But we kept hitting a snag. Namely, where to find high-quality—not to mention ethical, organic, great-tasting—baking chocolate. Being enterprising folk, we took it upon ourselves to find a chocolate that hit all those check boxes, something that we could be proud of, and share it with you (and your cakes).
The baking chocolate is our first launch in Food52 Pantry—a line of baking staples we believe in. Our founders, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, explain it best:
Home cooks need to be able to depend on an arsenal of high-quality staples. These are the building blocks—like vivid, consistent pigments for a painter—that make their lives easier and help them get great food on the table. We've always wanted a line of foundational pantry goods, and we thought chocolate was a sensible place to start!
Here’s what you can expect from our unsweetened baking chocolate:
100% dark chocolate with no sugar or additives
Single-sourced from a farm in Peru, nestled between the Andes and the Amazon. (Did you know Peru is one of the most biologically diverse countries in the world? All those varied soils, species, and climates show up in the chocolate—its terroir, so to speak.)
Produced with fair trade practices. In an industry that historically has been plagued with poor working conditions, underpaid farmers, and child labor, this is especially important. In 2011, the Peruvian government announced a multi-faceted project called Proyecto Semilla that conducts in-depth research around farming practices, assists in drafting labor laws and policies, provides services to support school attendance, and gives small cocoa farmers access to supplies, training, and technical assistance to improve production. Although this chocolate might be more expensive than what you'd find on the grocery store shelf, it guarantees the people behind it are being compensated fairly.
Made in small batches, allowing for a razor-sharp attention to detail (and excellence!) throughout the whole production process
Organic and made with the environment in mind
A velvety, creamy texture and complex, robust flavor
Home cooks need to be able to depend on an arsenal of high-quality staples. These are the building blocks... that make their lives easier and help them get great food on the table.
Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs
Our resident baker crush, Erin McDowell, tested the chocolate out in brownies and a ganache, and declared it a hit. The brownies came out of the oven with a rich color and 5 out of 5 of the lucky taste testers agreed they were top-notch. Used in a ganache, you may notice a tad more separation than you might be used to—not to worry: This indicates that the chocolate is free of any stabilizers, so just the pure, chocolatiest chocolate taste remains.
Shop for the baking chocolate here, and try it out in recipes like these: