When we first started making Goupie commercially, our biggest decision was what chocolate we should use as a topping – the original family recipe was only topped in chocolate, as fully enrobing each piece would not have been very practical to do at home. Traditionally, Grandma Noble would have used Bournville chocolate to top our treats adding an extra layer of sweetness. The clear distinction here is, we are not chocolatiers who are looking to produce quality chocolate ourselves from cocoa beans. We are confectioners who use chocolate in our confectionery products. We therefore needed to source a quality chocolate as one of our main ingredients.
We, along with our family and friends, tasted a ton of chocolate trying to find one that would complement the Goupie base best (any excuse, right?). While the trend was for 70% cocoa solids chocolate and higher, it quickly became clear that the percentage of cocoa solids did not necessarily reflect the quality of the chocolate. It also became clear that the more bitter chocolates just didn’t work with the Goupie base. We also were eager to consider who was producing the chocolate, and what their ethical stance was. We firmly believe in sustainable food production that does not harm the planet, and wanted to be sure that the cocoa farmers were being paid fairly for their crop, making a proper living that supported families and communities.
After a lot of deliberation, and more tasting, we finally decided on a UTZ certified 55% Belgian couverture chocolate. The UTZ certification program was born as “UTZ kapeh” (pronounced o͞otz kahpāy) meaning “good coffee” in the Guatemalan Mayan language of Quiché. Originally, it was set up to monitor and progress the sustainable production of coffee. It now certifies the sustainable production of cocoa, hazelnuts and tea as well as coffee. The UTZ certification program looks to enable farmers to use better farming methods, grow better crops, and generate more income. They learn how to improve working conditions, adapt to climate change, and protect the environment. We want to be clear that the cocoa industry has a long way to go as a whole before being considered sustainable, or fair. Hopefully, by supporting certifications looking to solve these issues, we’ll go some way as a world-economy to achieving our goals.
Aside from the ethical benefits of using this chocolate, there also came a great number of edible benefits. First, the classification of our chocolate as couverture (meaning it has a high cocoa butter content) gives it that glorious shine, snap and melt-in-the-mouth texture. Second, our dark chocolate contains no dairy and is completely vegan friendly. It’s even produced in a dairy-free production environment! Last, but certainly not least, our chosen chocolate is delicious! It came up first in almost every taste test, and is the perfect combination of smooth, dark and sweet to balance our syrupy centre. Devilishly moreish by anyone’s standards!