When I started
baking professionally, whenever a recipe called for chocolate, we grabbed
whatever chocolate we could get in bulk, lopped off a chunk, and used
that. At the time, there wasn’t much consciousness about chocolate
and all the differences that there are today. (I know, I sound like a
dinosaur!) Often “European” chocolates were talked about as being of
the best quality. But when I started at Chez Panisse,
we had blocks of Guittard
chocolate, which I’d never heard of but it tasted good when I snuck a
bite. I noticed on the label that it was made locally, just south of San
Francisco, where it’s still being made today.
before the bean-to-bar chocolate movement started in America (also in San
Francisco), and I also remember when Robert
Steinberg unwrapped a small morsel of chocolate he’d made,
that didn’t look like much – just a tiny blob of chocolate, to start his
company. I thought he was nuts because no one cared that much about
artisanally made chocolate, or so I thought, but his company went on to
become a big success, launching and inspiring others in America to start
making chocolate from beans they sourced themselves.
all of that started, there was Guittard.
They’ve been making chocolate for nearly 150 years and Amy Guittard
is part of a fifth generation of bean-to-bar chocolate makers within
the same family.
great-great grandfather Etienne Guittard was French, and left France in
the mid 1880’s, coming to San Francisco to cash in on the gold rush,
like many others. He’d brought French chocolate to sell, which was so
successful, he went back to France, bought a bunch of equipment, and
returned to set up his own factory in San Francisco.