Valrhona celebrates 100 years of making top quality chocolate by launching of a new ethically-minded couverture, Komuntu 80%.

French chocolate brand Valrhona this year celebrates its 100th anniversary. First founded in 1922 by French pastry chef Albéric Guironnet in the Rhone Valley, premium chocolate manufacturer Valrhona is today one of the leading producers of gastronomic chocolate used by chefs all around the world.

Valrhona is so named for Rhone Valley region where its Tain-l’Hermitage headquarters is based. Some of us would know Rhone Valley as a key winemaking region, producing some of the best wines – think famous appellations such as Hermitage, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, and Luberon, among many others. Fewer know that is home to world-famous Valrhona.

But over the years the French chocolatier would forge a legendary reputation in the culinary for the quality of its chocolate and its innovations around chocolate making. It was among the first to introduce single origin chocolate, for example, in its Grand Cru range such as Manjari from Madagascar or the Andoa from Peru.

Among Valrhona’s latest innovations? Oabika. Technically not chocolate, Oabika is a cocoa fruit juice concentrate derived from the mucilaginous white pulp in the cocoa pod. Normally discarded, here the pulp is turned into a fruity and tangy juice that can be used as an ingredient by chefs and pastry makers.

Valrhona - cocoa pods opening

Sustainability much?

But the truth is that Valrhona started down the path of sustainability even before the term became widely used as a corporate social responsibility construct. The brand kicked off its ‘Live Long’ sustainability development strategy back in 2022, working to create and maintain a fair and sustainable cocoa industry. Among the pillars of the plan was staying in constant contact with over 17,000 partner producers, such that every single cocoa bean can be traced all the way back to its plot! That respect for the environment earned Valrhona B Corp status in 2020, testament to its commitment to the environment and society.

Valrhona Komuntu 80% – Chocolate with heart

Which leads us to the Valrhona Komuntu 80%, launched to celebrate its centenary. It speaks of the very heart and soul of Valrhona. Komuntu is a portmanteau of the Esperanto word ‘komunumo’ – which means community – and ‘ubuntu’, the Bantu word for humanity. This dark chocolate comes as a collaboration with 100 ethically-minded chefs, pastry makers and other industry professionals down the entire supply chain, created to celebrate Valrhona’s centenary. Among that select 100 is Singapore-based chocolatier Laurent Bernard, whose artisanal bons bons have captured minds and palates in Singapore since 2006.

The Komuntu 80% is a special blend of cocoas sourced from around the world, which offers a singular aromatic character best described as a powerful bitter woody flavour underpinned with notes of toasted nibs. Valrhona says the Komuntu 80% is ideal for use in mousses and ganaches, and it’s also recommended for coating, moulding, and in bars.

Valrhona Komuntu

Valrhona celebrated its 100th anniversary with a pop-up chocolate culinary showcase on 19 September in Singapore, where it introduced the Komuntu 80% to top Singapore chefs and pastry makers. Here guests discovered Valrhona products employed in a myriad of applications, including savoury creations such beef short rib in a chocolate rendang sauce and as a filling in xiao long bao. The culinary showcase will also be brought to other cities in Asia-Pacific such as Sydney, Hong Kong and Seoul.

What’s heartwarming about Komuntu 80%? 100% of the profits collected from this couverture during Valrhona’s 100th anniversary year will be redistributed to its partner cocoa farmers.

Maybe, just maybe if more followed Valrhona’s example in sustainability- and social-consciousness, our children and our children’s children may yet have access to yummy top-quality chocolate in years to come.

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