Who is Josophan?
There is no such person as Josophan. The founder and owner of Josophan's Fine Chocolates is Jodie Van Der Velden. Josophan is an amalgam of Jodie's name, and her two daughters Hannah and Sophie. JOdie, SOPhie and HANnah!
Who takes the photos?
Jodie has taken all the photos, unless stated otherwise.
Where are you?
Established in 2005, Josophan's home base is in the beautiful Blue Mountains, a World Heritage listed national park, just 100kms from Sydney, Australia. Josophan's signature store is in the historic village of Leura, where the chocolate boutique fronts onto the cherry blossom lined street, and behind the store, through a viewing window, you can see the chocolate production laboratory, and watch the Josophan's team at work.
What chocolate should I use in baking?
Where do I start?
Firstly, at Josophan's we use couverture chocolate in everything, and I'd advise using the same. We also use Fairtrade Certified chocolate, or direct trade where the exhchange has been transparent. If we're going to make a living from working with chocolate, we believe the source of the supply chain, the farmers, should be treated and paid fairly.
Couverture chocolate contains loads of cocoa butter. Cocoa butter melts at our body temperature, and is responsible for that 'melt-in-the-mouth' sensation when you have a beautiful chocolate. Couverture chocolate is very fluid when melted, hence the name couverture, which means 'coating or covering' in French, as it's fluidity makes it ideal for this purpose. The ingredients of a couverture chocolate should inlcude cocoa/cacao mass or liquor (made from ground up cacao beans (nibs) without the shell), extra cocoa butter, sugar, sometimes vanilla (make sure it's not vanillan, as this is an artificial vanilla and a very good indication the chocolate is not of a high grade), and sometimes an emulsifier to hold all the fats together, like soy lecithin in very small quantities. Milk chocolate will also contain milk in the ingredients. High grade white chocolate, which is pretty much sugar and fat (which is why it tastes so good to so many people!) only contains cocoa butter and not the mass/liquor component of the cacao bean.
Compound or 'cooking' chocolate does not contain cocoa butter (this is sold off to other industries such as the pharmacutical or cosmetic industries), and the fat is replaced with hydrogenated vegetable fats like PALM OIL. This may be described simply as 'vegetable oil' on the ingredients label. Palm oil does not melt at our body temperature, and when chewed up to digest (as opposed to cocoa butter melting in your mouth), often leaves a 'waxy' film and texture in your mouth. Palm oil is a trans fat, and is very unhealthy. Because of the higher melting point, some argue compound chocolate is better in cooking, as it keeps its shape. Quite frankly, I'd be very concerned if a chocolate chip in a cookie still held it's shape after spending time in a 200 deg oven. My advice - go couverture all the way.