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om Valrhona

Valrhona, a long history in a few words

The story of Le Grand Chocolat begins in 1922 with the creation of the Chocolaterie du Vivarais in Tain l’Hermitage by a pâtissier named Albéric Guironnet. Building on its reputation for tradition and its strong commitment to pâtissiers, bakers and confectioners, and the quality of its products, in 1947, the company changed its name to Valrhona (derived from theRhoneValley). In 1984, Valrhona turned its attention to non-professional customers by offering a range of delicious creations. Five years later into the 1990s, the company expanded its offerings of exclusive products and services to professionals from the culinary world..

The École du Grand Chocolat, created in 1989 by the celebrated pastry chef and chocolatier Frédéric Bau, is without doubt the best example of Valrhona’s commitment to its clients. A top-flight training and research center for professionals seeking inspiration from all four corners of the world, it is also open to non-professional food enthusiasts who are interested in discovering the secrets of the great chefs and Le Grand Chocolat.

In 2006, Valrhona created its Taste Foundation in line with the company’s philosophy to only seek economic gain achieved through environmently sound practices that benefit the good of society. The Foundation’s activities underline the brand’s ongoing commitment to use its pursuit for excellence in the service of sustainable and harmonious development that is shared by one and all.

Today, with production still centralized in Tain l’Hermitage and an international presence driven by innovation, Valrhona serves over 13,000 clients – with whom the brand has built a special relationship that distinguishes it out from the competition – across over 73 countries. .

The story of Valrhona is, in fact, a long tale about TASTE. Expertise of fine cacao beans and mastery of taste, pâtisserie creation, and in-depth understanding of the culinary trade, are the key factors in the Valrhona success story..

Valrhona, expert in fine cocoas
To guarantee the exceptional taste of its fine cocoas, Valrhona manages every stage of the production process. Valrhona’s teams of selectors, planters, and sourcing experts travel the world in search of the best quality cocoa beans. They are constantly on the look-out for potential new source countries, new varieties and new methods, with a finger always on the pulse of the world of cocoa. Dedicated to maintaining the high quality of its cocoa beans, Valrhona works in partnership with local producers during every stage of the cultivation process. From harvest through fermentation, to the open air sun-drying phase, the quality of the beans depends as much on agricultural techniques as on respect for nature and the skilled work of the men and women in the plantation. Valrhona chocolate comes from around 15 locations covering 12 different countries – fromVenezuelatoMadagascar. Among the different varieties, the Criollo cocoa bean is the most sophisticated and aromatic, accounting for just 6% of global chocolate production. But Valrhona’s selectors know how to recognize cocoa beans that can produce exceptional chocolates whatever their variety, whether Criollos, or the more widespread Forasteros or Trinitarios.

Respect, trust, sustainability and the development of local economies are the basis for Valrhona’s partnerships with planters. Long-term contracts guaranteeing volumes and purchase prices and quality bonuses encouraging the viability of plantations coupled with technical assistance and joint research programs are at the center of these partnerships that aim to cultivate great cocoa beans.

To guarantee the consistency of these rich and complementary cocoa beans over time, Valrhona’s sourcing experts combine their skills in agronomy with their agricultural sensitivity. To help them identify the profile of each particular origin and define their unique aroma and flavor characteristics, , Valrhona’s sourcing experts monitor the consistency of these different profiles closely always keeping the customer’s tastes mind.This delicate, critical task is, of course, dependent on the collaboration between producers and Valrhona’s various departments such as purchasing and quality control.

Valrhona, expert in the mastery of taste

To ensure the consistent high-quality taste and aromatic profile of its chocolates, Valrhona follows a unique strategy of taste management. This strategy is primarily based on the involvement of every employee at every level of the business, and on strict quality controls that are applied rigorously, from the cocoa plantation to product creation and promotion.

This promise of exceptional taste primarily comes from Valrhona’s experts who blend fine cocoas of different origins to create unique chocolates with complex and exclusive tastes. But it also requires a complete mastery of the sensorial analysis process. A whole raft of physical measurements, from thickness to viscosity and surface tension, enable Valrhona to validate the technical characteristics of its chocolates and the integrity of its processes. Indeed, the final balance of a chocolate depends on its taste and aroma and also about how the chocolate looks – its texture and the percentage of cocoa solids in it.

So it is not surprising that every stage of the production process – roasting processes adapted to each type of bean, grinding for an unrivalled smoothness of texture, and lengthy conching or stirring of the chocolate at low temperatures which can last between one and three days – should be closely studied to develop the unique taste and character that make Valrhona chocolates exceptional.

The extraordinary taste of Valrhona chocolate is created right from the source through the support and assistance given to planters. Valrhona’s lead in the market is preserved by their keeping a constant eye on the competition. The cocoa beans’ gustatory qualities are checked weekly by over 170 tasters, which include members of seven different sensorial analysis panels. Their tasting methods, which were integrated into a promotion and communication campaign, have been transformed into a series of educational tools so that anyone can become involved in learning how to taste chocolate.

All of these things together allow Valrhona to bring out the very best in its chocolate, and to make every taste experience an exceptional one.

Expert of the Finest Cocoa
Valrhona pursues its passion and expertise for fine and rare cocoas around the world by:
  • Developing cultivation methods through long term partnerships with planters that are based on mutual trust and respect
  • Selecting the very best plantations and varietals to create the finest profiles in taste, color, aroma and feel.
  • Combining fine cocoas of different varietals and sources to create powerfully aromatic blends.
Creator of Unique Tastes
By applying their perfect sensorial analysis knowledge, Valrhona’s experts blend the finest, rarest cocoas from different varieties and different origins, creating chocolates of the most authentic compositions, unveiling elaborate and unique flavours.

This perfect expertise of taste is perpetuated throughout the manufacturing process, where each step has been researched to develop the supreme aromatic qualities of each chocolate:


  • Roasting, adapted to the size and the origin of the cocoa beans,
  • Grinding, offering small-sized particles, providing incomparably fine texture,
  • Long conching developing intense aromas.

Cultivating taste is one of Valrhona’s fundamental values and the company’s sensorial analysis laboratory is a trendsetter in the industry.


Over 160 people make up a series of focused tasting panels that meet daily at Valrhona’s headquarters to rigorously sample raw materials, products in development and finished chocolates. As a result, the taste of Valrhona chocolate is recognized by professionals and gourmets alike as full-bodied and complex – in a word, exceptional.
This original, unrivalled approach ensures that Valrhona preserves its distinctiveness and perpetuates its taste of uniqueness.
Chocolate-Maker to the World’s Greatest Chefs
Valrhona’s Excellence was first and foremost developed for the professionals of taste.
Recognized by leading renowned craftsmen, singled out by the chefs of the most prestigious, fine gastronomy establishments, it is through this unique commitment to Excellence that Valrhona has enchanted a world of chocolate lovers, of connoisseurs, inviting them to discover a compendium of elusive gourmet delights.

In 1989, Valrhona created the Ecole du Grand Chocolat in Tain L’Hermitage to share its extensive technical knowledge in pâtisserie and chocolate making with its customers. Today, the Ecole du Grand Chocolat is a true center for creativity, developing recipes, and providing advice, training and technical support to professionals throughout the world of chocolate.



Valrhona, a chocolate manufacturer and a world leader in Le Grand Chocolat, pursues its passion and expertise to produce the finest aromatic chocolate, such us: chocolate bars, ballotin boxes and cooking chocolate powder.

The Excellence
Our Quest for Absolute Quality
A taste of uniqueness stimulated by a dedicated quest for quality
  • From its very first awards to the latest requirements of the TPM certification, granted in 2008, Valrhona has developed a rigourous quality strategy that it meticulously and steadfastly applies throughout the company.
  • From plantation to creation, harmoniously enhancing authentic chocolate with its taste of uniqueness…
Valrhona focuses on 3 keys areas
  • Its staff: Protecting health and safety in the company.
  • Its environment: Respecting quantified energy-saving regulations and commitments.
  • Its customers: Meticulously respecting food safety and market regulations, committing to research and innovation and customer satisfaction surveys.
Since 2004
OHSAS 18001 certification
Aims: To reduce work-related accidents by -30% in 3 years Results: – 77% in 2 years

Since 2005

ISO 14001 certification
Environmental management system
Aims: To reduce water and energy consumption: -30% in 3 year
To reduce waste production and improve upgrading: -30% in 3 years
To minimize accidental pollution risks
To encourage the harmonious integration of production sites into the human environment: -30% in 3 years
Results: To reduce water and energy consumption: -8% in 2 years
To reduce waste production and improve upgrading: -10% in 2 years

Since 2006

ISO 22000 certification
Food safety management system
Aims:    Customer Satisfaction: To reduce customer claims: -70% in 3 years
Results: Customer Claims: -38% in 1 year

Since 2002

Establishment of our total productive maintenance (TPM) strategy
Quest for EXCELLENCE Autonomous teams, EFQM assessment
QUALITY policy honoured, in 2003: Rhone-Alps Quality Award,
in 2004: LRQA Trophy, France Quality Award

Since 2008

TPM (Total Productive Maintenance) Award UAP Chocolate Award to the Antoine Dodet site
Strategy aimed at improving production system performance
TPM Award presented by the JIPM (Japan Institute of Plant Management): a Japanese organization, created in 1969, to develop and promote the TPM concept, encouraging the development of business cultures which improve production system performances.
Aims: To eliminate loss at all level.
To increase knowledge and skills through on-site training. To improve staff safety, product quality and team involvement. To increase the reliability of production unit equipment
Results: 2 years of successful TPM activity
First phases of autonomous maintenance deployed
Fair trade co-development begins right in the heart of the cocoa plantation, between the cocoa farmers and Valrhona. Every effort is made to improve the respect of social, environmental and economic conditions.

This partnership is illustrated by three key pillars:

 1- A commitment to strict terms and conditions as regards the cocoa farmers with whom we work directly (including exclusivity of certain plantations, fixed prices and guaranteed volume)

2- Long-term relations that enable us to provide the producers with a steady income and guaranteed profitability. In return, Valrhona obtains a strong commitment to the proven farming methods that guarantee fine cocoa of exceptional quality.

3- The provision by Valrhona of developed techniques that have been proven throughout its experience (such as the search for new sources and fermentation) that enable producers to enhance their land.


Our plantations


In order to further progress with our knowledge of the cocoa, Valrhona bought its first plantation El Pedregal inVenezuela20 years ago, followed more recently in 2011 by Loma Sotavento in theDominican Republic. For Valrhona, these company-owned plantations are living laboratories for research and exploration on several levels; they contribute to significant progress in certain crucial stages of the development of aromatic characteristics, such as fermentation and drying.

They help us in our experiments into responsible and sustainable farming. Valrhona works together with local experts to convert plantations into natural botanic gardens that create a new balance between the flora and its ecosystem.

El Pedregal plantation has enabled us to develop a vintage estate grown chocolate, with unrivalled delicacy: Porcelana El Pedregal (available November 2011)

Just like a fine vintage wine, the estate grown chocolates are the fruit of the yearly harvest of a single plantation, and the passion of a cocoa farmer. Each vintage thus offers you the opportunity to discover new facets of its personality. Valrhona also invites you to taste these vintage chocolates with unique and outstanding aromatic characteristics,PalmirafromVenezuela, Gran Couva from Trinidad and Ampamakia fromMadagascar.

Three years ago, an ambitious and highly innovative project was founded inVenezuela, called the Cambios project. It focuses on the principles of sustainable, quality cocoa farming, respectful both of the environment and people, focused on the preservation of a dying variety, Porcelana. It involves, among other things, the creation of biodiversity corridors within the plantation itself, up keeping the cocoa plantations in the manner of forests, and planting other crops so that the local population has another income and training.
Our History


Valrhona is producing since 1922 till today new chocolate products as the 70% cocoa dark chocolate and square grand crus bar




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