Josh Johnson, pastry chef at Guittard Chocolate and former instructor at the French Pastry School for six years, recently presented a primer on chocolate decorations, offering valuable tips and trends, along with Jacquy Pfeiffer of the French Pastry School. The online presentation, Cake Arts by Rouxbe, offered technical support for cake decorators looking for knowledge on how to work with chocolate.

Johnson travels the country to support education on chocolate, and Guittard hosts classes at its school in Los Angeles with Chef Donald Wressell

Rouxbe is an online culinary school that offers classes on a wide range of topics. “What’s great with these courses is you can review these courses or go back to a video,” says Pfeiffer, a master pastry chef and co-founder of the French Pastry School in Chicago.

Johnson is the pastry chef of Guittard Chocolate Company, the revered San Francisco Bay Area family-owned chocolate maker, where he brings his celebrated craft, artistry and palate in developing new recipes and ideas with executive pastry chef Donald Wressell. Johnson has competed in and won the National Pastry Team Championship with team captain Wressell and teammates Scott Green and Della Gossett. The team went on to win Best Dégustation and Silver Medal overall at the 2012 World Pastry Championship in Las Vegas. Johnson also competed in the 2015 Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie with teammates Scott Green and John Kraus, coached by Ewald Notter and Wressell, where they brought home the bronze medal.

The composition of white, dark and milk chocolate can be explained, Johnson begins, starting with dark chocolate, which is 100% cocoa mass (or cocoa liqueur – 100% unsweetened chocolate), sugar, and lecithin. “There is zero milk in it,” he emphasizes.

Milk chocolate is cocoa mass, sugar, and lecithin, milk solids

White chocolate is just cocoa butter, sugar, and dried milk powder.

The amount of added cocoa butter will vary depending on its application

Chocolate will not spoil easily because it does not contain any water, Pfeiffer points out. 

What is confectionery chocolate?

The only thing that is going to change is there is zero cocoa butter, Johnson explains. For ease of use, it contains vegetable fat. When it melts, it recrystallizes in the same form. Vegetable fat is very stable. It is not going to melt.

For a low-fat chocolate, the range would be 63% down to 28% That is a safe range for baking cookies, blondies and others.


Ganache is heavy cream (heated to infuse flavor) and pour it over chocolate of your choice.

“The choice of chocolate is very important,” Johnson says, adding you can make distinctive flavors like pistachio ganache or fruit ganache. “The flavor of the chocolate matters. Some have notes of acidity. Some have fruit notes.”

Say, for example, you want to make passionfruit ganache. When the chocolate is very acidic, use a rounder flavor. You could find a flavor that balances well.

“White chocolate is 65% sugar, so we usually we like to use white and milk chocolate to make acidic ganache. The sugar is there, and it will balance very well with the acidity,” Pfeiffer explains.

Organic cocoa powder

Guittard Chocolate Company, the 150+-year-old San Francisco-based chocolate maker, is pleased to announce the latest addition to its cocoa powder line: Guittard Organic Natural cocoa powder. Inviting new performance possibilities with its unique flavor and function, Guittard’s new Organic Natural powder combines a high percentage of cocoa butter fat with flavor-forward organic beans for a cocoa that delivers new possibilities in baking as well as drinking.

The natural processing of the beans (non-dutch-processed), along with the high cocoa butter content leads to a cocoa powder that is lighter in color and retains the original flavor-forward complexity of the organic beans for nuanced and exciting flavor delivery in baking and drinking applications. When used in baking, it creates bright and expressive flavors, and the absence of dutching allows the chocolate flavors to truly stand out. 

Joining its other cocoa powder products, Cocoa Rouge and Grand Cacao, Guittard’s Organic Natural cocoa powder is the first to be Organic and both high cocoa butter content and non-dutched. Cocoa that is not dutch-processed is referred to as ‘natural cocoa’ in the industry and brings bright chocolate flavor and lighter colors to baking and drinking applications. While most recipes will not specify dutched or natural cocoa in their instructions, the Organic Natural’s high cocoa butter content enhances texture and flavor in baking projects like brownies, cookies, and cakes or enjoyed as a beverage in recipes where a more natural, mild chocolate flavor and creamy, rich texture is preferred.

“We’re thrilled to welcome this high-fat Organic Natural cocoa powder to our line of Guittard products,” said Gary Guittard, CEO and fourth generation of Guittard Chocolate Company. “We always strive to deliver new and innovative options to our customers—to provide them with chocolate that suits a variety of needs in both flavor and application. This latest addition to our line of cocoa powders opens an avenue of possibilities we’re excited to see our users explore.”


Mona Lisa, the global decoration brand of Barry Callebaut, continues its geographical expansion and is now also present in Mexico. The brand recently celebrated this important milestone with Chef José Ramón Castillo, the renowned star chocolatier from Mexico.

The chocolate for Mona Lisa® is made from 100% sustainable cocoa that supports cocoa farming communities through the Cocoa Horizons Foundation, our preferred vehicle to enable the implementation of sustainability activities. Cocoa Horizons is an impact driven program focused on cocoa farmer prosperity and helping to build self-sustaining farming communities that protect nature and children.

Plant-based portfolio

Barry Callebaut has announced its latest expansion of its plant-based portfolio by adding dairy-free organic chocolate to its North American portfolio. Barry Callebaut is amplifying its entire, wide-ranging plant-based solution range, called Plant Craft.

Dairy-free organic chocolate and the entire Plant Craft portfolio caters to the growing demand for vegan and dairy-free solutions within the sweets and snacks industries. A survey in Barry Callebaut’s new report, The Future of Indulgence, shows that 81 percent of consumers are seeking chocolates that not only taste great but are also good for me and good for the planet.

“We have seen an increased demand for plant-based indulgence over the years,” says Steve Woolley, chief executive officer and president Americas at Barry Callebaut Group. “The continuous expansion and innovation in our Plant Craft line, bolstered by our best-in-class manufacturing capabilities, explains why Barry Callebaut is a pioneer in the chocolate industry. Our team is looking forward to sharing more about our new dairy-free organic chocolate capabilities at the Sweets & Snacks Expo.”

Dairy-free organic chocolate joins the entire plant-based portfolio including the recently launched dairy-free compound, classic dairy-free chocolates and cocoa powders, as well as the more unique portfolio offerings including the robust range of nut solutions and Cacaofruit Experiences, the pulp, juice and concentrate directly from the Cacaofruit. The Plant Craft range includes solutions for confectionery, bakery, ice cream applications and beyond.

“There is a lot of excitement around our industry-leading Plant Craft portfolio as we offer exciting solutions to the consumer demands of the plant-based market,” says Laura Bergan, director of brand marketing at Barry Callebaut. “Along with expanding our plant-based solutions, we will also reveal our Future of Indulgence report that introduces a new type of indulgence that we have seen emerging in the past few years.”

Unique partnership

DouxMatok and Blommer Chocolate Company (USA), the largest cocoa processor and ingredient chocolate supplier in North America, announced the expansion of their partnership to include additional coatings to support utilization in a broader range of food applications, including but not limited to panning, enrobing and molding.

The new line of milk, dark and white coatings achieve up to 50% sugar reduction thanks to the utilization of Incredo® Sugar, without using any high intensity sweeteners or sugar alcohols

The team of chocolate scientists at Blommer have designed various concepts, with product opportunities including beloved snack and bakery applications such as nut butter cups, bars and chocolate chip cookies

Providing sugar-reduced chocolate that delivers on taste, sweetness and nutrition has been a long-standing industry challenge, particularly while fulfilling increased consumer interest in short and understandable ingredient lists

Earlier this year, Blommer launched the innovative Discovery product line, empowered by DouxMatok’s award-winning sugar-based sugar reduction solution, Incredo® Sugar. The first products were chocolate-flavored chips and they have now expanded the product line to include additional coatings to support utilization in a broader range of food applications, including but not limited to panning, enrobing, and molding.

Providing sugar-reduced chocolate that delivers on taste, sweetness and nutrition has been a long-standing industry challenge, particularly while fulfilling increased consumer interest in short and understandable ingredient lists. Blommer is pushing the envelope again with this new line of milk, dark and white coatings, achieving up to 50% sugar reduction without using any high intensity sweeteners or sugar alcohols. The team of chocolate scientists at Blommer have designed various concepts to demonstrate that it is now a possibility to achieve over 40% sugar reduction in some of the beloved snack and bakery applications such as nut butter cups, bars and chocolate chip cookies.

“Global research continues to indicate that taste is the first consideration when consumers make food choices, but they have historically shied away from chocolate products with less added sugar due to negative taste perception,” said David Meggs, Chief Operating Officer at Blommer Chocolate Company.  “We have tremendous opportunity at our fingertips to bring consumers back to this category who have avoided sugar-reduced products because they simply didn’t taste good enough.”

“We’re thrilled about the new opportunities that the expanded Discovery product line will open up for food brands,” said Kelly Thompson, DouxMatok’s SVP Head of North America. “Chocolate-covered snacks are beloved by consumers, and they shouldn’t have to compromise on taste or nutrition when they reach for their favorite treats.”

DouxMatok is pioneering the development of efficient nutrition and flavor delivery technologies of food products. Patented through 24 granted patents, its sugar reduction solution, Incredo® Sugar, maximizes the efficiency of sugar delivery to the sweet taste receptors and enhances the perception of sweetness, enabling substantial sugar reduction without compromising taste, mouthfeel, or texture.