Reality of Quality: Michel Cluizel Chocolate

October 02, 2013 by Yves Farges (QFG) Leave a Comment

At Qualifirst, we live the reality that extraordinary dishes begin with extraordinary ingredients.

Michel Cluizel chocolate products perfectly prove this maxim. Cluizel shares many of the same values Qualifirst holds dear by ensuring that every product they make follows this philosophy:

“Great ingredients are unavoidable for superlative products.”

The resulting range of versatile products from Cluizel is unrivaled in the marketplace.

Great artisans separate themselves from the crowd by their ability to transform simple elements into masterful works of art. In chocolate, the master artisan is Cluizel, capable of transforming the simple cacao bean into a world-class range of products, each qualitatively maximized, allowing the next tier of master artisans, the Pastry Chef, infinite creativity.

There are very few – in fact a rare few – who can transform raw chocolate into finished products. The chocolatiers at Michel Cluizel in France can and do it exceptionally well.

Starting with a profound respect for the raw material, Michel Cluizel sources plantation-specific cacao beans in order to produce chocolate unique to that plantation, a true reflection of “terroir,” or expression of the land.

Pastry chefs world-wide praise Michel Cluizel products for providing them with the ingredients to build their masterpieces.

It is easy to make mousse, ganache or a chocolate filling by following a recipe, but when Michel Cluizel is being used, the nuances of the chocolate allows a Pastry Chef to go further. Why? Simply because his Michel Cluizel ingredient is a significantly better tool to make that pastry product we all dream about… the dessert that makes a person hesitate between bites because the first bite was so good.

In Qualifirst’s extensive history of bringing great chocolate to North America, the most extraordinary chocolate ever discovered is from Michel Cluizel.

Exceptional Origins

It all starts with the Pod. From specific cacao plantations from every corner of the globe, hand-picked cacao beans are harvested and carefully removed from the Pod. The cacao beans begin a journey of transformation, guided by over a century of know-how of the growers, and also Michel Cluizel, sharing their experience to permit the cacao bean to maximize its flavours from the instant they leave the pod.

Michel Cluizel has fostered trusted relationships, built over a generation in some cases, with estates and plantations throughout the best cacao growing regions in the world. Each grower is as unique as is their chocolate. The personal relationship Cluizel builds is also unique, taking into account the different customs and growing cultures. These elite growers work hard to produce the best, something every chocolatier depends upon. It is a relationship based on mutual goals of certified organic practices, sustainability, and fair trade plus that indispensable ingredient: passion. It is that passion that results in a great chocolate that drives Cluizel, and quite frankly, Qualifirst shares that passion for a great chocolate.

Exceptional Taste

“Terroir” is often a term used to describe the individual characteristics of soil and the effect of that soil on the resulting product grown from that soil. Long used by wine and coffee makers, it is now regularly used by tea gardens and also: Chocolate Plantations. “Terroir” is best described as the expression of the land through the product.

Michel Cluizel’s qualitative approach to making chocolate means that more subtle flavours are permitted to be released from the chocolate, transforming the simple cacao bean into an almost nuanced musical melody of chocolate taste.

There are very real, discernible differences in flavour between chocolates from different parts of the world. For example, the Los Ancones plantation in the Dominican Republic provides Cluizel with organic cacao beans that impart a combination of red berries, liquorice wood, green olives, currant, and apricot. Imagine the wonder of the flavour notes combining to give a hint of green olives in addition to the many other aromas.

The Michel Cluizel African chocolate hails from the small island of Sao Tome, home to the ‘Vila Gracinda’ plantation. This classic cacao plantation grows cacao beans which express the volcanic soil by producing rich flavour notes of herbs, spices and citrus fruit with an intensity that transport you to the shores of Africa.

The delicate aromas and flavours of chocolate from New Guinea emerge from the chocolate from that terroir.

Each and every plantation was chosen for their subtle and unique terrior characteristics plus their experience in producing a qualitatively superior, fermented, then dried, cacao bean to send to the expert chocolatiers of Michel Cluizel.

Once these exceptional cacao beans arrive in Cluizel’s Normandy, France, workshop, a methodical transformation, which is unique for each terroir, begins. Excellence is coaxed out of every bean, nurtured by the Cluizel expertise which is generations deep. The dedication to quality does not limit itself to the cacao beans but has spread to every ingredient in chocolate. Pseudo ingredients or fillers have been totally banned.

Michel Cluizel uses only:

  • Pure cane sugar

  • Pure Bourbon vanilla beans

  • Pure cocoa butter
  • No Soy Lecithin

Also added to the mix are the following realities of Cluizel chocolate:

  • Allergen-Free

  • Guaranteed GMO-Free

The goal is exceptional flavour. The mouth-feel is a function to ensuring that the individual particles of chocolate are smaller than the tongue’s ability to discern them; what is described as “that melt-in-your-mouth’ experience. Deliberate patience and pure ingredients is the Cluizel way to achieve perfection. The supervised slow-roasting of the cacao beans (note the adjective “supervised” …) permits each batch to reach for & attain their optimum aromatic peak.

Exceptional Innovations

From making chocolate bars of single estate origin, to eschewing soy lecithin, a traditional emulsifier used in chocolate, Michel Cluizel has been a pioneer and innovator. The chocolatiers of Cluizel have remained loyal to the family recipe roots that first began in 1947, while also pursuing higher standards of excellence using technology married to experience that is truly measured in generations rather than years.

Discover Infinite Creativity

Creativity is a process. It emerges from a lake of experience and knowledge solidly anchored by chocolate technique. The 99% bar was technically difficult to make, maintaining all of the aromatic and gustative notes intense. Most other 90%+ chocolate product made bear a close resemblance to ski wax than a chocolate and the reason Cluizel is successful is the creative aspect brought to making any new product.

The chocolatiers at Cluizel are all professionals so they make products designed to be used professionally and easily by Pastry Chefs, addressing the following results:

  • Ease of use, even in harsh kitchen conditions

  • Exceptional shine

  • Perfect balance
  • Perfect fluidity
  • Infinite creative possibilities

When you want the chocolate flavour of a dish to really shine through, to really impress the only customer that really counts – the consumer of the dessert … the solution is Michel Cluizel chocolate where the reality of quality is immediately obvious… with the very first taste.


About Yves Farges (QFG)