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Report: eG Chocolate and Confectionery Conference 2010

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#1 Kerry Beal

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 07:25 PM

Just got back to the hotel after the first day of the 2010 chocolate conference. Steven Lebowitz has done a stellar job of putting together this conference for us here in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

A bit of a crisis to start the day - eG was down!!! Making it impossible to figure out where we needed to be and at what time. I remember worrying a lot last year when I was organizing it that something like that might happen - and indeed it did. Fortunately I had Steve's outside e-mail and was able to contact him and figure out where we were meeting.

So we started the morning meeting for dim sum at the New Fortune restaurant. An excellent variety of the classic dim sum offerings - there was something for everyone - one of my favourite ways to graze.

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People trickled in, more food getting added to the tables until it was time to head over to Albert Uster. There we were met by Amanda Haba - one of the corporate pastry chefs. She was assisted by another excellent pastry chef - who's name I will have to leave for others to post - as I seem to have lost track of it.

They showed us a number of different items - salted caramel macarons, nougat (made with crystallized flowers), a couple of different bon bon fillings and showed a few different decorating techniques for molded chocolates. A small showpiece flower was produced as well.

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Here is Amanda using oiled gloved hands to incorporate the inclusions into the nougat. Tip of the day - use an alcohol dipped knife to cut nougat.

After purchasing a couple of things at Albert Uster, and getting all the supplies out of Stevens car into the school for tomorrow's classes - we got a bite of dinner then met up for a little look at what everyone has been making. There was a nice selection of wines (3 ice wines and at least a couple of nice reds that I noticed) and a huge quantity of chocolates, popcorn and munchies. The popcorn that RobertM brought along was excellent - I'm going to snag myself a little more of that tomorrow!

Another hit of the evening was merlicky's caramelized white chocolate center - wonderful. The secret seems to be let it caramelize long enough. We all wimp out too soon!

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Didn't realize how small the memory on my new little camera is - so I didn't get a lot of pictures - and missed a picture of the 'care package' that Ilana (Lior) sent. The halvah was fabulous! and there were a variety of packages of various herbs and spices that I'm going to get a closer look at tomorrow (and perhaps make use of in my class). There wasn't any Ganache brand chocolates in there though!

Edited by Kerry Beal, 16 April 2010 - 07:42 PM.


#2 Darienne

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 04:28 AM

Thanks for starting this report, Kerry. It will allow some of us at least to 'pretend' we are there, sharing in it all.

Curious about RobertM's popcorn.

Edited by Darienne, 17 April 2010 - 04:29 AM.

Darienne


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Cheers & Chocolates

#3 lebowits

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:05 PM

For those in attendance, the directions from Google Maps include an INCORRECT address. According to the restaurant website, the address is "2 Preserve Parkway, Rockville, MD". Google Maps places the restaurant at 1219 Treasure Oak Court, Rockville, MD‎. I believe that the directions may get you there, but if you're following a GPS, you may want to try the "official" address.
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Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

#4 Kerry Beal

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:34 PM

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Arriving at the school this am - we were greeted by this rather kinky little diorama of Julia's kitchen in France found outside of the "Julia Child classroom" in which we would be spending the morning.

I had the pleasure of meeting Malawry (Rochelle) first thing - she is working on a story about the group for one of the papers for which she writes. What a delight - another fellow foodie friend to add to my collection!

The morning started with a demo by Dr Balu Balasubramanian on bean to bar chocolate making. He demo'd his melanger. Check out Cocoatown.com Someone else will have to post a picture - cause I wasn't able to get one.


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Steven presented a talk about "Flavour Dynamics" - covering flavouring and some shelf life issues - which we rather adroitly turned into a group discussion (sorry Steve!), after which we had lunch then broke into two groups. A group of 5 stayed with me to do some basic chocolate techniques - while the remainder of the group hit the other room to play. I can't really comment on what happened 'over there'.


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We made a really tasty ganache with the dried Persian Limes that Lior had sent.

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We tried the technique that Lior suggested to back off liquor chocolate using a piece of acetate. Fair bit of booze on the counter - but most did seal.


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And of course for dipping practice - there is nothing like Oreo's!

Edited by Kerry Beal, 17 April 2010 - 02:43 PM.


#5 pringle007

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 06:01 PM

Sorry I missed it guys. I made it 45 miles into Pennsylvania (I'm in Columbus, Ohio) when the guy in the "fast lane" decided that heavy rains meant "drive faster". He probably wishes he'd have rethought that given he hydroplaned and took out myself and two other vehicles on the highway. So, rather than heading to Maryland, I got sent back to Ohio. The Highlight? Being told by a PA county sheriff "I could have been killed - or worse" (is there something worse than death, officer?) and being told by the speedster that "Sorry your chocolate is melting. Could we try a few pieces?" Yes, sir. You just ruined my weekend, cost me hotel reservations that im positive wont be refunded, and did many dollars worth of damage to all these vehicles. But yeah, lets eat the chocolate intended for my colleagues and dance in the rain like happy little hippies.
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On a side note, I did have some cool chocs to show you guys. I have been toying with making my own transfer sheets, even using mylar in place of acetate and bunching it up to form a sort of texture/transfer sheet hybrid. I did some nice work using an airbrush on acetate that transfered well. Sadly, thanks to Mr. Fitch and his resounding logic of "I always drive that fast in the rain", I'll have to settle for posting pics of them on here.

Edited by pringle007, 17 April 2010 - 06:04 PM.

"It only hurts if it bites you" - Steve Irwin

"Whats another word for Thesaurus?" - Me

#6 Marmish

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:04 PM

Sorry I missed it guys. I made it 45 miles into Pennsylvania (I'm in Columbus, Ohio) when the guy in the "fast lane" decided that heavy rains meant "drive faster". He probably wishes he'd have rethought that given he hydroplaned and took out myself and two other vehicles on the highway. So, rather than heading to Maryland, I got sent back to Ohio. The Highlight? Being told by a PA county sheriff "I could have been killed - or worse" (is there something worse than death, officer?) and being told by the speedster that "Sorry your chocolate is melting. Could we try a few pieces?" Yes, sir. You just ruined my weekend, cost me hotel reservations that im positive wont be refunded, and did many dollars worth of damage to all these vehicles. But yeah, lets eat the chocolate intended for my colleagues and dance in the rain like happy little hippies.
41610rearother.gif
41610frontme.jpg

On a side note, I did have some cool chocs to show you guys. I have been toying with making my own transfer sheets, even using mylar in place of acetate and bunching it up to form a sort of texture/transfer sheet hybrid. I did some nice work using an airbrush on acetate that transfered well. Sadly, thanks to Mr. Fitch and his resounding logic of "I always drive that fast in the rain", I'll have to settle for posting pics of them on here.



HOLY CRAP! I'm glad you're ok! Wow.

#7 Kerry Beal

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 08:33 PM

Oh Pringle - that totally sucks!

Next year - next year will be better.

#8 ArtMills

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 09:30 PM

As I upload pics from the conference (only the first day at Albert Uster so far, they can be found here:
Day One Photos (Albert Uster)
It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied - Kahlil Gibran

art@chocolatefx.ca

#9 Lior

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 11:16 PM

Pringle!!! Thank God you are fine!! That is all that matters! What an awful thing to happen on your way there. I cannot believe how bad the car looks. Perhaps you should be checked as sometimes problems show up later. You should have smacked a chocolate into his nose! :angry: Let me know if you are fine in the coming days. I am so sorry it happened...Lousy luck but also fantastic- your guardian angel was there just when needed!

To the conference go-ers-thanks for the updates and pictures!!

#10 RobertM

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 02:54 AM

Pringle - sorry to hear about that, hoping you're ok -

#11 RobertM

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 03:15 AM

Thank you for the kind words Kerry - I'm thrilled you enjoyed it - I guess I did my grandfather "proud" considering he's the one who taught me (many, many years ago) to make caramel corn. I think I overheard someone talking about grabbing some today and doing something with it to make a truffle - this could be interesting - I'm making a batch of my caramel today - hopefully first thing before the program begins (to allow it to cool and set)-

Trying to upload pictures - here is one of Dr. Balasubramanian - From Bean to Bar -

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Courtney LeDrew from Cargill (who supplied us with a LOT of chocolate) stopped by Saturday afternoon to introduce herself and bring a few handouts -

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and one of our weekends fearless leader Steve talking about his tempering machine -

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#12 ejw50

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:33 AM

yikes really sorry to hear this pringle

#13 Darienne

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:34 AM

Question #1: In the set of photos from Art Mills, DSC08655-temperering.JPG the chocolate appears to be tempering inside plastic wrapping.

This is new to me. Is this a common practice? Why? Etc?

Thanks. (no rush obviously)
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#14 Lior

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:39 AM

Darienne Dear,
This just keeps the melter clean. It is a great tip.

#15 Lior

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 09:45 AM

Forgot to clarify that the nylon wrap is all around the plastic part, not covering the chocolate while tempering, which is in the stainless steel "bath".

#16 Darienne

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 11:24 AM

Thanks Ilana,

Not too useful for the Revolation machine... :laugh:
Darienne


learn, learn, learn...

Cheers & Chocolates

#17 psantucc

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 11:57 AM

yikes really sorry to hear this pringle

Me too. I'm from Dayton, and I know exactly the sort of driving that hit you; it's a local disease.

Here at the conference there's a general feeling that you showed admirable restraint in not assaulting that twit who had the effrontery to wreck your car and ask for a sweet.
Little surprises 'round every corner, but nothing dangerous

#18 ArtMills

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:07 PM

OK - all the photos that I am posting from the weekend are posted now right through to this afternoon.
If anyone wants higher-res copies or any of my many other photos just e-mail me at: art@chocolatefx.ca with as much detail about the photo, person, item or technique that you are looking for.

Enjoy!

2010 conference pics (3 days)
It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied - Kahlil Gibran

art@chocolatefx.ca

#19 psantucc

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:13 PM

Kerry suggested that we each post briefly one thing learned at the conference. I have rather an embarrassment of riches; I learned a hundred things at least; most of them the subtle things that make the difference between tedious partial success and consistent competent results. Things like how to hold the spatula when scraping a mold, how long chocolate remains workable, how temper can be maintained even when adding more chocolate, basic approaches to cocoa butter color and luster dust, and so many more things that I'll have to stop myself here before I become too boring.

If I have to pick one favorite thing I learned, it is that while my own work isn't nearly pro caliber, it isn't completely laughable either. I'm a better chocolatier today than I was Friday; if I get in practice time this year I might start getting good.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that this eGullet confectioner's group is a great group of people, generous with time, energy, knowledge, ingredients and alcohol. Thank you all for a truly collegial weekend, and especially Steve for brilliant organizing and Kerry and Bob for some specific mentoring.

Pat
Little surprises 'round every corner, but nothing dangerous

#20 RobertM

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:48 PM

PSANTUCC- you also learned there is another forum member who not only knows what Xtabentun is, but also loves it as much as you do... LOL - That xtabentun/mocha truffle was truly dangerous!

#21 Beth Wilson

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:53 PM

Wow! It looks like everyone but poor pringle had a great weekend. My heart goes out to you Pringle, I know how everyone was looking forward to this weekend so it sucks with your bad luck.

I am curious about the pictures Art posted. What are the yellow yolk chocolates? They are really unique and look delicious.

Thanks for sharing this great event. I hope you are planning next years! I am so there!

#22 RobertM

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 12:57 PM

I don't think I could put down just one thing I learned, because this entire group of people taught me something individually this weekend.

I must give a huge public THANK YOU to Art and Wilma for teaching me the basics to Panning - what an absolutely amazing process made understandable by two amazing people -

I continue to marvel at the techniques and knowledge of Kerry - THANK YOU for teaching me how to silk screen my own transfer sheets -

Thanks to Steve for some very interesting insights into flavor combination's and because of that one discussion, thanks to Plus One for that Pepper Truffle - that was one seriously delicious piece -

Thanks to Erica for some truly amazing insights into flavor combination's - She made me realize I've got a serious case of tunnel vision - and I need to broaden my scope - what an amazing ability to just pull fantastic stuff out of thin air

Thanks to everyone who attended, and a huge thanks to Steve for an amazing weekend -

Bob

#23 lebowits

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:00 PM

pringle007 - We were all sorry to hear of your misfortune and were very glad that you didn't get hurt. I hope our posts will help a bit and look forward to meeting you next year!
Steve Lebowitz
Doer of All Things
Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

#24 lebowits

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:06 PM

Wow! It looks like everyone but poor pringle had a great weekend. My heart goes out to you Pringle, I know how everyone was looking forward to this weekend so it sucks with your bad luck.

I am curious about the pictures Art posted. What are the yellow yolk chocolates? They are really unique and look delicious.

Thanks for sharing this great event. I hope you are planning next years! I am so there!


I believe that piece is a mango/white chocolate center that ejw50 prepared. It does have a spectacular color.
Steve Lebowitz
Doer of All Things
Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

#25 lebowits

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:10 PM

In addition to Kerry's request that we post one thing we learned, I'd like to ask that you tell us what was the product you liked most of what you made and to please post the formula and method. While I personally didn't make a product (I was too busy assisting), I was quite fond of the "Mojito" piece that beacheschef made and the "something + white pepper" piece that plusone made.

As for what I learned this weekend? I learned that not only can I organize something like this, but how much I enjoy and respect all of you. No matter what your skill level and experience, you are all amazing people with a common passion. I can't imagine spending time with a better group and look forward to next year.

P.S. I'll post a copy of the my presentation later after I can do one final scrub for spelling.

Edited by lebowits, 18 April 2010 - 04:11 PM.

Steve Lebowitz
Doer of All Things
Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

#26 susanmc

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:32 PM

What an amazing weekend! I learned so much that my head is spinning with new ideas. Thanks to Kerry, I will be tempering and molding chocolates with new confidence. Thanks to Steve for his patience guiding my hand to the proper technique to fill the molds. Thanks to everyone for sharing your wealth of knowledge to a newbie.

Thank you Steve for all of your planning. Everything was perfect!

Susan

#27 Kerry Beal

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:53 PM

I don't think I'll post the red thai curry with lychee and pineapple PDF recipe quite yet - think it needs a little tweaking first (or perhaps just binning). I'll try it again making my own paste sans garlic and see if the result is a little more acceptable.

#28 plus one

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 07:12 PM

Wow, what a fabulous weekend !!! I have met so many wonderful new friends and colleagues. The past three days have been an amazing learning experience. As requested, I am trying to pinpoint one thing I have learned .... impossible because I have learned soooo much. Brilliant idea to cover your tempering machines with cello for easy clean-up. Special thanks to Erica for showing me some great decorating and painting techniques, Bob and Steve for all your help and insight, I really need to thank all who attended because I can honestly say I learned something from each and everyone of you. The ease and comfort level in the work seminars was something I have never experienced with any other group. I feel very privileged to have been a part of this weekend. Steve, you did an amazing job of organizing and executing the conference. (also thanks for assigning my new name PLUS ONE )

#29 pringle007

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 07:46 PM

Thanks for the kind words everyone! Im okay, and my passenger is just a bit sore, but no worse for the wear. I did find it hard not to shove the whole shoebox of chocolates down the guy's throat, but I think the cops on the scene could already tell I was highly agitated and they were trying to keep us separated as much as possible. The pics are great, and the chocolates looked awesome! The red thai curry/pineapple piece sounds very interesting!

What I learned from the conference? Fly next year! :biggrin:

Edited by pringle007, 18 April 2010 - 07:47 PM.

"It only hurts if it bites you" - Steve Irwin

"Whats another word for Thesaurus?" - Me

#30 ArtMills

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 08:05 PM

Thanks to everyone - especially Steve & Kerry! I came away with more thoughts and great ideas than I can ever act upon - but even if I can filter out and make some progress with just the top 5% of them it wil have been more than worthwhile for business. It was already worthwhile personally - meeting the new attendees and reconnecting with the repeaters.

The one best thing for me was Caramel Balls dipped and rolled in nut or other coating. Some recipe experimentation and shelf-life analysis awaits me. We'll bring the final product to next year's event.

It'll be nice to head home - but it has been very relaxing to "disconnect" from our busy routine. Today, we decompressed afterwards with a short nap and and then took a meandering drive towards DC down the Clara Barton Pkwy. We strolled the banks of the Potomac and drove down embassy row. For dinner we lucked out by being hungry and observant at the same time - we happend across what must be a DC favorite - Fantastic Tex-Mex at Cactus Cantina on Wisconsin Ave. We'll be back there again for sure next time we're down this way.

Sweet Dreams everyone!
It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied - Kahlil Gibran

art@chocolatefx.ca





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