The work of a collective committed to indulgent, sustainable gastronomy


In 2023, Valrhona is taking a fresh look at the Essentials.

Valrhona’s expertise has been passed down from kitchen to kitchen for 100 years. From Tain l’Hermitage to Tokyo and Brooklyn to the heart of Paris, professionals from all over the world are pushing back their creative boundaries thanks to L’École Valrhona. They have been able to count on Valrhona Essentials to guide them every day since 1995.

Created by L’École Valrhona with leadership from Frédéric Bau, the Essentials are a collection of basic recipes which has become a pastry-making benchmark.

This indispensable tool, last updated in 2018, returns in 2023 with more than 20 recipes reworked with a sense of Reasonable Indulgence.

Les Essentiels

The Essentials: more than just a tool

As a kitchen laboratory companion and a genuine reference work for thousands of makers and restaurateurs around the world, the Essentials is a collection of basic recipes. From cookies to doughs, mousses, creams and even finishes, the Essentials offer more than 120 recipes perfectly balanced with all Valrhona’s products.

A new version of the Essentials in step with the times

Today, gastronomy has many challenges to face and must reinvent itself.

Whether it comes to seasonal products, short supply chains, ingredients, health or nutrition, Valrhona puts looking after the planet and taking care of its resources at the heart of Valrhona’s thinking and DNA. Faithful to its mission that can be summed up with “together, good becomes better”, Valrhona is supporting makers and pastry chefs all over the world by providing them with a tool that allows them to work with sometimes centuries-old recipes, in a way that brings them up to date.

But what does contemporary gastronomy taste like? Contemporary gastronomy wants to be more in tune with its time, always indulgent but more ethical in the way it uses its ingredients; it means doing things better without losing any of the quality, with less fat and less sugar, but always just as delicious.

Frédéric Bau, Experimental Pastry Chef at Valrhona

Launched more than 15 years ago by Valrhona’s exploratory pastry chef Frédéric Bau, Reasonable Indulgence is an audacious approach that reimagines traditional pastry by improving its nutritional qualities, without ever compromising flavor. 

In 2023, all of Valrhona’s work will be underpinned by our Reasonable Indulgence concept. Inspired by this philosophy, the chefs at L’École Valrhona have reworked 22 recipes and added them to the Essentials 2023, without forgetting to enrich the collection with the latest product innovations, including Komuntu 80% (the chocolate to mark Valrhona’s 100th anniversary) and Hukambi 53%, the couverture from the new Ombrés range launched in January 2023.

Reasonable Indulgence is a whole new approach to my profession. It’s healthier and better for people and the planet, without ever losing any of the pleasure that should come with eating delicious food.

The work of a collective committed to indulgent yet well-balanced sweet gastronomy

Challenging yourself and pushing limits so that we can offer more ethical, perfectly balanced recipes is in L’École Valrhona’s DNA.
Reworking the Essentials involves questioning everything we do, and this requires constantly involving the chefs in our vision for Reasonable Indulgence.
For this new version of The Essentials, for over a year we needed to mobilize and work closely with a team that combined the pastry-making expertise of L’École Valrhona and the scientific knowledge of the Valrhona Research & Development Department.

Equipe Essentiels nouvelle version

The criteria for a “reasonable” recipe

  •  • Improving recipes nutritionally in terms of calories, fat and sugar, keeping only what is necessary. How? We do this by analyzing the recipes by breaking them down and understanding their structure, as well as the role played by each ingredient. In addition to this, however, we research the possibility of reducing or even eliminating high-calorie, fatty and sugary ingredients.
  • Maintain or improve tastes and textures, never forgetting the first criterion for Reasonable Indulgence: being every bit as tasty and delicious. The recipes for the 2023 Essentials must be just as good or better.

The characteristics of the Essentials

  • Limited number of ingredients
  • Ingredients that are available worldwide
  • Recipes with simple processes, adapted to makers’ production needs 
  • Recipes that can be used by all gastronomy professions
  • Maintained or improved storability
Guanaja whipped ganache

A tool redesigned to be more practical and sustainable

The latest version of the Essentials also comes in a new format. Gone are the brochures - from now on, the Essentials can be consulted in a binder, a format more in line with Valrhona’s mission and its customers’ expectations.

This binder is more durable, practical and agile.

  • More durable: chefs need only print new recipes to include them in their binder
  • More practical: simply take the recipe out of the binder to use it in your kitchen laboratory
  • More agile:the Essentials can be updated chapter by chapter over the coming years
classeur essentiels

© Agence Cru

With the Essentials, Valrhona’s main aim is to enable makers and pastry chefs to think differently and unlearn the old techniques, habits and reflexes that have been repeated and passed down for generations so that they can work in a more aware way and create their own conventions.
These new guidelines enable us to push back the limits of creativity and eat more healthily, while preserving the gustatory experience and excellence of sweet cuisine, today and tomorrow!

With this new version of the Essentials, L’École Valrhona invites all pastry chefs to become part of gastronomy’s future.

L’École Valrhona chefs

Les essentiels crémeux

Professionals, find more step-by-step recipes on the online Essentials

Discover the Online Essentials