Types of Valrhona Chocolate – Background: White, Milk, Dark; Foreground: Valrhona Dulcey, Valrhona Caramélia
Product Description: Caramélia is a type of milk chocolate that contains a caramelized skim-milk-and-butter base. It looks like milk chocolate and comes in Valrhona’s unique “feves” shape, which is a thin oval disc. (Feve means “bean,” by the way). Direct from Valrhona the retail packaging it comes in three different sizes: 7-ounce snack size, 1.1 pounds and 2.2 pounds.
Ingredient List: Sugar (34%), cocoa butter, caramel (skimmed milk, whey, sugar, butter, flavoring), whole milk powder, cocoa beans (36%), emulsifier: soya lecithin.
Test Kitchen Overview: We grew up with Hershey’s Kisses and that used to be what milk chocolate meant to us, that or a Nestlé bar, and both left us less than satisfied. The first time we fell in love with milk chocolate was with Valrhona’s Jivara milk chocolate, with a whopping 40% cacao content. It was dark and rich and made us re-think what milk chocolate could be. Caramélia is a new experience once again, in a class all by itself. It offers what you want from a milk chocolate – milky creaminess in both taste and texture, with a satisfying chocolate flavor that is not outdone by the dairy content and, in fact, is enhanced, since these dairy notes are rich, deep and caramelized. The balance is well designed.
The milk chocolate flavor slightly edges out the caramelized dairy flavor, which we like because you know you’re eating milk chocolate, as opposed to a caramel milk chocolate confection. If you bit into it not knowing it has a caramel base, you might not detect the flavor unless you have a very refined palate. It might just taste like a sophisticated chocolate – and it would taste delicious. Another way to describe the flavor would be that it is like a milk chocolate toffee.
Pros: The shape is perfect for weighing, snacking or melting (and this product melts beautifully). It also has a very balanced flavor of milk chocolate and caramel.
Cons: Availability; it is not easy to find at your regular supermarket.
Suggested Use: Eating out of hand, in a chocolate chip cookie dough with hazelnuts or walnuts, as an enrobing chocolate (candy coating), or for ganache, pudding, sauces or anything that enhances its fluid creaminess.
Where to Buy: Caramélia can be ordered directly from Valrhona. Chocosphere carries this and other great chocolates you might want to order at the same time and you can also look for it in some specialty stores in smaller quantities. These stores often buy bulk and then create smaller retail packages.
Price at Time of Review: $11.99/7 oz; $22.99/1.1 lbs; $39.99/2.2 lbs.
Have you tried this product? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Image: Peter Muka