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Jim D.

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Everything posted by Jim D.

  1. I have tasted Sao Palme (I think I got it from you, actually). I don't think it has quite the complexity of flavor as Maracaibo does. AUI now has a discount on 6kg boxes of Maracaibo (not, alas, on the Maracaibo Créole milk, which you also introduced me to).
  2. @Emily440, I completed the VDACS (Dept. of Agriculture) application, paid the $30 fee, and submitted the recipes. After a while an inspector came and took a look. I think much depends on your inspector. My experience has been that they see the visit as an educational opportunity more than seeing whether your kitchen measures up. You need to be familiar with the VDACS rules, especially on sanitation, before the visit. I showed the inspector a box of my chocolates. He wanted to see the ingredient list--that's a big thing, especially including the allergens (food allergies are very "in" the
  3. I too live in Virginia, though mercifully far away from the Northern Va. chaos (and expense). Are you making your product in your home kitchen now? I do that but have it inspected by the Department of Agriculture so that I can sell wholesale and online (if I wanted to) as well as retail. At some point you might want to look into the products offered by AUI (Albert Uster). They are located in Maryland, and I get delivery in one day. They are exclusive sellers of Felchlin chocolate, which both pastrygirl and I use a lot. I have never tasted a couverture better than their Maracai
  4. @teonzo, as usual you are "spot on." And some of your insights I had not thought about in any depth, such as the fact that most artisan bonbons are bought as gifts. I do try to counteract the fact that the gift-giver will not tell the recipient how to store the chocolates by including, on the enclosed list of flavors, a sentence saying basically "keep them cool and eat them within two weeks." But, as I have written previously, I have absolutely no control over what the recipient does, and there is always my sobering example of people who stretch their consumption of a box from Christmas to
  5. I agree with Kerry about Greweling's recipes. He is widely considered THE expert and his book THE bible, but his recipes are on the conservative side. I had not actually realized it, but he suggests almost no colored decorations of his chocolates. This was corroborated recently when I watched his interview with Brian of Tomric and learned that my impressions are no accident--he does not actually like the more "out there" American style of chocolatiering. I read every recipe in Fine Chocolates Gold this past summer and found some I wanted to make. Wybauw has more unusual flavor pairings (k
  6. A few things I learned in my long packaging search: Early on I decided I wanted trays to hold the chocolates rather than putting them in individual cups. Trays speed up the boxing process so much that I think of them as a necessity. But trays also carry huge restrictions: You have to find ones into which your chocolates will fit, and although there are many, many trays available (mostly sourced from Mod-pak), I was surprised at how restrictive they are. If you make small bonbons, you will be fine with what's available, but if, like me, you make larger pieces, problems ensue. Speaking fro
  7. I've had the same experience. Cooked mint is not a pleasant experience. Peter Greweling has a lemon mint recipe that calls for using fresh mint and heating it with cream. The mint is intended to be left in the finished ganache. I found that I had to use more mint than called for to get any sort of mint flavor at all, and it still is muted. This is not a bad thing when another flavor (in this case, lemon) is present, and it all ends up being delicious. If you want a stronger, truer mint flavor, then you might look at mint oil.
  8. Since you used Greweling's recipe, those of us who know his recipe have a point of reference. I found the amount of lavender he calls for insufficient and added more for my revision of his recipe. But in the case of lavender, I think the flavor of the flowers is the key, and not only does that vary from one producer to another, but it also varies over time. I bought my lavender buds from a local lavender farm (yes, there is such a thing), and I noticed the last time I made lavender ganache, their flavor was much more muted (they had a taste closer to dried grass than to what I imagine lavend
  9. I use this one from Lowe's, but anything similar will work.
  10. And I think that European (or non-American at least) cachet accounts for some of it. "Valrhona" is the word that catches people's eye, even if they don't know much about chocolate. And the Valrhona corporation long ago realized this and priced their product accordingly. I have had some Valrhona products that I thought tasted mediocre at best (Satilia being one). It would be interesting to do a blind tasting of the best of Valrhona and the best of Guittard and see what happens. Once I tried to talk Chocosphere into packaging small amounts of lots of different chocolates for this purpose, bu
  11. Yes, if it's not too much trouble, I would like the name of someone in the east.
  12. Are you referring to a company in Brooklyn?
  13. Thanks for the info on the Valrhona sale. Even though the site states that the free shipping option is not applicable to chocolate, that's still a good price, and they currently have a 30% off offer with no minimum.
  14. An amateur? From your posts, I think you may well have passed that designation long ago. I had thought you were near opening a shop. But, aside from that, your $80 for 3 kilos of Opalys is a good price--it's usually in the $90+ category at retail. But Chocosphere does offer wholesale accounts, and the Opalys price is approximately $72. The only catch is that your order must total at least $250 (excluding shipping), so that means I have to order 4 bags of Opalys at a time (unless I'm getting something else). I use Felchlin for dark and milk, which no one is allowed to sell asid
  15. I will certainly watch, but I do hope Brian lets YOU talk.
  16. @Vip89, you can definitely use the FoodSaver to seal the chocolates against humidity, but if you are making filled chocolates (bonbons), you must stop the machine before the vacuum action starts, or it will suck out the insides of the bonbon. I speak from authoritative experience! It was not a pretty picture. But this does nothing for temperature, the other thing that must be avoided with chocolate (besides humidity). With the chocolate sealed, however, you can safely put it in a refrigerator. For longer storage, you can go further and freeze it without ill effect.
  17. A supplementary idea is to purchase an impulse sealer and some plastic bags (I get the kind used for sous vide) and seal the chocolates in those to keep out humidity. I use that method for the chocolates that I sell wholesale to shops that have refrigeration available.
  18. Those are gorgeous bonbons, very interesting techniques and beautiful blending of colors. And the flavors sound very interesting.
  19. That comment about your fir tree bonbon reminded me of something I always think of when I use yuzu. I've not seen anyone mention it, so it may be just my imagination, but I think yuzu has a bit of evergreen flavor, and inevitably it comes to mind when I am planning Christmas assortments.
  20. @Muscadelle, you might want to get in contact with @gfron1, who is an accomplished forager and indeed makes his living, one might say, doing so. He has a highly rated restaurant in St. Louis named Bulrush and makes stunning chocolates besides. Perhaps you have already seen his work in this forum.
  21. @gfron1, beautiful shells and very intriguing flavors. For the elderberry, did you use elderberries or elderflowers (or elderflower liqueur)? I don't know if the berries have the same exotic flavor as the flowers do. I tried a ganache with St-Germain liqueur, but the elderflower taste got lost somewhere. I'll ask the obvious question about tonka: Where did you find it? Imported from somewhere in the dead of night? And finally, your shine, the equal of Andrey's, for sure, even down to the light from the windows reflected in the shell.
  22. Ah, you omitted that crucial detail. Chanterelles are not mere mushrooms. They are in a class of their own. Sautéed in butter, their vanilla undertone comes out. Fortunately they are foraged in the area where I now live. I can imagine the filling you are describing paired with a ganache that emphasizes that vanilla flavor. But please, no garlic. Teo isn't always right (just kidding, of course).
  23. @Muscadelle, I think I have waited long enough to ask this: It took a while to reveal that it was mushrooms you were candying. I for one was thinking of pears, apricots, peaches, ginger, etc., certainly nothing we think of as savory. What in the world do you do with candied mushrooms?
  24. @Douglas K, I am now a convert. Thanks for your explanation. I do have a moisture filter between compressor and airbrush.
  25. Did you see my recent post about a toaster oven that came on without me being anywhere near it at the time? Don't tell Hubby this, or you'll lose your water heater. I'm still trying to picture anyone telling you what to do.
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