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Everything posted by Desiderio

  1. I wanted to add my experience on how I work in a really hot kitchen. The commercial kitchen I rent is very hot and very large in size, 2500 square feet. The actual owners don't have the AC on because it doesn't make sense in a bakery, it would never get cooler with all those ovens on, plus they don't want spend the money for it. So other than the fact that at least isn't humid here, its a chocolate nightmare! My last production I couldn't finish my had cut chocolates and caramel, so I did only molded. I use their speed racks and cookie sheets with parchment paper on, I set up all my molds so I can work fast, put the molds upsidedown on the cookie sheets and run them to the walk in fridge (only the walking in that kitchen between things is a workout!!) if I have more molds, wich I usually do, I set up couple of racks, and do the second batch, then go get the first one and put in the second etc etc. Now the dipped chocolates would be a trick to do because the fridge thingy wouldn't work, so I am still working on it. By the way I kept the kitchen really clean while I am working because its better but also because cleaning the entire thing is out of the question expecially when on a timer! I stay pretty much in the same two spots, one for the ganache making, and one for the shells making, and at the end I clean those two spots. I had to work with the lights off on Sunday to minimize heat, the ventilation on and the back door open, there is a screen door, and the lowest I could get it was 79 F. I hope it will get better in the winter.
  2. I love reading this thread, it puts a smile on my face! I did find chocolate in unusual places as well, and my lap top got a white chocolate coat once! I got better with time and I am more efficient, I still get chocolate on my forearms for some reason, just a smudge here and there. I bougth a bag of those kitchen/janitorial white rags and I use those and don't care if they got stains, and can be tossed in the washer with bleach etc. My tendency to go fast and be clumsy at times, will prevent me to work 100% spot free, but that's ok I think.
  3. I had the same experience with white chocolate as well. Making one of my white filling, I changed barand and the end result wasn't as white or opaque as with the other brand.
  4. When I do my own transfer sheets I have noticed that if I don't get the chocolate little bit warmer, the paint stays on the plastic sheet. Maybe working with a slightly warmer temperature would help. Good luck.
  5. Ruth I will check it out, I am pretty sure I need a commercial kitchen, I have rearch a lot to see if I could do it at home, but in order to do it you will need a commecial kitchen in your house that has an independent entrance. We thougt about doing in the basement, my husband set a second kitchen for me to work on, we need to open a door on the side and build a stair case so they can come to inspect the kitchen without entering the private home. Also everything has to be commercial grade etc etc. The expenses would be too high and not worth for re sell purpose .
  6. I don't want start another topic, cause I am sure there are other on the subject. Anyway I was wondring about leaving your stuff in the kitchen you rent, I only have one melter (pathetic I know ) and I like to experiment at home, I don't care about paying 100 box a day for my own experimentations. I think I am going to leave some extras like bowls, spatulas, etc etc but I might bring back and forward my melter. By the way in the kitchen I am renting (its a bakery now ) there is another lady that makes chocolates LOL! And she has the same melter I have. sometimes I feel I want to go ahead and ask for a business loan and get my own place and real equipment, does anyone else feel this way? I mean when you make thousands of chocolates with one melter and couple of spatulas and no helpers whatsoever, you start to feel inadequate!! Well I got to vent, thank you
  7. Thank you ladies, I felt I over did it at the chocolate festival, but I guess I did ok then. I cut everything in small pieces, of all the production I had on display, I wasn't sure that was smart, because the crowd we got, but this time might be different, plus I need more people to know my products rigth? I hope I am not trying to chew to much for my jaws! Thank you so much for all the tips and help. I will report later.
  8. I am going to do a craft market in october, its usually very buisy expecially the fall one, so I am hoping in some more exposion for my business. However after the experience of my first show in may, I am trying to figure out whats the best way to do samples or if I should do samples at all. The thing is that the show in May was highly advertise with sample to lure people, and the crownd we got on friday was straight SCARY! The just came to ingorge everything free they could put their paws on. Talking to the other vendors on the next day, everybody told me the same, they thought was a scary, irritating crowd and unusual, (one lady told me she started to feel scared of the people pressing on her booth and wanted to smack their grabby hands with her spatula ) I felt the same . Anyway this time I know the people attending this kind of show are different, but what do I do do I do samples or not? If I do do I just sample on thing that I think rapresent best my work or make couple of ganaches to samples with little spoons ( I will keep the ganache on my side and give them the samples, because I saw at the other show a lady doing this kinda of sampling and people double dipped ). Any suggestion tip is very welcome. Thank you
  9. I saw them too at the KK, I ordered something the other day and they were there , I knew the other sites had your videos already, time to pick them up I guess
  10. I know what you mean, maybe the creaminess of the milk marry much better with the creamy chewiness of the caramel. The sea salt I make are always in dark, because thats what my affecionados prefer.
  11. I definitely agree with Stephanie. I had to change my approach with my customers as well. You need to dictate what goes and how and when, expecially when you don't have a store, like in our case. Good luck to you Llona
  12. Desiderio


    I am not sure 100%, its been a while since I have use this, I think we use it in the Pastiera filling as well, is flowery orangy flavor yes? I dont recall the use with water but again that might be a different brand.
  13. One reason to coat the caramels s also to preserve them for longer time. I think you will find that different chocolates will give you different result for the caramel as well. I use a 64% for all my coating, that as a perfect viscosity and is very versatile chocolate. If you want a softer caramel you can try to cook at lower temperature ( final temperature I mean ) couple of degree maybe, just be aware that the softer the harder to work with. The I will suggest coat the slab of caramel with chocolate ( thin layer ) then cut the squares and dip them. I wish I could experiement with different type of chocolate, but money for now are an issue so I am hoping in the future to have more business that will allow me to try a wide selection of chocolate for the different applications. By the way expecially in the beginning, working with one or max two dark chocolate, that you find versatile and easy to work with, isnt bad.
  14. I find EGuittard to be very versatile as well, I never had problems working with their line of chocolate.
  15. I must try this blend, I have tried blending Valrhona couvertures in the past with appalling results, however Caraibe and Extra bitter sounds a winner. Which percentages do you use, 50/50? I absolutely agree, Valrhona's couvertures are the most consistent of all the couvertures I have tried, and produce the most stable shine. (Apologies to the US manufactures - I have not tried most of your couvertures.) It's just I have yet to get the right balance in a Valrhona couverture for my ganache formulations, which ironically are mostly based on Valrhona chocolate. I love El Rey's white chocolate, Icoa. I believe that its superior taste is partly due to their use of non-deodorised cocoa butter. I have only enrobed with it once at a demonstration (nipples of venus for a hen party), so cannot really vouch for its performance as an enrobing couverture. However it is flavour is really superb (for a white chocolate). And its much cheaper than Ivoire! --- Lior, Amedei 9 is 75% cocoa. --- Some years ago I created a cinnamon ganache using Valrhona Caraibe (blend of Trinitario from the Caribbean Islands, 66% cocoa). My audience found it one of the weakest in my collection and it soon disappeared. When Valrhona launched Tainori (blend of Trinitario from the Dominican Republic, 64% cocoa) I made a cinnamon ganache with it. The ganache is incredibly good, with strong overtones of banana. These two chocolates are very similar: same manufacture; similar percentage of sugar; same cacao variety; and both from the Caribbean. Yet the subtle difference in the flavour of the two chocolates leads to very different flavour pairings. Tainori and cinnamon; Caraibe and Lombardy coffee. For me its all about finding infusions/inclusions that complement the chocolate. At least it is now, twenty-five years ago I produced 25g alcohol-laced truffles using Callibaut. As Lior said above, and many have echoed, the audience for "Belgium truffles" remains large. But the market direction is definitely towards greater knowledge of chocolate and cacaos, and towards an appetite for the unusual ... ... Oh, and the healthy. ← I do love El rey Icoa as well , I think is the best tasting white chocolate I have ever tasted, on the ther hand I found that its taste doesnt combine well with some of my white fillings, the taste is overpowering. I had to switch many time to find a good balance white for ganaches. I guess I havent find one yet :-P.
  16. Hi Lior, where did you buy your packaging? Thanks ← Not Lior, but I know that those are custom made for her, I have asked as well, because they are very nice, good job
  17. I only did it once to try and I have to say I was surprise by the intense chocolate flavor of the truffles, very nice, one of my customer really really enjoy them ( she was the only one that try them since she was on a stricktier diet I tryed those for her, with dark chocolate).
  18. Good point! I think you are right, because people were almost surprise that we had all the flavors available, so I had the feeling that I souldnt have sample everything . As for the ganache sampling I had one of my customer ( that now is in love with my products and try to promote them ) said that when he was at the booth were they were sampling ganaches he saw at least 3 times in a row people that double dipped and was disgusted so just moved on , that was my fear, people grabs huge scoops of ganache and also double dip ( not all of them but you know ).
  19. No, just ask for the 5 lb kraft boxes with plastic trays.
  20. there they are, I used double tray to protect the chocolates and have more room in the tray ( height wise )
  21. Do you have a link anywhere to the 5 lb boxes? i'm always contemplating storage! ← Tomric, they dont have those online, just call them or send them an email they have those in storage. I think the 500 plastic trays were 119.00 and the boxes ( bottom and bases ) were areound 36.00 each. I am gonna take a pic and post it so ypou can see how they are, I have to tell you that was more than what I wanted to spend ( this festival was expensive for me but worth it ) but I was totally happy with those.
  22. Thank you, yes I am glad, I only wish I had more time to enjoyit.I relize I havent work with customers in a long time and was little bit hard to get my skills back and feel relaxed. The mirrored boxes are display cases to show the chocolates, people really like them and had the feeling I wanted to give to my chocolates, jewel like effect.
  23. I took a variety of chocolates and caramels, about 10 different flavors total.I think I had over 2000 pc with me of the chocolates, and several ( I would say 5 lb ) squres of chocolate cover nougat and marshmallows. We run out of some flavors because I made much less of those, and apparently people is very intereted in buying a product that is almost completely gone from your inventory, we had to pull the brandy vanilla out of the case untill the last one because they figured that would have been the best ( wich I have to say it was ). We prepacked boxes of three different size, 6, 8 and 16 pc, but we also made sales of 2 piece etc in little cello bags, when we got there ( around 2 pm and the opening was at 7 pm ), we did some caramels only box as well. We did also pack on order , make your own box type and that was popular.I have bought some good 5 lb boxes with plastic trays that were absolutely a great investment, because made the transportation so easy , and also the storing thru the production.
  24. Thank you John! I absolutely agree with you.Next time I will be more prepared on the sample matter. There was one chocolatier that was sampling her ganache fillings instead of her chocolates.She had many small glass bowls and hand down little plastic spoons for the people to try.The question is will the experience be the same as if they try the entire thing put together and also, what if the double dip in the other bowls?? Anyway maybe that was a smarter idea, more practical. I didnt try many chocolates , actually only one from Olive Kita, one of the few , or maybe the only one, not local, he is from NY and had a chance to chat little bit, he made me try one that is called Opium I think, has an interesting smoked flavor but the most impressive thing was that the second bite I took was completely different from the first , totally fruity and then at the end the smoked hit me again, very very interesting. Unfortunately I am not much into chocolates at this moment because I am expecting , so funny that chocolate is my leastes favorite food right now ( can you immagine making hundreds of chocolates and feeling kinda yack! )
  25. Thank you Kerry, The displays were an idea I had then my hubby developed, but since he was gone for the entire week I was stuck with the building of all of them I would say I have 20 to 30% left ( I have some of the boxes left mostly sea salt caramel because I made lots of those! I am planning to try to sell them at work maybe and maybe going around the town to direct sell and sample to other business. We cut up the chocolates in 4 pieces ( or two if they were too small ) and served in paper cups, the second day we limited the samples to the flavors we had more of and eventually only on request get the other flavors out, you can tell if they are interested in buying or not. The nougat didnt go as well as the other because to my great surprise , americans are not too familiar with it, so I started to sample more of that later on. We sold more of the Marshmallows in small bags of six. Customers are not required to have a paypal account, the virtual terminal is like anyother credit card company, only the owner need to have an account , you pay a monthly fee of 30.00 dollars plus the fee at transaction ( standards like anyother company) but paypal allows you to accept almost all the credit cards. The process without a wireless terminal ( fro sliding the card ) is a little bit longer because you have to put their actual address along with the credi card info, I post the info needed for the credit card payment with the price list so they knew what and how. The merchaindise mart we were at had wireless internet but you have to pay by the day, I wasnt aware of that so it took me little bit to set it up, if I knew it earlier I would have been ready faster
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