Valrhona sets milestone with first vegan chocolate for chefs and home gourmet

The French-founded Valrhona premium chocolate brand has delivered a major milestone with its Madagascan Amatika 46%, the first vegan Grand Cru chocolate available for both pastry chefs and home gourmets, writes Neill Barston.

Having gained coveted B Corp status for the sustainability of its production standards, the business is continuing to expand its product range across the confectionery sector.

As the company noted, Amatika has been developed with sweet and creamy taste like a milk chocolate couverture, yet powerful like a single origin chocolate. It has been created in collaboration with sourcing teams, cocoa producers, innovation and sensory experts and L’École Valrhona’s pastry chefs.

It has been designed to offer artisans the opportunity to see vegan pastry as a new source of inspiration, a way to stand out from the crowd and to serve a broader range of customers.

A vegan Grand Cru of single origin from Madagascar, the aromatic profile of Amatika 46% is regarded as its particular strength. Its texture reveals notes of cacao, toasted almonds and a hint of acidity,  it also has subtle aromas of orange blossom, Grand Marnier and jasmine.

As well as the distinct dry fruits in the ground almonds, there are also tinges of fruits such as banana, peach and lemon zest. The balance between cacao, fat and sugar delivers the perfect texture for all classical pastry making techniques with a vegan twist. It is especially suited to providing an exquisitely creamy addition to ganache and mousse.

Furthermore, it combines the sweetness and creaminess of pure ground almonds with the aromatic potency of pure Madagascan cocoa for unparalleled taste and texture to meet the needs and creativity of pastry chefs and artisans the world over.

The company’s latest range has been created at the Millot Plantation, and is vegan-certified by the European Vegetarian Union and by Vegan Action in the United States. These certifications guarantee no animal-based products were used as ingredients or in any stage of its production.

“Amatika 46% is a bold and expert work of art created by our gourmet engineers. With its truly gourmet appearance, it marries all the sweetness, delicacy, creaminess and warm colours of a milk chocolate … with none of the milk.” – Frédéric Bau, creative director and pastry chef, L’École Valrhona.

Vegan pastry-making is not only aimed at vegetarians and vegans, who as of 2020, made up close to 14% of the world population. It also appeals to the increasing number of flexitarians and people looking to reduce their intake of animal-based products. The new art form also caters to the needs of those with allergies or intolerances to dairy, eggs and gluten, as well as any epicureans seeking to reduce their fat or sugar intake for health reasons. Lastly, it presents a new sensory experience to all inquisitive pastry enthusiasts looking to explore uncharted territories of confection.

If the vegan movement maintains the current rate of growth over the next decade, at least one in ten people will have adopted plant-based diets. However, it still presents a real challenge to pastry chefs, who must rethink their traditional techniques and revise their tried-and-tested methods. To support them on their road to success, the chefs at L’École Valrhona have created a collection of recipes using its latest chocolate series, as well as resource guides and classes to teach chefs the ingredients and techniques they need to create exceptional dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan desserts.

The chocolate company is donating $1 for every 1 kg block of the new range and $3 for every 3kg  Amatika bag sold in North America with all proceeds going to Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation (a nationwide advocacy and action nonprofit created by and for restaurant workers)’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

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