Belgian chocolate maker Barry Callebaut has launched a new brand of chocolate couverture made in Britain. Created for chocolatiers, these chocolate discs are suitable for a wide range of applications, including in bakery, pastry, and confectionery products.
Stewart & Arnold Great British Chocolate is available in 5kg and 20kg bags of white chocolate, 35% milk chocolate, 55% dark chocolate, and 70% dark chocolate discs. The white packaging is decorated with illustrations of British landmarks, such as Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben), London Eye, Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre, the white cliffs of Dover, and even the Red Arrows flying in formation, so as to reinforce its Britishness.
According to Barry Callebaut, Stewart & Arnold chocolate is made with West African cocoa beans and is "specifically tailored to the preferences of the British palate." The timing of the launch - three months before the end of the transition period in the Brexit process - makes me wonder whether this is to help protect British supplies of chocolate couverture from January 2021 in the short term?
The more astute amongst you will spot the "since 1945" text that accompanies the Stewart & Arnold branding. Just like supermarkets are busy making use of defunct brands for their own-brand products, it seems Callebaut is doing the same.
In 1945, William Stewart and Dr Arnold Spicer formed W. M. Stewart and Arnold Limited, with a chocolate factory sited at Empire Works on Denmark Street in High Wycombe.
The factory was demolished in the 1990s, and the site is now home to the Eden Shopping Centre. Fast forward a couple of decades to 2020 and Callebaut has re-established the brand, moving production to its existing chocolate factory on the outskirts of Banbury, Oxfordshire. The site is also home to Callebaut's Chocolate Academy Centre.
The Stewart & Arnold range make use of Callebaut's Cocoa Horizons sustainability platform to source its cocoa from West Africa. The chocolate recipes also uses British milk together with sustainably-sourced Bourbon vanilla.
The Great British white chocolate has sweet, creamy, and vanilla tasting notes. The 35% Great British milk chocolate has creamy and sweet cocoa and vanilla notes. The 55% Great British dark chocolate sees more intense cocoa and roasted notes, with the 70% Great British dark chocolate maximising these aspects.
It will be interesting to see how many chocolatiers make the switch from Callebaut Belgian-made couverture to Stewart & Arnold British-made couverture in the coming months. Many retail customers are used to seeking out terms like the "finest Belgian chocolate" when deciding which chocolates to buy. By comparison, British-made chocolate is seldom a selling point right now, outside of the craft bean-to-bar market.
Stewart & Arnold chocolate couverture is available from trade and home hobby suppliers such as Keylink.
Are you a chocolatier making the switch? Let me know your reasons in the comments below.