If you are a true lover of chocolate, I’m talking about good, premium quality chocolate, then you would be more than familiar with French premium chocolate brand Valrhona. But what you probably didn’t know (off the top of your head that is) how the brand came about.
Since we love chocolate, and figure you probably do too, and since the brand is celebrating its 100th year, we figured that it would be fun to take a quick look at how the brand came about. Well the magic happened in 1922, when Pastry chef Albéric Guironnet set up a workshop in the Rhone Valley, where he developed a chocolate manufacturing business devoted to serving his fellow flavour creatives.
Now fast forward to the present day, thanks to their commitment and involvement, cocoa partners, suppliers, apprentices, pastry chefs, bakers, chocolatiers, chefs, ice-cream makers, creators and connoisseurs all work with Valrhona to make the cocoa industry fair and sustainable to inspire creative, ethical gastronomy, something that the world needs more of.
Over 100 years, the chocolate factory in Tain l’Hermitage has preserved techniques passed down through history, which form a craft that is still highly respected today. And this same hometown now hosts the Cité du Chocolat where, every year, 140,000 chocolate connoisseurs get the chance to learn more about this fabulous product and the people who work with it.
Over the course of the century, the brand’s commitment to gastronomy that looks good, tastes good and does good has only got stronger, and has constantly guided the decisions Valrhona makes.
Having long questioned the impact of their work on both the people and the planet, in 2002, the company formalised its sustainable development strategy via the Live Long program. From that moment, Valrhona defined itself as a company whose mission statement, “Together, good becomes better”, conveys the strength of its commitments.
The brand works every day to maintain a fair and sustainable cocoa industry which respects people, natural resources and the planet. 100% of cocoa beans can be traced back to their original plot. That way, Valrhona stays in contact with its 17,215 partner producers. Through its work, the Valrhona Foundation goes some way to improving their living conditions, and helps to make it easier for their children to access education and guides them towards sustainable agricultural practices so that the supply chain is free from deforestation and biodiversity is preserved.
Within this approach, Valrhona has also enacted a daily commitment to making gastronomy more ethical. It wants to create a collective movement which brings together everyone working in gastronomy to challenge the status quo and, together, invent new ways of doing things. As we think about our dietary future, we have reimagined how we choose local ingredients, respect seasonality, recycle garbage, generate a circular economy, reduce wasted energy and food, respect biodiversity, showcase the value of community and more besides.
Dark chocolate lovers will be happy to know that to celebrate its 100th anniversary, Valrhona has created Komuntu 80%, whose origin story goes to the heart of the brand’s sustainability efforts – to create the ultimate in responsibly made chocolates.
KOMUNTU is the symbol of the joy of Valrhona’s diversity, in keeping with other chocolate varieties from the brand, it features a brightly colored pattern typical of the countries of origin of its cocoas with artwork by Franco-Malagasy artist Deborah Desmada. It tells the story of all the people involved throughout the supply chain around the world. The blend of cocoas has a singular aromatic character, with a powerful bitter woody flavour underpinned with notes of toasted nibs, and Valrhona will be redistributing all the profits of this Komuntu couverture collected during the anniversary to cocoa farmers.