Chocolates El Rey
Born in Venezuela, Growing Worldwide

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Since people first started enjoying chocolate, it has held a special place in the culinary universe. It is unique among foods, used as an ingredient, a flavoring, and a foodstuff in its own right. Among the top chocolate manufacturers, there are artistic and scientific differences, but experimentation has always been considered key to discovering flavor-favorites. Until now.

Venezuelan corporate king Chocolates El Rey has spilled the beans about this most magical, sought-after substance! In revealing the hows and whys of premium chocolate, El Rey — the first company ever to so publicly open up about the highly secretive sweet — has leaped ahead of chocolate manufacturers, pastry chefs, and chocolate aficionados to capture the hearts and stomachs of consumers. Individuals shopping for the best now ask about the kind of cacao beans used, where the cacao is sourced, what the percentage of cacao is in the product, and if the cacao butter is deodorized.

Sweet Secret No. 1 The source, variety and quality of cacao beans used in premium bittersweet and semisweet chocolate bars are tricky, more so than any other ingredient in any other gourmet confection.

If it's from Europe, is it the best chocolate that a cook can buy? Chocolates El Rey unwraps the Parisian, Belgian, Swiss sweet to reveal that the fame and fortune of its delectable flavor depends upon the source of its primary ingredient, namely the cacao bean. Although cacao beans are grown in tropical climates from Africa to Malaysia, the varietal differences in cacao are found in the origins of the cacao bean versus where the beans are processed into chocolate. Not all beans are alike: There are ordinary forastero cacao beans, and there are superior criollo and trinitario beans which produce chocolate of extraordinary flavor and aroma.

Forastero cacao has a hearty growth and makes up the majority of the cacao grown world wide, about 80+ percent. The forastero is a "basic" bean which usually ends up blended with the criollo and trinitario. The trinitario has many of the flavor characteristics of the criollo bean, with many of the hearty cultivation habits of the forastero; however, the criollo bean reigns supreme for consumers-in-the-culinary-know.

The trees producing the criollo cacao beans are delicate. In order to thrive, the flavorful criollo (and trinitario) cacao trees require warm, unusually humid conditions with loose, nutrient-rich soil, shaded sunlight, little or no wind, lots of rain, and a short dry season. Venezuela is the perfect setting, and El Rey is the only global producer of premium couvertures using 100% Venezuelan cacao beans.

Sweet Secret No. 2 In the battle for delicious rewards, confidence and information about the quality of cacao beans and cacao butter can be a cook's best friend.

Since its first manufacturing of chocolate couvertures, and its derivatives in 1973, Chocolates El Rey has taken the consumer inside not only the world of cacao beans, but butter. All choice chocolate contains a high percentage of cacao butter — at least 32 percent and often as high as 39 percent. The extra cacao butter allows the chocolate to form a thinner coating shell than other chocolates. When melted, it is beautifully fluid with a workable viscosity.

But there is more. The aroma of Chocolates El Rey has the distinct ability to create "taste memories". The rich flavor stems from cacao butter that is not "deodorized". It stands to reason since each cacao bean is comprised of approximately 55% butter which carries with it much flavor and aroma. Many European and American companies are masters at blending the forastero with small percentages of criollo beans they buy so that their chocolate achieves a decadent taste. Some also add vanilla flavoring, which can sweeten and mellow the taste.

Most however introduce a deodorized cacao butter to the cacao liquor, stripping cacao flavors. Non-deodorized cacao butter melts at body temperature with earthy, sensual flavor notes — quite different from those of a deodorized state. Chocolate connoisseurs call it "mouth-feel", that moment when chocolate is no longer solid, and not yet liquid; the irresistible sensation is unique to a bite of Chocolates El Rey.

Sweet Secret No. 3 The demand for "melt in your mouth" chocolate is heating up. The price of chocolate varies greatly from inexpensive candy bars to pricey truffles. Like wine, the price often depends on the processing and quality of the original ingredients. In the old days, information about premium chocolates was the exclusive province of certified chefs, fancy food types. That's changed. The explosion in gourmet cooking has created a demand and supply of sweet information. Individuals shopping for the best now ask about the kind of cacao beans used, where the cacao is sourced, what the percentage of cacao is in the product, and if the cacao butter is deodorized.

Chocolates El Rey's candor and excellent ingredients have sent chocolate manufacturers spinning. Virtually all competitors now sprinkle the magical words "Venezuela" or "Venezuelan cacao" in their product advertisements. Cacao Barry markets its new line of four chocolates made with 100% "Origin" cacao beans. Felchlin names their couverture "Maracaibo" 65% (after a city in Venezuela); Valrhona, Michel Cluizel, Chocovic, and Scharffen-Berger celebrate their use of the Venezuelan cacao in their premium chocolates. Like falling in love, a piece of chocolate can be heavenly. Taste the difference!

"Chocolate is a serious thing."
Deanna Troi from Star Trek: The Next Generation

March 2002
Company Press Release
Source: Chocolates El Rey, Inc. Caracas, Venezuela.
Contact: Chocolates El Rey, Inc.
P.O. Box: 853
Fredericksburg, TX 78624
Tel: 800-357-3999
e-mail:order@chocolateselrey.com
The King of Chocolates, Decrees Chocolates El Rey.