Couverture (fine “covering” chocolate) is at once rare and pervasive. Home bakers seldom see chocolate that’s actually labeled “couverture” and so have trouble finding it when they want to glaze a torte or batch of truffles. On the other hand many of the more expensive chocolate bars in specialty shops are technically couvertures, which means the stuff is in reality not very hard to get.
But what distinguishes a couverture from other types of chocolate? The biggest differentiator is its cocoa butter content. Couverture can be up to 40% cocoa butter, the highest percentage of all the chocolate types, which means it pours easier, goes on thinner and sets up firmer than any other. Properly tempered it has a delightful “snap” and glossy sheen.
Is that all there is to couverture chocolate? No not quite. I should add that couverture tends to be made with very high quality cocoa solids, solids which are generally ground to a finer consistency than those that go in to normal eating chocolates. So it’s finer in just about all senses of the word. No wonder so many people just like to eat it as it is.