate on the storage shelves, as I rummaged round picking up coke cans to restock the fridges, but then one day I tried one of the snacks made by the chefs and though it was the best chocolate I had ever tasted.

The next day, I went down to the cellar and searched for the bag of chocolate to find out what it was called. Callebaut. Typed the name into Google, found it available on EBay, and bought a bag straight away.

As the product is aimed at catering companies, you won’t find Callebaut products available in 100g – 200g quantities. If you’re going to buy, you’re going to buy big. The smallest bag is 1kg, and goes up to as big as 10kg. The good news is, that it is at a whole sale price. I bought a 1kg bag for £7.99, which is 79p per 100g. Compare that to chocolate bars from the supermarket, where you will pay anything between £1-£3 for the same quantity.

Callebaut was founded in 1911 in the small Belgian town of Wieze. It was in 1988 that they devised their signature chocolate drop shape, which they call ‘callets’. This shape is perfect for melting chocolate, and improves accuracy in tempering and workability when melting.

Callebaut’s range is almost endless – you can see from the title that the product I am reviewing today is recipe Number 811. There are so many, because they all feature different qualities, from your typical cocoa percentage down to more technical details such as fluidity. Fluidity 5, for example, is perfect for chocolate fountains.

The bag is a simple, but sophisticated design. It provides all the technical details in an interesting and engaging way, with images, and various typography. The clever part comes with the opening, which has a unique tooth-like grip, which allows you to easily reseal the bag and keep everything fresh. This seal is robust and does not wear out from frequent usage. The one criticism I would have is that it is difficult to tell the different recipes apart from a simple glance. You really have to take a proper look and read the label. Since it is not aimed at the consumer, however, that sort of thing is not an issue for caters ordering direct.

So let’s take a look at the stats. Recipe No. 811 is 54.5% dark chocolate with a 3/5 fluidity rating. Although they are made with the intention of being used in baking, they are a wonderful treat to eat right from the bag.

When you unseal the bag, you are hit with pure freshness. There is a heady aroma of sweet fruity cocoa that sends you off somewhere on a cloud. When you pick up a small handful of callet drops, the warmth of your hand will soften them. Once they touch your tongue, the melt begins, and it is like silk is swimming in your mouth.

Calletbaut’s website provides a taste profile for each of their recipes, but my taste buds appear to disagree with the description. The profile suggests a relatively high bitterness, but to me it had no bitterness at all. Recipe No. 811 to me has subtle sour notes, mixed with vanilla and red berry sweetness. There is an earthiness to the chocolate, which comes from the roasting, and these tones all meld together to form a unique beautiful flavour. Now that I have discovered Callebaut, everything else seems to pale in comparison.

Presentation: 9.5
Aroma: 10
Taste: 10
Sustenance: 8.5
Texture: 10
Overall: 9.6