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Andrew Shotts Class at Notter School

Confections

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#1 readingrilke

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:13 PM

Hi Everyone,

Just by way of introduction, my name is Jaycel and I have been reading the threads of egullet for a couple of years with great interest. I graduated last year from the French Culinary Institute, interned at Ron Ben Israel Cakes, and have taken a few classes at the Notter School of Pastry Arts in Orlando. I am hoping to open my own chocolate/ice cream boutique where I live at the end of the year and hopefully I can put up a thread similar to Mel's Bakery, which I have to say was my favorite thread thus far.

But, like the title says, I did attend the Andrew Shotts class at Notter a week ago and would like to share with everyone my personal thoughts (and if someone would please tell me how to post pictures) show pictures of the products that were made during the three days. I really would like to just list what was done, some interesting tidbits (not all, since I think people should take his class), and then my overall impressions.

The class was made up of about 18 people, who were mostly professionals working in the industry, which I thought was really great. I have attended classes at Notter where sometimes there are alot of hobbyists or amateurs (I don't mean 'amateur' in a bad way, just people who work in other industries other than the food industry) and there gets to be an empathsis on the basics, which is great, but when you are in the room with a Shotts, Wybauw, or a Notter, you really want to skip to the good stuff!

The products that were produced were:

Bonbons: Raspberry Jelly and ganache (dual layered); Lime; Pistachio; Salted Caramel; tea; Pecan Cinnamon; Vanilla-Honey; French Roast; Sur de Lago; Three Brothers; Exotic Truffle; Peanut butter crunch; Belle-Orange Cognac; Praline; Passionate Hearts; and Kentucky (whiskey).

Dry Chocolate Goods: Grignotine, Rocher Noisette, Nougat bar, chocolate bar, and caramel chocolate popcorn.

The class was set up so that all the students would mis en place the ingredients and then Chef would demonstrate each recipe. Students actually didn't make the ganaches, chef made the ganaches while the students watched and took notes. Some people might not like this idea or way of doing things, but I was actually really pleased with it. I took the Wybauw class last year, and we broke up into teams and were given a recipe to do. But the problem with that was that you didn't get to see the techniques that were used in the recipes of the people across the room, so much. Here, you got to see the whole process and have Chef explain each step as he did them, which I really liked. I know how to make a ganache, but how do you incorporate things like extra cocoa butter or to make the dual layered bonbons that he is well known for, which we were shown, using a few examples. I won't explain how to do it here, but all you really have to do is think about it to figure it out, it's not the hardest thing in the world to execute actually, and it opens up a whole world of flavor combinations and textures. Very exciting!

(I think you can get the technique from his book, anyhow.)

The recipes that we were given were the actual recipes used in his shop, just reduced by volume, since I think he makes extremely large batches. He included lots of info on techniques, sources for equipment, packaging, ingredients, business advice, and words of wisdom.

For instance, EVERYONE FREEZES! Chef stated flat out, if an artisan chocolatier says they don't freeze their finished product, then they are probably lying or don't know what they are doing. I plan on opening my own shop at the end of the year and this was a sensitive issue, since I want to do 'artisan' products and was concerned that I would be violating that spirit by freezing my products. The only person that I know of that, I think, doesn't freeze is Kee's Chocolates in NYC, but she does low volumes and pretty much sells out by the end of the day anyhow.

One technique that I think some people here might find useful is the production flow/schedule that Chef uses:

Day 1: Make Ganaches
Day 2: Cut Ganaches
Day 3: Enrobe Ganaches
Day 4: Package

When you cut the ganaches on Day 2, seperate them out, so that the moisture in the ganache evaporates all around, rather than just from the top. Plus letting them sit out overnight, allows you to keep really crisp and sharp edges when you enrobe, so the chocolate doesn't dull the edges. If your bonbons develop cracks in them after a few days, then it's from moisture, let it evaporate. Even with your molded products, pipe the centers and then let them sit overnight, before covering.

I would really recommend his class to anyone that is interested in pursuing chocolates. He guy really knows his stuff and had alot to offer everyone. For me, I took away alot of things that I hope to make appliciable in my own store.

The only downsides were the size of the class, perhaps a little smaller would have been nice. And in the notebook handed out with the recipes, to have had a written process of the dual layered bonbons procedure. It's commonsensical, but I think that was the only thing missing. Perhaps including some words on scaling up and scaling down recipes, which I am sure is covered in other places, but to have seen his own method.

One last thing, even though I say that the class a bit a large, everyone in it was really nice and friendly and a great source of information and contacts. It felt like alot of us were trying to open our own stores and had been doing alot of research, and everyone was willing to share what they had found out during their quests, which was fantastic!

Good Luck Everybody!

#2 jcho

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Posted 25 January 2007 - 08:54 PM

Hi readingrilke,
That was very informative. I'd been thinking about trying to get into a Schotts class wherever/whenever I find one, and you've convinced me. Thanks for sharing the info.
Jennifer

#3 Desiderio

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 01:16 AM

Hi Jaycel and welcome on egullet.
Actually Andrew Shotts is present on this forum form time to time.We were discussing his book and he was soo kind to interviene ( sp ?) .I found the fact that on this forum you can talk directly with the authors of the books you are reading ,very very unique and amazing.
Well I am waiting to see some pictures as well.We have few thread on classes with Wybauw , I think the most recent one is the one David J. (?)posted .
About the double layered ganache etc, you will find on this forum some interesting thing as well .We experiment a lot and try new things that we usually share.I think the level of skills here is quite high ,since we have several professional sharing the forum as well.

Good to have you on board :smile:

Edited by Desiderio, 26 January 2007 - 01:18 AM.

Vanessa

#4 alanamoana

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 01:24 AM

here is a link to a thread which discusses how to post photos:

clicky

if you still have questions, you can probably pm the forum manager PamR. because you are a new member, you might have a smaller imageGullet memory bank so talk to her about it.

we really appreciate your post and hope that we see more like them. sometimes taking classes is so cost prohibitive that this is a great way to share some of that information. so, thanks again.

best,
alana

#5 duckduck

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 03:06 PM

Very cool. Thanks for sharing, Jaycel! I'm looking forward to those photos. And that answers my question I had on why I need to let things dry overnight. Thanks!
Pamela Wilkinson
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#6 Anna N

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 03:14 PM

Jaycel,

Thanks for posting this interesting report.

I am curious about the freezing part - are you talking about truffles and dipped chocolates or are you also talking about molded and decorated chocolates? I understood that molded chocolates do not fare very well if frozen. I would love to learn that I am wrong! Freezing could solve a lot of problems of over production!
Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

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#7 bripastryguy

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 03:55 PM

Welcome Jaycel

I ahve had the oppurtunity to talk with Andrew a few times. He is a very knowledgable and giving chef. If anyone can a class from him, do it!

Jaycel, if you're in the city...come out to Long Island and say hi. Love to meet eg people in person
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#8 readingrilke

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:34 PM

His pretty nice chocolate box that comes with an insert tray and a nice card explaining about Garrisson chocolates, shelf life, etc.
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Pistachio bonbons right out of the enrobing machine.
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Chocolate bars, likes the packaging, actually.
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Enrobing the Raspberry Pate de Fruit and Raspberry Ganache, dual layer.
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Raspberry Pate de Fruit and Raspberry Ganache, dual layer.
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Chocolate Buffet.
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Chocolate Buffet 2.
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Class Photo.
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Chef Schotts and Chef Notter.
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#9 K8memphis

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Posted 26 January 2007 - 07:40 PM

Great photos! Thanks for all this.
Umm, are you taking the class photo? Or which one are you??

#10 duckduck

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Posted 27 January 2007 - 11:57 AM

I'm going to have dreams tonight about those chocolate buffet pictures! :laugh: :wub: Thanks for sharing them! Looks like a good time was had by all.
Pamela Wilkinson
www.portlandfood.org
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeños."

#11 sote23

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Posted 28 January 2007 - 01:26 PM

His pretty nice chocolate box that comes with an insert tray and a nice card explaining about Garrisson chocolates, shelf life, etc.
Posted Image

Pistachio bonbons right out of the enrobing machine.
Posted Image

Chocolate bars, likes the packaging, actually.
Posted Image

Enrobing the Raspberry Pate de Fruit and Raspberry Ganache, dual layer.
Posted Image

Raspberry Pate de Fruit and Raspberry Ganache, dual layer.
Posted Image

Chocolate Buffet.
Posted Image

Chocolate Buffet 2.
Posted Image

Class Photo.
Posted Image

Chef Schotts and Chef Notter.
Posted Image

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aww, that is such a bad picture of me.

Luis

#12 Stephanie Wallace

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Posted 30 January 2007 - 08:57 PM

but how do you incorporate things like extra cocoa butter...

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So, how do we properly incorporate cocoa butter into our ganache?

Formerly known as "Melange"


#13 Truffle Guy

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 06:42 AM

I was in this class and just want to encourage anyone interested in learning more about artisan bon bons and confections to attend. I was probably the only novice in the class which was a bit daunting the first day but chef and the people in class couldn't have been nicer. While we learned some great techniques and recipes I found great value in chef's sharing of his experiences and the coordination of craft/business. The other members of the class were also excellent sources for ideas and encouragement, we have a group keeping in touch and sharing info even beyond the 3 days in class.

I came away with some new perspectives that I think will help me as I continue my journey to my own business. One thing that became very obvious quickly was that molded pieces, while very attractive and what I really enjoy doing present real challenges for consistent production. I still love doing them (I've got 12 molds at home already painted using some of the new techinques) but I found a new appreciation for the enrobed pieces. Below are some insights I walked away with when it comes to enrobed pieces versus molded ones.

1. Efficiency of Production - This isn't even close. The time it takes to shine, paint, fill and close molds pales in comparison to how many pieces can be done by using a guitar cutter for enrobed pieces. Speed isn't everything but if you are serious about a business and need to scale up to large quantities of production, a dependency on all painted molds will be very cost challenging.

2. Consistency of Quality - Something I had not really considered previously and it may just be my opinion. But, I think with molded pieces you may get less consistency than with enrobed ones. My reasoning is that each molded piece has exactly the same thickness and you can allow it to "dry" on more surface area. Molded pieces are subject to variables such as the mold shape/depth. This may be a small consideration but a ganache put in a very deep mold probably has a different taste/consistency than the same ganache used in a wider/more shallow mold. The temperature of the mold may also be a factor as you are essentially "enrobing" the piece first then sealing it. When you enrobe a cut piece, the chocolate comes after the ganache rather than before. Again, not sure if that is a huge factor but it is certainly a variable.

3. Risk Factor - Molded pieces carry a much higher "risk" factor. There are more variables involved (shape of mold, state of mold, temperature of mold, colored cocoa butter factors etc.) and each variable means more opportunity for failure. In many cases, I don't know until I turn out a mold if there was a problem and it is costly in both time and money when chocolates "stick" or the colored cocoa butter doesn't release properly etc. When working with enrobed pieces, usually you know if there is a problem when the ganache sets (or doesn't) and in some cases you can actually salvage the ganache....something you can't do with a molded piece. Also, if you are using an enrober to do the actual enrobing (rather than by hand), I think you also limit problems because the technology is more efficient than doing it by hand. If you have a problem, it normally is on the first run and you can make adjustments.

4. Attractiveness - I still believe a well done molded piece is the most attractive artisan chocolate, it has a shine like glass and the sharp detail/lines of the mold. That being said, an enrobed piece can have a very visually appealing presentation as well. Transfer sheets allow for a very unique presentation that many consumers feel is "handmade" anyway. Also, there is an ability to add a 3-dimensional look to enrobed pieces. You can use texture sheets for unusual patterns as well as ingredients as toppings. This is an area where I will continue to feel molds offer more but you have to weigh the cost to produce. Most artisan chocolatiers don't charge more for molded pieces and yet the cost/profit margin has to be lower if you are doing any artistic work on them.

5. Shelf Life - I'm not sure about this one but it seems that since enrobed pieces typically are more firm, they should have a longer shelf life. They typically have less water and this should make a difference. I've never seen anything on this and would love feedback but it seems logical. The only possible drawback is that an enrobed piece is subject to more exposure to air as it "drys" and this might hasten deteriation. The seal for a molded piece comes much more quickly and less surface is exposed so it may have a greater shelf life. Also, I think a molded piece probably has a better seal overall as you can easily apply chocolate to areas that have holes whereas an enrobed piece typically has a transfer sheet applied as it comes out of the enrober and you might not detect imperfections until you are boxing.


Again, I can't stress enough the value of attending this class for anyone serious about taking their chocolatiering to the next level. There is so much subtle knowledge shared that makes a strong impact, you walk away with so much info from chef, it amazes you that you were making your job so hard previously. An example is the whole process he uses for pouring ganache, layering it to a precise height and using tools that don't cost hundreds of dollars.

Good luck and I can't wait for the next class. Bill








Ok, I just got off the phone with Notter School and they are scheduling me to come back. I will be back in Orlando May 22,23, and 24. This class will be the same one I just taught, Artisan Bon Bons and Confections. Then October 4,5, and 6 I will be teaching Artisan Bon Bons II, more advanced techniques.
Andrew Shotts.

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#14 Desiderio

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:16 AM

Truffle guy, thank you for you feedback.
It was very interesting and informative ,see what people got form the class will help the rest of us to have a clearer picture of what to look for.
Since the costs ( more for the trip and the staying , than the class )can be a little bit challengin for some of us, its nice to know that they are well worth it ( I didnt have any doubt anyway ).
I would love to attend one of Chef Shotts class , maybe I can make it by October .
It was interesting to read your observation on the different aspect of the process.
I have been notice lateley, since my production increased in number quite a bit, that enrobed pieaces compare to the molded ones ,are ,like you said , easier to produce with some kind of consistency and you can definately see if something went wrong right away.I have also noticed that molding it might give me little bit more stress than enrobing , because again like you said , you wont know till you unmolded , if a piece came the way you wanted or not.
I do too feel that enrobed pieaces , with the help of decoration and transfer/textured sheets , are very attractive not less than a molded one.When my sister brought me back some chocolates from L'Artisan du CHocolat in London , I was surprise to see that the selection was all enrobed ( little size rectangular ) , each of the piece was decorated with transfer sheets or a little decoration made in chocolate, that you could recognize in the pamplet to see the flavors etc.I was impress with the simplicty beauty of these pieces and the dimension was bite size not thicker than 1/4 " very nice.
Anyways, hows your business going, we still waiting on your report and maybe some pictures :biggrin:
Good luck and thank you for the nice report.
Vanessa

#15 tammylc

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Posted 31 January 2007 - 10:23 AM

Thanks Truffle Guy, for that very interesting analysis on the different methods. As I move out of my home and into a commercial kitchen - and hopefully increase my volume - these considerations will become really key for me. So I really appreciate your thoughtful comments on the merits of enrobed vs molded etc. For me, without a guitar cutter or enrobing machine, adding some molded pieces seems to be the best next step for me to ease some of my production challenges. Although as you say - it does introduce new ones, and if I get to the point where I need to do much higher production numbers, the time spent polishing and decorating molds will overcome some of my other time savings!

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#16 ejw50

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 06:03 PM

For instance, EVERYONE FREEZES! Chef stated flat out, if an artisan chocolatier says t
Good Luck Everybody!

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Thanks for the report! One question about freezing. Did he mention how he does it? Do you know if he stores them in regular chocolate boxes? Vacuum sealed?

#17 readingrilke

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 09:19 PM




For instance, EVERYONE FREEZES! Chef stated flat out, if an artisan chocolatier says t
Good Luck Everybody!

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Thanks for the report! One question about freezing. Did he mention how he does it? Do you know if he stores them in regular chocolate boxes? Vacuum sealed?

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As I remembered it, Chef puts the finished chocolates in air tight containers, vacuum seals them with a vacuum machine, and then puts them in the freezer.

You don't need a vacuum machine, which is expensive, but it's nice. Plus when you want to unfreeze them, take them from the freezer into the frig. to prevent condensation.

#18 ibjack

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 01:50 AM

With the increasing demand for home and smaller shops to have guitar cutters and enrobing machines to do production chocolates, is there a chance that an exsisiting company or even a new company will come along with a scaled down version of each? Realistically would any of us spend the $$$ to get one if available? I still think that molded chocolates will be the choice for smaller operations until less exspensive units come along. Has anyone made and enrober type set up for personal use?

#19 alanamoana

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Posted 03 February 2007 - 11:08 AM

With the increasing demand for home and smaller shops to have guitar cutters and enrobing machines to do production chocolates, is there a chance that an exsisiting company or even a new company will come along with a scaled down version of each?  Realistically would any of us spend the $$$ to get one if available?  I still think that molded chocolates will be the choice for smaller operations until less exspensive units come along.  Has anyone made and enrober type set up for personal use?

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there is a thread started here in baking and pastry by "davidj" about the process he is going through to build his own. very interesting and informative.

edited to add: link

there is also discussion on this in various chocolate threads. you'll just have to search around and find other threads that involve discussion of chocolate making.

Edited by alanamoana, 03 February 2007 - 11:10 AM.


#20 Truffle Guy

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Posted 10 February 2008 - 06:12 PM

I don't get to spend much time on egullet any more but came across this post and I don't think I've shared much about my experience running the business....probably because I think it runs me most of the time. We didn't start production until last October and it has only really been the last few months (since Christmas) that we are in a semblance of full production. I'm currently in a few Dean & Deluca locations and have some other wholesale accounts. For a new company we were really busy at Christmas getting a couple large corporate orders shipped the same week was quite the challenge (169 20-piece boxes then 170 24-piece boxes in the same week. I have someone working for me now as well as an intern and will be interviewing another intern/employee this week.

It has been a challenge in deciding the focus of the business. We want to continue to grow the wholesale/corporate side and have done so with some local restaurants, hotels and specialty stores while also increasing our retail exposure. We ran our first newspaper ad this week and will be a vendor at a large wedding show next weekend. I've been very pleasantly surprised by my retail customers. It still shocks me when someone spends over $500 on gifts for friends/family when the gift is chocolate but we have a handful of these customers already.

One lesson I've learned is that you are the product. It really isn't the look or taste that brings people back and makes them give you strong word of mouth. Obviously that is a big component but I've had so many people say it was my enthusiasm and excitement about what I do that brings them back. It also "takes money to make money" as a friend told me. I'm never shy the first time a customer comes in with my time or product. There are many samples and I give them as much time as I can. I "test" new products on my customers all the time which gives me valuable feedback and also builds demand.

I'm still very much a student and have a LONG way to go before I feel comfortable calling myself a "chocolatier" in the company of those who have built their reputations. I do believe I will get there as I still love to come in and work every day and constantly look to learn from anyone I can (Thanks Cheri, Jaycel and Chris for your helpj). They are egulleters who have visited and I learned much from them.


Below are some pictures of the chocolates (If I can remember how to do this).



Lemongrass/Coconut
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Pumpkin
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Rose Marzipan

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Cabernet

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Peanut Butter

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Cherry Blossom

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Key Lime
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Rosewater Caramel
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Grapefruit/Tarragon Caramel
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Anyways, hows your business going, we still waiting on your report and maybe some pictures  :biggrin:
Good luck and thank you for the nice report.

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Edited by Truffle Guy, 10 February 2008 - 09:09 PM.


#21 confiseur

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 02:37 AM

....great report and lovely picture...well done indeed!

....however!...the following comment raises eyebrows...

'For instance, EVERYONE FREEZES! Chef stated flat out, if an artisan chocolatier says they don't freeze their finished product, then they are probably lying or don't know what they are doing. I plan on opening my own shop at the end of the year and this was a sensitive issue, since I want to do 'artisan' products and was concerned that I would be violating that spirit by freezing my products.'

...this is an incredibly broad-brush statement and one I cannot agree with....I know many artisan chocolatiers who do not freeze their products..these businesses are run by highly skilled craftsmen who have succesfull/profitable businesses.

#22 readingrilke

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Posted 12 February 2008 - 07:56 PM

Okay....it's a broad brushed statement...fair enough.

Congrats Bill! I am still amazed that a year later after taking this class we are both starting our stores, crossing paths, giving each other advice, and sharing stories....it's pretty stressful and amazing with all the twists and turns.

I can't wait to see your shop on Monday and training to launch another line of confections at Notter's!

#23 ejw50

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Posted 13 February 2008 - 08:45 PM

Beautiful work truffle guy.

If you don't mind, can you share your coloring technique on those chocolates? For example, some of them have two or three colors. Me, having only two hands (one for airbrush, one for mold) not sure how to block off 1/2 of the mold. Mind are strictly one (or two) color airbrush or else swirl with brush + luster dust (similar to your peanut butter).

#24 David J.

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 03:20 PM

I'm interested in how you achieved the look for the Key Lime truffle.  It looks like a dribble and splash of orange colored cocoa butter.  If so, the what keeps the splash from being too thick (or was it)?  And what is the cause of the dark outline around the orange?  Is that a buildup of the sprayed green caught up against a thicker part of the orange?

Edited by David J., 15 February 2008 - 03:31 PM.






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