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REPORT: 2012 Candy and Confection Conference

Confections Report

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134 replies to this topic

#31 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:55 PM

Meanwhile, in the other room (yes, they let us make gigantic messes in not just one, but two of their kitchens), Kerry Beal did a basic tempering demo/workshop covering the major methods that you will come across for tempering chocolate (perfect for newbies, I might add!)

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Of course, once they had a vat of tempered chocolate, they had to do something with it:

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#32 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:04 PM

And at yet another station, Rob continued with showpiece work, including making some chocolate flowers, and carving the lyre:

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And Joe showed us how to make modeling chocolate roses:

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Some specimens:

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#33 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:15 PM

I was unfortunately unable to be in more than two places at once with the camera, so I know I missed a bunch of other demos, workshops, and just general cooking events going on (plus of course I did some cooking of my own): hopefully others will fill in the missing pieces while I skip to our St. Patrick's day-themed dinner...

Scallion and leek mashed potatoes (Robuchon method):
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Smoked Wagyu corned beef with cabbage and carrots:
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Potato-leek crusted salmon:
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Chocolate crème bar with pistachio anglaise:
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The group:
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#34 Viktoria

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:23 PM

Ok, I don't want to duplicate people's photos, plus I'm not very good at photography, so consider mine "action shots"!

I missed the fun on Friday, but got there bright and early on Saturday. Everyone was saying Hi and getting ready.

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Others have posted pics of Joe and his demo. I just wanted to post one to show how cleanly he was able to cap his molds! no chocolate down the sides, no mess, nothing!!

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Rob also showed us how to do piped flower petals. Some of us did quite well (not me :sad: )

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After Rob's demo one of the chefs at the school demonstrated making a hazelnut feuilletine torte. She was in and out all day as well, peeking at what we were doing, and helping.

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Meanwhile, Steve made some mint fondants, and then dipped them with a setup I thought was particularly clever. In case you're wondering, the technical term for the method used to remove the excess chocolate, according to Erica, is "bouncy bouncy scrape"

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Edited to insert better pictures

Edited by Viktoria, 19 March 2012 - 05:30 PM.


#35 Viktoria

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:42 PM

So some people picked one thing or other, but I ended up bouncing back and forth between everything, since it was all so interesting.

At some point, Ruth began showing Sarah and others how to make a cream fondant.

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Then we made about 4 different flavors, rolled them and let them sit

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On the other side of the room people were making flowers out of modeling chocolate (which is chocolate and corn syrup, I believe) which Joe made for us to play with. Joe had one method, which involved pressing small balls of chocolate between parchment paper and flattening into petal shape with an offset spatula.

Patti had a different technique, in which she used the end of a dipping fork to push an oval of chocolate into shape.

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Her roses were lovely (as were everyone else's). I took lots of photos while she was doing it. I am sure I was really annoying! :laugh:

Then it was time for dinner! Chris already posted photos. All I can say was that the corned beef and potatoes were especially amazing (I would never have said I loved corned beef before this). Most people at our table had seconds of the potatoes, and would have had more if we could have fit it in!

#36 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:49 PM

Sunday was a pure production day: there were a number of impromptu demos along the way, plus a whole ton of chocolate-making. Here are some highlights:

Making tulips on balloons:
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Decorating a chocolate shoe:
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There's hand dipped, and then there is hand dipped:
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Teamwork:
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Assembling the showpiece:
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Piping strings for the lyre: Rob developed a technique for piping them into grooves laid down into a bed of sugar so they ended up straight, and with a neat sugar coating
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Donna flocking a bunny:
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More showpiece teamwork (lots of people had their hands in this piece):
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Dipping:
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Rob demonstrating molding technique to a few people from the school:
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#37 Sebastian

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:51 PM

Fun!

#38 Viktoria

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:56 PM

On the next day people just jumped right in. Someone had the brilliant idea of having Ruth sign our copies of her cookbook!

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Steve did his airbrushing and decorating demo.

This is Steve's dehydrator setup.
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I've always admired the splatter patterns
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The finished mold ready for filling
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Keri took over the 2nd kitchen and began her demos. When I caught up they were making pate de fruit. I believe it started out port with a base of pear puree. But there wasn't quite enough of the port, so we found some more booze! Something with hibiscus and some tasty warm spices.

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In the other room Ruth was showing how to make tulip bowls and such.

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#39 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:59 PM

And finally, we come to the show table at the end. Every year it seems to get more elaborate: having a showpiece this year was awesome.

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Once it's all been laid out, we admire it for a few seconds, and then tear in:
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It looks like Bob's relieved it's over:
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A couple examples of the booty people went home with:

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#40 Viktoria

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:12 PM

Haha. This has got to be confusing with so many photos going up!

Chris posted a photo of the hand dipping with hands of all things. That was kind of fun. Ruth has some great stories!

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Not long after lunch there was a mad scramble to finish filling all of the shells, capping them, plating them etc.

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Then clean up began.

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Chris posted some awesome photos of the lovely finished chocolates. I won't duplicate, but here is a closeup of the bonbons on the showpiece

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Several of the students and staff hung around to look at the chocolates and took pictures. Here's a shot of the Dean of the school taste testing and chatting. He said later that while they were expecting people who were passionate, they didn't expect the level of expertise they saw.

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#41 Chris Hennes

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

Oh, and I took a really crummy thumb-occluded cell phone video of Rob moving the showpiece, so we can pretend we're watching Food Network Challenge:


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#42 Viktoria

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:20 PM

Finally, here's what's left of my take home stash after my children got done with it.

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That's Han Solo in carbonate from Star Wars, for the geek-crowd. I made it for my husband as a thank you for taking care of the kiddies and letting me play chocolate!

For those of you who were at the conference, this is the mold I have (works for ice or chocolate) I think you can also find it on amazon.

http://www.thinkgeek...hen/e845/?srp=4

I can't thank Bob and everyone else for such an amazing time. I can't wait till next year. It was so wonderful to meet you all in person. :wub:

#43 heidih

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:33 PM

Posting these for Chocolot:
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#44 heidih

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:36 PM

And more from Chocolot:
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#45 Beth Wilson

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:16 PM

Wow, Wow, Wow!

It has been a while since I worked with chocolate and your photos made me want to get out the tools and start up a batch or two.

What a lovely display of your class results, they get better and better every year! Thanks for sharing!

#46 Chocolot

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:20 PM

I am finally able to post.
Kerry

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Kerry and Bob

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Bob Kerry and Ruth

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BBQ joint

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Steve making chocolate granite

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Mette piping shamrocks
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Meet and Greet
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Rob working on sculpture

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Joe's cool frame thing-he just adds more sheets to make it taller

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Edited by Chocolot, 19 March 2012 - 07:21 PM.

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#47 curls

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:58 PM

Bob, thank you so much for organizing this event. You did a fabulous job and I had a great time. So much fun to play in a kitchen full of such knowledgeable and enthusiastic people. It was great to see so many new faces this year and to catch up with those from previous events. Every day I learned a few new things!

I thought that I had many more pictures from our Friday event but it appears that I only took photos at Artisan Confections. Hopefully Kerry, Ruth, and Mette will be able to fill in the blanks. In chronological order, Friday included visits to Albert Uster, Poste, Cowgirl Creamery, Co Co Sala, Ace Beverage, and Artisan Confections.

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#48 gap

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:46 PM

Looks like everyone had a great time. The various areas of making chocolates you all seem to cover each year just grows and grows!!

#49 Matthew Hayday

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:09 AM

Thanks for posting all of these fabulous pictures! It looks like it was a great success, and I'm sorry that we had to miss it this year (those darned students insisting that I teach instead...)

So, Niagara 2013??

#50 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:59 AM

Thanks for posting all of these fabulous pictures! It looks like it was a great success, and I'm sorry that we had to miss it this year (those darned students insisting that I teach instead...)

So, Niagara 2013??

Yup!

#51 Darienne

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:05 AM

I'm just blown away by the conference, the folks, the workshops, the production...it's wonderful.

(And I wish that Rob would come back to eG. He is still missed by me.)
Darienne


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Cheers & Chocolates

#52 lebowits

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:18 AM

At this point we split up and the more hands-on stuff began. I'll begin with Steve's work on the Mint Patties. These are basically fondant, mint, and invertase, enrobed in dark chocolate. Absolutely fantastic mint flavor. Steve heated the concoction up to 160°F (I think that was the temp, right Steve?):


Then into a double-pastry-bag for piping into circle forms:


However, since Steve has "pastry hands" and that bag was hot, the job got handed off to Rob (who has "grill hands") to finish while the rest of us critiqued his form:


These set up for a few hours:


And then get dipped the same day, before the invertase has a chance to liquify them too much to handle:




You are absolutely correct. Heat the fondant to 160F. If it's not fluid enough to pipe, add just enough liquid (water or spirits if the mood suits). Too much liquid will prevent the fondants from hardening again. I'd give you a rule of thumb on quantity, but it really depends on the fondant. The commercial fondant I used previously always needed liquid. The fondant I made and used during the demo needed no liquid at all.
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#53 Fran

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 07:39 AM

Just want to chime in about our experience at the conference... Kathy and I showed up with no equipment, and no expertise. It was fabulous! This could not have been a nicer, more helpful bunch of folks, and I was blown away by the level of knowledge in the group.

We did a lot of observing, and (borderline obsessive) note-taking. (Okay, *I* did a lot of note-taking). We learned a lot about about a lot of different things, though as I've been reading through previous posts and looking at pictures, I'm realizing what we missed! I did actually get my hands on some things, did some dipping, some rose-making, some air-brushing...

We got home inspired, eager to practice and learn, with a thousand ideas about what to do and a desire to spend money on equipment ;-)

Sure hope we are able to come to next year's conference, with something to bring besides a couple bottles of booze. Note to self: bring a camera and know how to use it!

Thank you, Bob, for all your hard work putting everything together. And thanks to everyone for your demos, enthusiasm, willingness to share your knowledge, and encouragement.

#54 tikidoc

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 08:49 AM

I'm just blown away by the conference, the folks, the workshops, the production...it's wonderful.

(And I wish that Rob would come back to eG. He is still missed by me.)


I second both parts of this.

I was not on eGullet when Rob was here, but had a blast getting to know him and learning from him over the weekend. Rob, I know you are reading this. Come back!!!

#55 psantucc

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:49 AM


Shelby, I am a relative newbie (I've made some chocolates and candies before but nothing like what we were doing there) and I learned a ton and feel like I can recreate many of the things we did there (probably not the showpiece though :smile: ). I brought a friend with me (Heather, see Ruth's post above) who has never made chocolates and rarely even cooks (but appreciates good food). She made some really beautiful chocolates, learned a lot, and had a fantastic time, and is interested in going again next year. She told me that I may have to back her up because her boyfriend was not going to believe that she actually made those gorgeous chocolates! There were several people there (Kerry, Chris, Ruth, and Joe, among others) who were very generous with their time and knowledge, and led us through things step by step. So absolutely, you would fit in.

Jess


Thanks for your response, Tiki :)


I'd LOVE to attend some time...but , every year I look at the pictures and it seems SO over my head. I'm afraid I'd be the class dunce lol.

Edited to add : Plus, I don't have one of those cool cooking coats like Chris H. has, either lol


I'll second tikidoc. If you are interested at all, there is plenty to learn and no shame in not knowing. I had a bit of experience when I went and easily doubled my potential* skill in one conference; there were some novices who came with interest only and left with enviable skill. Learning tempering alone in person is worth the investment.

Hell, the Friday night party and meals alone are worth the investment!

So far as I can tell, the eGullet confectionery conference is unique. You won't be a pastry chef because you went, but you can learn things there that are only taught there and in pastry chef programs.

Next year, I'll practice what I preach.

Pat Santucci
* "potential" skill because I didn't practice what I learned until I lost a lot.
Little surprises 'round every corner, but nothing dangerous

#56 lironp

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:32 PM

We started out tasting everyones chocolates- after 3 months doing Atkins, I think I ate more than everyone! I was very impressed by the level of the chocolates, it was so much fun eating one good chocolate after the other!
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During the conference, I pretty much bounced back and forth between all the demonstrations, trying to learn as much as possible from everyone. I loved making flowers from the modeling chocolate, and will definitely continue practicing to try and get to Patty's results, and thanks Steve for the airbrush demonstration, I have finally decided to get one, and will try to practice at home.

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This is the picture of the PDF Kerry demonstrated, while cooking- Port wine with Hibiscus/Ginger/cardammon liquer- I loved the result!
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Bob pinping Guiness ganache into his cool antique mold:
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Final showpiece:
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Chocolate remains at the end of the conference:
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Bob- thanks so much for the organization! I had an amazing time, and am waiting for next year! I definitely feel more comfortable posting, now that I know everyone here.

I have more pictures I can upload to DropBox, if anyone wants them just ping me your email.

Edited by lironp, 20 March 2012 - 12:34 PM.


#57 RobertM

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 12:40 PM

While we were busy creating and learning about different confections, here is a peek at what was going on behind the scenes...

To the right of the picture are Chef Huebner and Chef Cacciola who were the two chefs we dealt with while organizing the weekend as well as the head chef's who prepared all the amazing food we had Saturday and Sunday

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Some of the students from Stratford who spent their weekend assisting and learning

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Chef Freeman demonstrated a tasty little treat and shared the formula -

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The pastry chef creating dessert on Saturday night

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#58 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 05:40 PM

Looking through the few pictures I took - lots of duplication - but I'll post what I find that are different.

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This is lunch on Sunday - a ricotta filled pasta with pesto. They brought us dessert for lunch that day too - I recall it was a rich chocolate mousse.

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Tikidoc's eggs - wonderful eggs - I used the yolks to make a lemon curd and the whites in a pistachio nougat. I brought the rest home and of course shared with AnnaN.

#59 RuthWells

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:04 PM

I am consumed with envy!!!! I must, must, must manage to attend next year. Have dates been set?

#60 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 06:05 PM

I am consumed with envy!!!! I must, must, must manage to attend next year. Have dates been set?

Not yet - should be end of April, beginning of May.





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