Stuffed Chocolate, Ltd. was created in 2002 - Our little company has grown from a web merchant with fewer than 15 items in our 'inventory' to a company which offers almost 450 gourmet products. We've learned a lot since we first started offering chocolate covered montmorency cherries to the world! And we've learned it from you, our customers, who look to us to provide you with exceptional products at excellent pricing. As we've grown our business beyond the first panned fruits, berries, nuts and coffee beans, we've focused our greatest effort on developing an ever expanding line of chocolate confections in the true European mode. Our range of chocolate products grows almost monthly - a testament to the quality we provide.
Our Chocolate, Our Passion
Stuffed Chocolate began as a chocolate company. The on-going additions of teas, and hot chocolate products was designed to complement our central offerings of chocolate. But at our heart, we love chocolate. We love it so much that we hate to see it given over to machines to make our line of confections, molded chocolates, truffles, and other chocolate products.
Our original panned chocolates (chocolate covered nuts, berries, fruits, and coffee beans) are produced for us by a family run company which shares our dedication to artisanal manufacturer. The panning machines (panning of chocolate is traditionally done in some form of machine - hence the term) are classic copper. Each machine can output no more than 40 or 50 pounds a day - certainly a drop in the bucket to manufacturers who turn out 10 times that much per day.
Every other chocolate product we offer is truly hand-made. The only 'machines' we use in the production of a chocolate piece is a 'temperer' - a machine whose sole purpose is to melt the chocolate and monitor its temperature. After that, it's all handmade using stainless steel implements and a lot of devotion. Even our molded chocolate pieces are hand-moulded - not produced by a machine. Artisanal to us means more than the manufacture of a product by hand - it also involves creating a product from fine quality and natural ingredients.
Our 'basic chocolate' is imported Callebaut Belgian chocolate. Callebaut is the reference standard for chocolate in the world of Belgian chocolate-making, and it's our 'standard', too. But bringing in imported chocolate is only one thing to consider - more importantly, what is the choclate 'type'. Large producers purchase their chocolate over a sliding range of 'types' (or qualities, if you will). Lower cost chocolates have heavier doses of sugar; less cocoa butter. Some types of 'chocolate' have no cocoa butter at all - a fat replacement is used to bring down the cost. Some chocolates, you might have noticed, feel almost 'gritty' on the tongue - not smooth and creamy as you exepect good chocolate to be. These, too, are lower cost chocolates - the manufacturer has refined the chocolate to only a certain point to keep costs to the chocolate producers at a lower cost.
We selected Callbaut because it was an internationally recognized producer of a range of chocolate products. Further, we selected the type of chocolate called 'couverture' chocolate - this is very expensive, high quality chocolate that is used to make upscale confections,
truffles and moulded chocolates. What makes couveture chocolate more expensive is the higher cocoa butter content (at least 30% - 32%) and the longer timespent by a manufacturer (such as Callebaut) in the chocolate's refining processes. You can immediately tell the difference between lower cost 'eating chocolate' and 'couveture chocolate'.
Currently, ALL our in-house crafted chocolates are made from imported Callebaut couverture chocolates.
If we select another chocolate because of its flavor profile and the way it complements the ganache or filling for a particular product, we will inform you of that fact on the website along with the product's description. Even there, however, we will maintain the couverture level of chocolate, whether the product comes to us from France, Germany, Italy, or San Francisco!
Because our chocolate confections products are handmade, they have to be made in small batches. In many cases, we do not even keep some products in inventory - they are 'made to order'. This is why you must not expect that we will take your order for Coconut Ganache squares at 10:00 in the morning and ship them by 2:00 that afternoon. This particular product is rarely in inventory - it is usually made to order - and making that particular product means at least two days before it can be boxed and shipped.
Speaking of Boxes...
From Day One in our business we decided to offer our products in distinctive packages. Most of our chocolate products will arrive packaged in our gold ballotin or gold 'flat boxes'. Our chocolate covered coffee beans are packaged in (what else?) tin-tie coffee bags and some of our other prducts packaged in windowed bags or cello-wrapping. ALLERGEN WARNING
Please note that our chocolates may have come into contact with peanut and other ground nut products as well as tree nut products such as almonds. Milk chocolate and white chocolate products contain whole milk powder. We do use coconut in some preparations; this is noted in the product description. Eggs and albumen may be found in our baked goods. The chocolate itself is chocolate mass, cocoa butter, sugar, milk (for milk chocolates and white chocolate), soya lecithin, and Madagascar pure vanilla (not vanillan). If you have concerns regarding a particular allergen, please ask us.
Bringing Home the Flavor
When we decided to expand beyond chocolate, the
first things we settled on were chocolate teas and chocolate coffees. Since then we've increased our selections in both areas many times over.
Our teas come from Metropolitan Tea Company. They offer of 350 varieties of tea and tea packages. We selected Metropolitan because their products met our standards of quality. Whether it's a Darjeeling from India or a tea from Ceylon, the quality is exceptional. Metropolitan is constantly on-site at the various tea estates throughout the world selecting only the finest on offer in loose teas. The flavored teas, whether bagged 'n boxed or sold loose are flavored with natural flavorings and extracts - not chemical 'taste a-likes'. And just so you know more about the tea you buy from us, we include a descriptive sheet explaing the tea you're about to enjoy.
Our desire to have a chocolate
coffee in our product range led us to First Colony Coffee, the only coffee company authorized to use the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company's name (and chocolate) on and in their coffees. First Colony also has exclusive rights to provide you with Jack Danield, Southern Comfort and other luxurious liqueur flavored coffees. First Colony has over 50 types of non-flavored beans and grinds available, including organics (which we are proud to offer) and numerous blends.
When it came to looking for a supplier of hot chocolates, we headed to Mississauga Ontario where Orange Crate Products makes its home. There we not only found some great hot chocolate , but a whole raft-full of gourmet treats from dip and sauces to holiday treats and novelties. We also augmented our hoy chocolate line with the Cocoa Amore line of luxurious gourmet hot cocoas.
Although we cannot stock each and every product from our key suppliers, we are amenable to special ordering products you've had before and just don't know where to get them (except for us, of course!).
Will we add even more suppliers? The answer
is 'Yes', but only after they've passed the Stuffed Chocolate quality test!
Stufffed Chocolate, Ltd. is not a retail shop - it's a web-based business. we are located in the Town of Amherst in Western New York, less than 20 miles from the thundering Niagara Falls and about 30 miles from some of the finest skiing in the Northeast. we're also located in the middle of a triangle of fine wine producing regions in Ontario and Western NY and only two hours drive from the Finger Lakes. To see where we are, click here - map.
Hours and Other Things
Since we're an Internet-based business, you might think we have a 24 hour telephone based customer service staff spread across three continents. Well, no. We do have set hours we keep for our telephone customers. We are available from 9:00 - 5:00 EST Monday through Friday. On Saturday we keep irregular hours, but there is normally someone to take your call between 10:00 and 4:00 EST.
You can ALWAYS email us with your questions or comments. You can also call after (or before) hours to leave a message and we'll get back to you.
For More Information About Our Products, go to our Stuffed Chocolate FAQs!
Member: Retail Confectioners International
Stuffed Chocolate, Ltd.
138 Walton Drive
Amherst NY 14226