Episode 30: Amy Guittard of the Guittard Chocolate Company

Description: Amy Guittard -- Director of Marketing, cookbook author, San Franciscan and hobby surfer, is a 5th generation of the Guittard Chocolate family. The Guittard Chocolate Company was founded in 1868 by Etienne Guittard, Amy's paternal great-great grandfather. Before Quantum mechanics, before Rudolphe Lindt invented the chocolate conche, America's longest family-run and operated chocolate company was making chocolate from the bean. Follow along this episode as we get to know this woman in chocolate, and discuss a different 'theory of relativity' - working alongside her Father and patriarch of the business Gary Guittard, keeping the traditions of a 150 year old company in today's ever-changing and demanding premium chocolate scene, and developing innovative relationships and direct-impact programs with long-time farmer partners.

Gary Guittard and Amy Guittard. Photo credit: Guittard Chocolate Company

Gary Guittard and Amy Guittard. Photo credit: Guittard Chocolate Company

Themes discussed in this episode:

  • Beginnings of the company: Etienne came to San Francisco to mine for gold during the Gold Rush and realized he could be more profitable selling provisions, including chocolate.

  • At that time, SF had a tight-knit food community of commodity producers/purveyors including, Folger’s Coffee and Ghirardelli Chocolate.

  • 151 years in the business; hinging on classic tradition and innovation. They’ve spent decades creating new ideas/concepts for the market - sometimes without accolades for those advancements.

  • American Chocolate movement - what is an East Coast vs West Coast version of chocolate making? How the global supply chain impacted chocolate companies.

  • Flavor is a driving factor of their work as a company and legacy; a consideration even when planting raw material.

  • Cultive Better a multi-country project working hand-in-hand with local governments, cacao research centers, and NGO collaborators. Guittard finds it imperative that their work at origin can be owned by country leaders/workers. Not limited to, but greatly involving micro-batch processing, tasting panels, and team evaluation using flavor as a precursor for present and future breeding programs.

  • How holistic approaches in varied countries can be applied and/or diversified.

  • Incremental degradation coined by Gary Guittard; whether in the finished bar of chocolate, cocoa supply chain, etc.

  • Letting the beans tell them how to be roasted. Tradition of industry blended with historical flavor of a terroir. Head chocolate maker Gary Guittard’s making style; intuitive, consistent, and skill of blending.

  • Responsibility and duty in a family business. How to focus on driving the business forward and staying balanced.

  • Level of artistry at every step.

  • Social media emphasis and opportunities in the baking and pastry-sphere with chefs and influencers such as Cloudy Kitchen, The Boy Who Bakes, cookie entrepreneurs, chocolatiers and more.

Guittard farmer partners in Ghana. Photo credit: Guittard Chocolate Company

Guittard farmer partners in Ghana. Photo credit: Guittard Chocolate Company

…chocolate is a grinding business. back then you couldn’t do just one thing…he (Etienne Guittard in 1868) also ground coffee, teas, & spices. - Amy Guittard, speaking of the origins of her great-great grandfather’s start in chocolate making

Amy would take these chocolates to the Cosmos:
38% Kokoleka Hawaiian Milk Chocolate
Unsweetened liquor (cocoa solids, not alcoholic) for all her baking needs
Grand Cacao Drinking Chocolate

Related links:
Zuni Cafe Gateau Victoire (flourless chocolate cake recipe)
’Don’t Mess With Our Chocolate’ campaign, Gary Guittard garnered 30,000 signatures to halt the FDA from allowing non-cocoa vegetable fats into the chocolate Standard of Identity. Read more here.
Cocoa Research Institute of Ghana (CRIG)
Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI)

More from Amy:
The Guittard Chocolate Cookbook: Decadent Recipes from San Francisco’s Premium Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Company (Chronicle Books, 2015).
Guittard Chocolate Company website
Guittard Chocolate on Instagram @guittardchocolate

Vintage Guittard advertisement, San Francisco, California. Photo credit: Guittard Chocolate Company

Vintage Guittard advertisement, San Francisco, California. Photo credit: Guittard Chocolate Company

Amy generously shared her favorite cookie recipe for Well Tempered podcast listeners and readers. Bake a batch this wknd!


Most of us grew up with this beloved cookie and you’ve seen recipes for chocolate chip cookies countless times on the backs of chocolate chip bags. But I promise you, this recipe, created in our test kitchens decades ago, really does produce the best classic chocolate chip cookie. We’ve improved the recipe over the years to make sure the butter-to-sugar-to-flour ratio yields a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. A bit of vanilla gives way to epic amounts of chocolate chips with every bite. This cookie can be underbaked a touch if you’re a fan of super-gooey goodness. When I’m feeling daring, I sprinkle a little fleur de sel on the tops right before putting them in the oven. Use high-quality unsalted butter and, of course, the best chocolate you can find. For me this means our tried-and-true semisweet chocolate chips. If you’re ready to take this classic to the next level, try the variation for a giant chocolate chip cookie.

2½ cups [300 g] all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup [220 g] unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup [150 g] granulated sugar
¾ cup [150 g] firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups [340 g] Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Baking Chips
1 cup [110 g] chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375ºF [190°C]. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.In a medium bowl, combine the flour,baking soda, and salt. Set aside.In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Gradually stir in the flour mixture until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and the walnuts (if using).Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonsful onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 in [5 cm]between the cookies; the cookies will spread as they bake.Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. MAKES TWENTY-FOUR 3½-IN [9-CM] COOKIES.

Variation for a giant chocolate chip cookie:
Prepare the cookie dough as directed. Spread it evenly into a greased 9-in [23-cm] round cake pan. Bake at 375ºF [190°C] for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, and cut into wedges. To serve, top with your favorite ice cream.

NOTE: FREEZING COOKIE DOUGH. If you want freshly baked cookies any time, prepare the dough as directed and portion the cookies out on parchment paper as if you were going to bake them right away. You won’t need much space between the cookies; just make sure they aren’t touching. Place the cookies on the parchment paper–lined baking sheets in the freezer for 1 hour. Then, place all of the frozen cookie dough portions into a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to3 months. When you’re ready, follow the baking instructions for the recipe. Frozen cookies may need an additional minute or two in the oven.

Recipe and words courtesy of Amy Guittard, author of Guittard Chocolate Cookbook: Decadent Recipes from San Francisco's Premium Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Company by Amy Guittard. Reprinted on this site with permission from Chronicle Books and Guittard Chocolate Company.