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Jim D.

society donor
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    Staunton, Virginia

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  1. I went through this process and searched far and wide for manufacturers that would sell small quantities of custom boxes. There is one that would make them, but (it turned out) not very well, so I would not recommend them. Later, however, I found Brimar Packaging in Ohio, which will sell 500 boxes. You will, of course, pay considerably more for that quantity, and (to torture the customer, I assume) they always provide the pricing for 1,000 boxes as well. But their work is excellent, and their website provides images of their products. They can include inserts but might require larger quantities for that. I get just my boxes from them. Thermoforming is incredibly expensive (the cost has given me a whole new appreciation for those clamshells in grocery stores that hold salad greens). As was mentioned earlier, the most costly part of that is the aluminum mold that must be made first. My recommendation for those beginning the business is to find the most beautiful stock box you can find (US Box has some very nice sets--box plus insert), but this works only if your chocolates are all approximately the same size--and a small size (about an inch, or 1.25" at the most--and their height must also be considered). Alas, in the beginning, I acquired many molds with larger cavities that have caused me great trouble and expense in finding packaging that will work.
  2. The minimum for the Delta is 3 lbs. I find it needs 900 grams (about 2 lbs.) for the thermometer to register the temp, so you need to add that to whatever amount of chocolate you are melting. According to the Chocovision website, the Revolation V tempers between 1 and 5 lbs. The company offers what it calls the "holey baffle," which is a divider inserted into the bowl that has holes in it so that the chocolate can flow more freely between the two sections; this enables all the machines (excluding the Mini Rev and Rev. 2) to hold more chocolate. I always "pre-melt" the chocolate so that when I add it to the machine, it is very close to its maximum temp and is ready to have seed added, shortening the whole process quite a bit.
  3. Just wanted to point out that gianduja can be made with any chocolate (dark, milk, or even white). And as for milk chocolate, I definitely prefer dark, but there are some milks being made that are certainly "on the dark side" (so to speak). I currently use Felchlin's Maracaibo Créole (49%) and think it's delicious. Or you can always mix some dark with the milk. I just feel there are some fillings that go better with milk chocolate.
  4. It looks as if the Rev 2 is being phased out and replaced with the 2B (the Chocovision website lists the first as being out of stock). You can always call or email them; their customer service is good. If you are reasonably certain that you will never have chocolate needs beyond what the Rev 2 machine can do, then it's a good starting point. Its main drawback is that it is quite noisy; in addition, its small bowl size eliminates the possibility of emptying molds into it in order to make shells, and it is not programmable to the degree that the larger machines are. I have one as well as a Delta, and I still use the Rev 2 for dipping centers--for this purpose the bowl is the perfect size and keeps the chocolate at the working temp quite well. If, however, you can imagine that you will be making more chocolates (if you think you will really be into making chocolates, if you hope to get reasonably good at this, if you might start a business someday--I went through this myself), then I would strongly recommend that you go for one of the larger Chocovision machines. I know they are expensive in relation to the Rev 2, but better to spend more money now than to buy the smaller machine and need to upgrade in the future.
  5. I have just completed experimenting with the fan spray cap and the Grex airbrush. Insofar as my efforts went, it does not do splatter, not even close. The amount of overspray is large. I never need to wear any kind of mask when splattering with the Fuji, but I definitely should have had one for this trial. I suspect my innards are now colored "Mediterranean blue." So it would seem that the options for splattering are (1) some kind of brush, e.g., a toothbrush, (2) using a flat stick and ricocheting the cocoa butter from an airbrush onto the stick and then into the mold, (3) a regular HVLP gun with a pressure regulator (not sure this works with all HVLP paint guns, but see Rajala's touting of his in the post above), or (4) the Fuji with pressure turned down. Perhaps others know of additional methods that work and can add them to this thread.
  6. Here's an entire thread on the topic.
  7. I have the Revolation Delta, which, according to Chocovision, has the same technology as the V, so can probably help with questions.
  8. @Ciordia9, I know what I'm about to ask about is not your real concern in this thread, but I wanted to ask about the white-backed transfer sheets. I have long thought that would be a good idea because so many colors work only on white chocolate. Red always looks great in the pictures posted by the vendors, but in reality, when used with milk or dark chocolate, it becomes a muddy brownish color. In reality many of the most beautiful transfer sheets turn out to be disappointments, and the photos used to advertise them often amount to false advertising. I have never seen any white-backed transfers in the U.S. I don't know where you are located, but can you tell us where you got yours?
  9. What Kerry said was to let the molds start crystallizing at room temp (I wait until most of the cavities are showing that matte rather than shiny look), then they go into the fridge. I'm not sure exactly what you meant in the quote above, but they shouldn't go in immediately. All these ideas you have been receiving are what we all go through: We never know for sure what makes certain problems occur as there are many explanations for almost all issues; all you can do is to be as meticulous as you can with tempering and keep practicing. What reference are you using for the procedures you describe? I ask because all of them (that I know of) mention putting molds in a cooler to help with the problem of the latent heat of crystallization. I think Peter Greweling's book is generally considered the standard reference, though there are many others.
  10. I did look at the Chocolat-Chocolat site (they have prices in U.S. dollars), but it's really difficult to know whether the shipping charges and import duty are better than from Belgium, given that the prices are higher to start with (not as high as at some vendors in the U.S.). TCF Sales has good prices, but has a 5-mold minimum, and in most cases I'm just adding to the stash I already have of a few molds, so don't need 5. I also want a few magnetic molds as they really come in handy in the holiday rush, and the prices some places charge for those are outrageous (given that at Chocolate World they are only 32 euros, or about 35 USD). JB Prince has some less expensive magnetic molds, but I am sick of having to reglue the magnets into the frames.
  11. In spite of saying repeatedly that I would not buy any more molds, Christmas is approaching and I do need more (or so I am saying). For me it will be a fairly large order, and the prices at Chocolate World are very tempting. But is this really a bargain? I realize the shipping will be more expensive than in the U.S., and I assume there will be import duty to pay as well (plus the fee the credit card company tacks on for whatever). Does anyone know whether this is a case of penny wise, pound foolish?
  12. I see your mind is in the gutter--and so early in the day!
  13. That sounds like a very good idea, solves the whole issue of getting "banana burns" from the fruit cooking in the caramel.
  14. Can you provide the source of your recipe? Or if it's your own, the method you used? I ask because I have had much trouble with banana caramel: Not only does the banana cause the caramel to splatter dangerously, but the banana tends to burn before the correct temperature can be reached. And, to add insult to injury, sometimes the fat separates out, and I have to put the whole mess in the food processor. The usual remedy for a separated filling is to add some liquid, so I add dark rum, which goes beautifully with the banana but, of course, thins out the mixture even more.
  15. @Desiderio. it sounds as if you are going about this exciting yet frightening new project the right way. The decision on the part of management to purchase new equipment is also very encouraging. Good luck on the Melissa Coppel gambit--we'll see how much the new employer loves you!
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