My friend Paul and I had another chocolate making session, sampling various chocolates in different applications. We tried Callebaut Bittersweet, Jacques Torres 60%, Ghirardelli 65% (obtained by mixing 60% and 70%), and, in deference to Paul's wife, a 40% milk chocolate called Jade that I found at Fairway.
The results: Jacques Torres produced a beautiful, somewhat complex chocolate that was easy to work with. Callebaut was denser, harder to work with, but deliciously bitter (my wife's favorite); it also had the snappiest texture. Ghirardelli was not easy to work with and did not have the complexity or pungency or texture that the others provided. Neither of us likes milk chocolate, but it is easy to work with once you get over how liquid it is, and produced beautifully defined shiny molded morsels, assorted leaves in our case. Paul's wife loved it.
So, Callebaut or Jacques Torres for now, but research continues. The best we ever used was the hard-to-find and expensive Valrhona Manjari that we used last September for my birthday party at the Institute for Culinary Education. It had a complex series of earthy and spicy notes that the others don't match. We need to try that one at home.
Also, there are people who swear by Scharffen berger, so we also need to give that one a try.