Michel Cluizel Chocolatier is one of the few chocolate makers in the world that works with directly sourced cocoa beans instead of using chocolate or cocoa liquor supplied by third parties to make their chocolate. The brand has created the neologism "Cacaofèvier" for itself and registered the trademark. Manufacturers who convert cocoa beans into chocolate confections fall under this designation. This special feature is practiced in France by Valrhona, Weiss, the Cémoi Group and the chocolatier Bonnat, among others - there are around 40 producers worldwide.
Thanks to its careful selection of the cocoa beans used, the company was able to develop chocolate from 1er Crus plantations. These are made exclusively from beans from a specific plantation, which emphasizes the terroir - just like coffee or certain wines.
The company was founded in 1947 by Marc Cluizel, the son of a baker and aspiring chocolatier, and his wife Marcelle, a confectioner by trade. Today, around 70 years later, the children of the founders run the company. As in the past, the high-quality pralines and bars are made in a factory in Damville, Normandy, which now employs 200 people. Another factory was added in West Berlin, New Jersey in the USA.
Manufacturer's address: Manufacture Cluizel, Avenue de Conches, Damville, 27240 Mesnils sur Iton, France
Bean to Bar: from cocoa beans to chocolate bars
From the bean to the bar, Cluizel's chocolate masters master every step of the transformation from cocoa to chocolate. Only beans that meet the strict requirements of the family are used for this.
As is usual in a manufacture, the work is done in a traditional, artisan way and the work of the roaster is like the task of a creator, because it requires the greatest sensitivity and care.
Depending on the needs of the respective cocoa variety, the beans are roasted slowly and gently. This step is crucial for the development of the aromas of each vintage. The roast master must be able to capture the moment when the cocoa has reached the desired color and flavor in order to get the most out of the bean.
Once the beans are roasted, they are crushed. This allows the cocoa mass to be shaped and transformed into a mixture of fine chocolate particles. In this phase, the chocolate masters can combine cocoas from different origins to create chocolates with more complex flavors. The addition of sugar and cocoa butter (a fat obtained by squeezing the cocoa beans) marks the true transformation into chocolate. Kneading the chocolate for 72 hours in the Manufacture's traditional conching machine gives it its fluidity, melt-in-the-mouth and final character.
Of course, there are recipes that are also followed. Nevertheless, it is the hand and eye of the chocolate master who refine the bean with care and dedication and ensure that the magic of chocolate can unfold!
The best cocoa beans come from the terroir
Like wine, cocoa is directly rooted in the term terroir. Its character is linked to the soil, the climate, the plants and the different know-how that give it particular aromas. In addition, the parameters of the harvest, such as the degree of ripeness, drying or storage time of the cocoa pods, can strongly influence the taste of the future chocolate, which is why Cluizel beans come exclusively from plantations managed with the utmost respect for the environment and the living conditions of local farmers will.