No More Bulk Valrhona Cocoa at San Rafael Whole Foods
And the bulk chocolate selection has been severely diminished. I went by today to stock up, and the large display over the cheese case had been moved to a sad little corner. I didn't see Valrhona or El Rey, just Callebeaut bulk, and something else that looked gross and light-colored (not milk-chocolate or giandua, something weird) .The person working the cheese counter told me that that that was all they had, and that they wouldn't be carrying anything else. Even the 500g Callebaut in the baking aisle was gone! Someone in customer service said that a bunch of stuff (not just chocolate) in the store had recently been replaced with other brands, or disappeared entirely.
Anyone know if the Mill Valley Whole Foods has bulk cocoa/baking chocolate? Other sources are appreciated, especially in Marin/Berkeley. I know the Pasta Shop can be a good bet, but not for bulk cocoa, which I really prefer not to mail-order or buy in tiny cans. TIA
Mill Valley does NOT have plain bulk non-dutched cocoa powder ("brownie powder") in the bulk bins alongside the bulk flours, rice, nuts, dried fruits, etc. However, I'm confused by your post (I'm not a chocolate connousieur), so I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for. You mention premium chocolate brands (Valrhona, El Rey) near the "cheese case," not the bulk bins. Is that unrelated to your question about "bulk cocoa/baking chocolate"?
Anyhoo, if you're looking for unbranded (no brand on the bulk bin) non-dutched cocoa powder from the bulk bin section, I occasionally buy mine at the San Francisco (California & Franklin) Whole Foods location. The next time I go to the Mill Valley location (probably next week), I'll try to remember to re-check for baking chocolate (solid, powder, etc) in the bulk bin area.
I'm referring to bulk cocoa powder, but it is sold with other specialty items like cheeses. They measure and weigh it for you at the counter. The bulk chocolate is pre-packaged in the same department. I called the Mill Valley WF, and spoke to someone who said they still carried Valrhona and would continue to do so. The next day, my sister went to pick some up for me, and bought all they had on hand (which wasn't much), from someone who said they didn't have anymore. Confusing. Guess I'll check in Berkeley next, or just order online.
The last time I was at the Berkeley Whole Foods (on Telegraph @ Ashby), they had all of the bulk chocolate/cocoa items that you spoke of. However, the last time I was there was a couple of months ago.
I hope that all of the Whole Foods are not doing away with those items.
Le Village (Made In France) importers in Brisbane carry all sorts of large format baking items targeted at restaurants. I bought a 10 pound package of Valrhona chocolate for ~$70. Yes, I like chocolate. Also, with San Francisco's climate chocolate keeps well (no heat blooming or other nastiness). They carry at least 4 of Valhrona's chocolate blends, which is nice if you really want to tune your chocolate flavor. I've also seen callebaut and a few other well-known couverture chocolates.
Sign up on their website for the announcement about when they have open to the public weekend sales, as they are normally a wholesaler to the trade. Their sales tend to be at least once a month.
I haven't gotten cocoa from them before, but they sell everything from obscure salt to fondant base to fruit purees for cheating on things like pashion fruit glazed cakes.