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Everything posted by ChristysConfections

  1. Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I am not familiar with most of these suppliers. I love the variety of beans sold by a lot of these websites. I will definitely be ordering a fun variety of beans to try this time around. I am really grateful for all the feedback!
  2. I want to hear all about your vanilla bean experiences! I just ran out of beans and before I order my next batch, I would love to hear if you prefer one brand/grower over the competition. In the past, I have always bought bourbon vanilla beans from Neilson Massey. They are easy to come by where I live and reasonably priced (for vanilla anyway). This time, I am considering Valrhona's sister company and their Norohy beans. I have also seen that Kriss Harvey endorses Laie Vanilla company in Hawaii. I would love to try those Hawaii-grown beans, but they would cost me about $40 extra just to ship to Canada, making the substantially more pricey than the local options (Neilson and Norohy). Have you tried all or any of these? Can you detect a difference in the flavor or the quality of the beans? Are there any other options you would recommend. I would love yo hear about it! Christy
  3. I thought it was funny that I couldn’t find it as a bar. I guess that would be why, haha. These days it’s just chocolate making for fun and not for business, so I think that may be why it’s harder for me to justify. Maybe I’ll find it around sometime!
  4. Thanks for that feedback, @Rajala- I get the sense that it’s what I’m looking for in a chocolate. I thought about getting some from Chocosphere, but it looked like it was going to be expensive to ship it to Canada (maybe more so because I wanted it quickly). I’ll explore that option again.
  5. Hi Fellow Chocolate-Loving Folk, I’m wondering if anyone has experience with Valrhona’s Orizaba milk chocolate? What do you think of it and how does it compare to Jivara (my go-to) or your other favourite milk chocolates? I noticed Kriss Harvey mention that it’s his preferred chocolate for enrobing/shells because of its “plain taste.” I’m enticed by the description of it being very milk-forward in flavor. I want to make a saffron pistachio piece and like the idea of pairing it with a very milky chocolate with a less assertive chocolate flavor. It seems to be generally unpopular in my neck of the woods and my supplier doesn’t carry it so sourcing it has been a challenge (they can special order, but I don’t need that much).
  6. @Jim D. Thank-you for the feedback about the course! It’s good to know that I could take it for the learning experience and not have to commit to the certificate. I’ll take some time to review this thread. Definitely sounds like something to explore more once the holidays are over.
  7. To follow up on the book, @Rajala - you say it’s still good for learning the technique? It’s unfortunate that it is of a low quality, but is the information quality? I was looking at getting the book, but I can’t find a copy for sale at the moment. I want it to learn technique and was going to ask if anyone here is selling their copy (say they’ve taken the course and feel the no longer need it). I want to take the course, but am unable to budget that much time and money this season. So I thought the book would be a good way to support Dubovik sharing his knowledge and also learn some new decorations. ETA: now that I read back a little, maybe the Savour online would be an affordable way to start.
  8. I am trying to find boxes like these pictured below, with matching candy trays and candy pads. They are about the size of a piece of paper and about 2-2 1/2 inches high. Haven’t had any luck finding them domestically. Anyone else use something like these? How do you store/package your bulk chocolates?
  9. Thanks for the reply, Kerry. You have the answers to everything, it seems. And I am grateful! I’m going to a European market for some speculoos cookies so I will ask around for dextrose, otherwise a brew store will be easy to find.
  10. I am now in possession of Ramon Morató’s Chocolate book. I am very intruigued to try applying his formula to my recipes and see what happens. I know there was another thread about this, but have other’s applied his formula with positive results? I want to try some of his recipes as well. And that means I am looking for dextrose and possibly sorbitol. Does anyone know of a Canadian source for these items? I could order from the USA as well, though it is less preferable. Many thanks! Christy
  11. My thoughts exactly! Thanks, @Jim D.! I should have thought to tag them.
  12. Any updates on the results of the Grex brush from Chef Rubber? Thinking about either that or a Paasche until the Fuji package is in my price range.
  13. Hi All, I think this is a long shot, but I'll put it out there. I'm wondering if anyone in the Greater Vancouver area has an EZ Temper that they would be willing and able to loan/rent out for a couple days or up to a week? I am super curious to try it out and if the results are as wonderful as I expect I'm hoping I can find it in the business budget. Feel free to message me privately.
  14. I have not made an olive oil ganache myself. However, I think I recall coming across one in the book Couture Chocolate by William Curley. I am not home right now, but I will try to look it up for you.
  15. These chocolates are so neat! I love seeing the fantastically creative designs other chocolatiers come up with. I am constantly torn between the old fashioned natural chocolate look and then the newer, modern cocoa butter painted masterpieces. I think my ideal selection would have a bit of both. Balance. I feel like decoration above would be easier if you could get custom stickers made in that shape and size (ones that do not leave a sticky reside and peel off easily - the glue would probably have to be considered food safe too, but I have no idea if masking tape is either). I think it would take way too much time to cut pieces of tape if you wanted to do a large amount. But I will definitely be trying it at home with masking tape.
  16. Hello Fellow Chocolatiers! I am working on calculated appropriate prices for my handmade chocolates. It's absolutely shocking that after 10 years of making chocolates, I never really dared to delve into the nitty-gritty cost of goods. And when I worked at a chocolate shop that was never a concern placed on my plate. So, I have attemped (with my horrible lack of excel spreadsheet skills) to figure out my cost of goods (including labor and packaging). Somehow, I must be doing something terribly wrong, as my costs worked out to be about $1.50 to make ONE PIECE. That seems outrageous! Granted, that did include using locally made bean-to-bar chocolate from a small producer. My business-partner-to-be is helping me sort it out (thankful that she and excel have a much better relationship). However, I need some information that is don't have at the moment and thought you guys might be able to help fill in the gaps. 1. For the sake of comparison, with cost of ingredients and labour (no packaging) how much does is cost you to produce one chocolate? 2. For those that make the fairly standard 22.5mm square enrobed chocolates, are you able to tell me how much and individual ganache square weighs pre-enrobing? How about post-enrobing? I know how much my ganache cost, but I don't know how many grams per piece to allot for the enrobed chocolate coating. And I am not in production right now so I can't test it out. If you can share it would be so helpful. ETA: can anyone tell me the same for one of their molded chocolates? Obviously there are variables like the height of the ganache and the size of the mould, but at least it would give me an idea. many thanks! Christy
  17. Bahahaha! That is what it sounds like. The chocolate they want to use is not bad. I personally want to try using local bean-to-bar chocolate which increases my costs significantly. They are actually open to it though, but more likely as a separate line from their regular product. I'm not sure what I think about having two separate lines of chocolates under the same roof. We'll chat about it more. I think my goal would be to merge our brands down the road if I plan to take over the business when they retire. Maybe it's not polite to talk about it, but it is the topic of this forum so I guess I'll be transparent - we decided on $20/hr for the slow summer months with the expectation of a raise as the sales increase and the busier season comes. I think it's reasonable. The low pay for pastry work sounds frustrating. But you're right, it's easy to see how the cost add up. I think collectively pastry chefs, chocolatiers, artisans need to charge more for their products to actually have reasonable profit margins. It just doesn't really help put you at an competitive advantage. We kinda need everyone to be on board and do it.
  18. Thank-you, @Tri2Cook! You're right - it's not much of a stretch at all to explain how our chocolates are different and possibly targeting a different market. I just suck at business talk, haha. But it is something I am happy to learn. I am just moving from a home business to a commercial space (only production, no retail space of my own) but I'm basically starting fresh. I worked for other chocolatiers before and my own business was more of a hobby than anything else. I am trying to get my product out there in retail shops now (not the greatest to split the tiny profit margin with others, but at least it is exposure). Honestly, I love the owner of the shop that wants to hire me. They are a lovely place and because I would possibly even take it over when the owner retires, I would LOVE to just pour my heart and soul into their chocolates entirely. However, at this point, our visions for the product are a little different. Not bad different, but just different. So unless we could harmonize those visions, I still feel compelled to carve my own path as well.
  19. Thanks for the input! I will definitely experiment. I did two experimental batches - they got eaten too soon to gain the information I wanted, haha. I guess my invert sugar does crystallize, but it still seems to have a smoother texture where honey seems to get a little gritty. It's reassuring to hear that it doesn't seem to crystallize in ganache. I guess I will have to see what the texture is like. @AnythingButPlainChocolate How did you find the texture to be?
  20. Thanks, @pastrygirl! The shop is in Vancouver, BC - pretty much right downtown. I will look up pastry jobs in my area. Assistant chocolatier is $15-ish, so definitely more for the head position. I was honestly thinking $20-$25 ish. Extended medical benefits would be nice, but my family is covered by my hubby's plan for now. They would want a product made with different ingredients than I would use for my personal brand, so either way I would be making two different products. Unless I can convinced them otherwise. I think they want to scrap their current recipes and start fresh. I shouldn't be so precious about sharing recipes - I just want to be sure that I always have the freedom to make whatever I want for my own brand without conflict.
  21. I have an opportunity to work as the head chocolatier for a local chocolate business. I will be going in to discuss with the owner tomorrow. I am notorious for undervaluing myself and my skills, but I want to change that. I have worked in the industry for 10 years and worked in one of the larger artisan local chocolate companies for 5 years. Does anyone know what the going hourly rate it for this type of position? I would be developing new recipes and running all production operations myself. It's only a part time gig (at the moment, as they have very small production). I will continue with my own business on the side for now - the owner knows this and is completely comfortable with it. I would possibly even be able to be the successor to this business once the owner retires. Also, anyone have input on working as an employee while developing recipes for another business? I feel so protective of my recipes that I will be sad to see some become the property of another business. I guess it is just all part of the nature of this line of work. I could be a sub-contractor and just provide this company with product, but they would prefer that I work and consult with them in-house and utilize their facilities.
  22. I keep running to you with all my questions! This community always have the best answers. I am wondering about the use of honey in ganache to act like invert sugar - binding with the water to lower the Aw. Has anyone used it successfully in the capacity? I usually use invert sugar in my ganaches, but I there are some more health-conscious customers that I know would love to see me move away from sugar. I'm not sure that I am willing to do it, but I will certainly explore the option! My main concerns are efficacy at preserving, its taste, and its texture. My personal experience has been that is is difficult to get the flavour of honey to challenge the more dominant flavour of chocolate, so I'm not exceedingly worried about the honey flavour being too strong. However, honey does crystallize when left to sit, unlike invert sugar. Has anyone experienced honey crystallizing in ganache or do the other ingredients present prevent it from doing so? I will eventually be doing some experimenting, but I thought I would test the waters first. Thanks!
  23. Thank you @Jim D. and @Kerry Beal for your input in the Krea Swiss HotChoc sprayer! It's too bad - I thought perhaps it was promising. I guess I will look into the Fuji chocolate package.
  24. Has anyone tried the Krea Swiss hotChoc? I know @markwightman was going to try it quite some time ago. It would be convenient to use something specifiy designed for use with cocoa butter/chocolate.
  25. Thanks for the advice, everyone. I appreciate all the options I have to explore! The only company I had never heard of is Roxy and Rich - ironically, the most locally available to me. I have used transfer sheets from Glarus Gourmet before. I should have thought of getting the cocoa butter there as well. I didn't love their transfer sheets though. They seemed to smudge more easily and didn't always transfer quite as well as others I have tried (granted, I think I was being hasty one of the times I removed the sheets, so it was probably my fault anyway).
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