photo credit: Geena Pietromonaco
French for “covering,” couverture does not refer to silky pajamas sourced from The Continent,* but is just a fancy word describing already-made chocolate that chocolatiers re-melt and use to create their confections.
(Many of us first heard the word couverture used in this context when the Brooklyn-based Mast Brothers chocolate company admitted to using Valrhona couverture in bars the public believed were made bean-to-bar by the company.)
Despite the bad taste that particular scandal left in many people’s mouths, it is standard practice for many fine chocolatiers to trust long-standing, reputable companies such as Felchlin, Valrhona, and Guittard for their couverture. They rely on the consistent flavors and workable texture of this type of chocolate to be able to experiment with (and reproduce!) their own original combinations of ingredients and textures.
As opposed to “compound” chocolate, made with cocoa powder and oil, couverture is made with cocoa liquor and added cocoa butter. And its extra-high percentage of cocoa butter to cocoa solids makes it ideal for coating truffles and other bonbons.
*Full disclosure: a couple of weeks ago I had the great pleasure of lounging about all day in sumptuous silks from France and elsewhere, thanks to longtime client Jane’s Vanity (see above photo). I don’t actually mix up the words couture and couverture, but their similarity does make me giggle 😊