Valrhona lowers their quality

Last night, a friend was looking for a dark chocolate with nuts.  She went to the grocery store and found the Valrhona 66% Caraibe Noisette, which has split hazelnuts.  I used to carry the Caraibe bar (sans hazelnuts) so she knew the brand and figured it would taste good knowing the company has a good reputation for quality.  So I was surprised when she was telling me that it was one of the worst tasting bars she has ever had!

ValrhonaWe brought out the bar to sample it.  The pieces of hazelnut are throughout the bar, which is good, but they are chopped pretty small.  As you take a piece of the chocolate it gives a soft break instead of a firm snap.  The aroma?  It doesn’t have the wonderful aroma of the Caribbean that brought me back to the islands like the single origin Caraibe bars I recently had as a part of our chocolate selection.  The bar melts quickly as you eat it and gives no flavor like the previous single origin bar, which had coffee and tropical fruit notes.  The small pieces of hazelnut are lost in the transaction and end up getting stuck in my teeth instead of adding to the experience.  There is an odd, unpleasant aftertaste that remains in my mouth for a good 5 minutes after eating the chocolate.

Maybe it’s something in the ingredients.  Let’s take a quick peek, shall we?

cocoa beans, sugar, hazelnuts (15%), cocoa butter, concentrated butter, soya lecithin, natural vanilla extract

That’s one thing that is making a big difference.  Concentrated butter, which is also known as butterfat.  Instead of using all cocoa butter Valrhona is using a lower quality, cheaper fat in this chocolate bar, which is definitely changing the taste and texture.  I don’t know what else they are cutting back on, but this one is readily apparent.  For the price they are asking for this bar, we are not getting a break for these cheaper ingredients.  Just a bad chocolate bar.

On the Valrhona website they talk about their “passionate quest for excellence,” “passion for taste,” and “quest for absolute quality.”  Valrhona missed the mark with this chocolate bar on all levels.

Looking for quality, all natural chocolate?  Check out our current selection at Drexelius Chocolates!

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5 Responses to Valrhona lowers their quality

  1. Ayrabeth says:

    This chocolate was SOOOOOOOO AWFUL! The taste, the texture, the hazelnuts – just soOo gross. I am a huge fan of bars that have nuts and I picked up this one thinking – eh maybe it will be good. Since most grocery stores sell milk chocolate with nuts I was surprised to see this one was dark and with my favorite nut. I picked up it to try it and it was just soOo unpleasant that I gave it two tries and I was done. I only gave it two tries because I had been eating a salad with olive oil and I thought the chocolate was mixing in with some residue left in my mouth. Nope – that fatty gross texture was from the chocolate itself.

    Dear Valrhona:
    Your customers expect more from you – in these hard economic times please don’t substitute quality just so you can cut your costs.

  2. A Campbell says:

    Previously unfamiliar with Valrhona, I tasted the bar in question. It is no exaggeration that it took awhile for the horrible acrid taste to go away. There was really nothing that was redeeming or positive, just five solid minutes of going “blehhhh”.

  3. Tracey says:

    I have been selling this bar since 2006 and the Caraibe with hazelnuts has always contained concentrated butter, this is not new. I believe it is used for the processing of the hazelnuts, not in the actual chocolate. Past editions of the bar have been absolutely delicious so I don’t know what has gone wrong with these bars. I have not tried the more recent bar in the new packaging so will have to break one open to try. Perhaps the problem was with one of the batches or the chocolate was old as the hazelnuts would indeed turn racid? I’d hate to think Valrhona is losing their touch.

    • mdrex says:

      Hi, Tracey!
      Thank you for your input.
      We checked the packaging and the best before date was 11.09 — you may be right about the nuts going rancid or poor storage or handling causing the chocolate to go bad, but the overall quality of the bar is very poor.
      I am a strong advocate of Valrhona products and am shocked to have this one be so lacking on so many layers. Like you, I hope Valrhona would maintain their quality standards.

      • Tracey says:

        Hmmm. Just cracked open a bar with an 08.09 best before date. The bar certainly wasn’t up to Valrhona’s typical standards. I think something is off with the hazelnuts – they don’t taste good and I can barely even taste the chocolate amidst the nuts. There are too many little pieces everywhere hence the soft snap – there isn’t much chocolate in between the pieces to snap!

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