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  1. Last November I opened the doors to the shop and I think about 4 weeks later someone actually walked through them. It's been quite a year and it feels like I'm really just starting. I was lucky enough to have Dean & Deluca as a wholesale customer when I started and moved to more stores through the year. Our retail business was pretty minimal but we are located in an affluent area so although I had few customers some would spend $500-$1500 on holiday orders. Also, we were lucky enough to land a few nice corporate orders last christmas. But overall we spent the first year learning the business and focusing on improving the product and year two will be about actually working on turning some profits. I really started my trek here on eGullet in 2004 and have learned a lot from this community. I've met some great friends too. All that being said we have some exciting things happening now that I'd like to share especially for those just starting out as I didn't even know what "temper" meant when I posted my first comment. I'm not trying to toot our own horn but rather share what can happen for those just starting. I'm flying to NY next week as a finalist in The Next Generation Chocolatier competition. The theme was salty sweets and I submitted a piece that was a layer of mango pate de fruit over which I sprinkled a green chile infused sea salt and then topped with a layer of milk chocolate ganache with fresh lime, I then enrobed the piece in dark chocolate. It is a lot of flavors and textures but I thought it pulled together well. I think the most exciting part is that the judges did a blind tasting and were some people I really respect. The chocolatiers in the juding were Fritz Knipschildt and Kee Ling Tong. There were also judges from Blommer and Guittard and then finally buyers from Dean & Deluca and Bloomingdales. The awards dinner is Nov 5th and should be exciting. We also will be announcing a collaboration with Teavana, an upscale tea company to do a collection of tea infused artisan chocolates that they will have in all 84 stores this holiday season. We also will have another press release with another large wholesale partner that will be carrying our chocolates this holiday season. One other exciting thing we did this year was making chocolates for Pope Benedict's visit. We made custom transfers for the occassion and 2 piece boxes were handed out and chocolates/pate de fruit were served at the dinner in his honor. We were featured on "The View" as one of Whoopi's Must-Have items. It was very strange seeing your product on television. We have a few other pending national television appearances in the works now....I'll share more as it comes to pass. We FINALLY will have our website up in about 3-4 weeks with a crisp look and ecommerce. As I said earlier, I've been hesitant in the past to say anything about some of the things that have happened but this is a great community and in Feb 2004 in the Chocolates with that Showroom Finish I can still read my first post. When I first met Chris Elbow (on egullet) I needed help and he was willing to push me in the right direction. I've tried to do the same whenever I can. The funny thing is I know now how little I really know and I'm excited about the future and really becoming a professional with an increasing knowledge. Anyway, it is exciting to see where we have come in a year and I'm curious what the next year will hold. Good luck to everyone else and I hope to hear of your success. -Bill
  2. Given that the packing and shipping has been covered nearly ad nauseum, I should probably thank everyone for clicking on this one anyway. I searched and found quite a lot on temperature and the like, but nothing on this specifically. I've been planning to ship chocolates to some friends for quite some time now. The chocolates/candy are finally done, and I had purchased some very nice boxes, inserts, and cups to ship them safely halfway around the country. They don't fit. Oops!! A few flavors of truffles were slightly (ha!) oversized and won't fit in the trays. I'd resigned myself to the 3-4 hr round trip to pick up appropriate sized ones this weekend but had a thought based on something someone here had mentioned regarding taking them on an airplane. I forget who it was, but here's the thought- would it be possible to vaccuum seal them and layer the packages with bubble wrap and peanuts? Lovely boxes would be nice, but not only to the recipients not care what they look like, they're beginning to get anxious- and I've already spent quite a lot on the endeavour so far so if I can avoid the trip to Ft Wayne... Has anyone else done this? Do you think that the bags would leave stinky plasticness all over my hard work? Any and all input is welcome! Alternative ideas as well. Thanks!
  3. I would like to learn to make a diabetic friendly chocolate bon bon. My friend , who is diabetic , has told me that she can usually eat Fructose, honey, light brown sugar, agave nectar, beet sugar and concentrated fruit juice. The fructose and agave nectar may be somewhat allowed in diabetic exchange, but I am not sure. I am trying to research this topic and any help would be welcome. I don't want to use anything with maltitol. Thanks
  4. Was at the liquor store and left empty handed because i wasn't sure of what had the best flavour of orange? Anyone know? Thanks Peter
  5. Has anyone tried any of the ganache recipes in William Curley's book Couture Chocolates? I tried to make the star anise ganache (p. 66) and it didn't solidify. The recipe says to slab the ganache and cut the next day. The problem was that the next day it was still much too soft to cut. It was more the consistency of a very (emphasis on very) soft ganache for a molded chocolate. The recipe uses a mix of bittersweet chocolate and gianduja for the chocolate component. I was suspicious of the recipe before I began because the ratio of the chocolate mix to cream is only about 1.25:1 which seemed too low to me for a slabbed ganache. Also the recipe calls for heating the chocolate to about 45C (113F) before emulsifying with the cream. Could this have contributed to the ganache not setting, at least in the 24 hour timeframe called for in the recipe? I usually use tempered chocolate to make ganaches. The instructions also have you use a chocolate/cocoa butter mix for the foot. As this mixture crystallized on the slab it cracked a lot and was very brittle. Meanwhile I scooped the ganache up and it's sitting in the refrigerator until I have time to make some molded chocolates. Should be a good filling for that! On the bright side, the flavor is quite nice.
  6. I've been searching for a recipe for margarita truffles. Any suggestions?
  7. On the subject of modern plated desserts: I have noticed a recent trend that has caught my attention - the flexible/pliable ganache (sometimes called the flexicurd). Now, I have made a few recipes for these types of desserts, which have turned out well (Specifically the Alinea Cookbook chocolate pliable ganache). Another recipe can be seen here on page 68. (ingredients listed below) 375 g chocolate 1 sheet gelatin 50 g water 100 g sorbitol 3 g agar 50 g glucose 900 g heavy cream 2 g salt Now, my question is this: does anyone know of a good way to modify this recipe (or of any others) to accommodate other flavors? I have seen some very interesting pliable ganaches, such as yogurt, beet, grapefruit, coconut, etc. However, there doesn't seem an obvious way to modify these recipes. For a lot of dessert components this is as simple as changing a fruit puree to another flavored liquid. I am not so confident in this due to the fact that the recipes contain a lot of chocolate, which contributes significant textural properties. To further complicate this, I know some hydrocolloids are sensitive to pH (pectin) or ion concentrations (LA gellan, carrageenan). Anyone have experience with this?
  8. Hi all, I was wondering if anyone has tried these with chocolate? http://www.amazon.co.uk/Veined-Cutters-Plungers-Sugarcraft-byFlissyTM/dp/B004S2PNQ2/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1320095390&sr=8-7 If so, how did you use them? I imagine spreading a thin layer of chocolate on cellophane, waiting for it to cool a bit and pressing these into it? Would it work you think?
  9. Hi all, I'm relatively new to these forums (long time follower though) and I wanted to find some help from those who are more knowledgeable to help make a candy. All it has to be is one tablespoon of glucose in a relatively small tab. They are for my dad who is diabetic and the current glucose tabs are big but they only contain 4 grams of carbohydrate. One tablespoon of glucose = 12 grams of carbohydrates so I'm hoping to find a way to do this as my dad doesn't like to eat so many of these big tabs. Is it possible to get 1tbs of glucose into a relatively small tab, I'm not familiar with binding agents or another method to do this. I thought about boiling it into rock candy but I'd rather have something more dissolvable and something I can more accurately know how much glucose is going in. Here's a pic of the current candies which are too large per amount of carbohydrate: Uploaded with ImageShack.us
  10. I have an opportunity to buy a case each of Caoba(milk) and Icoa(white). The seller is a chocolatier who is retiring, so I'm hoping the price will be quite good. But of course, one should only buy chocolate that tastes good and is easy to work with. So I wonder if any of you have worked with these chocolates, and what do you think of them? Also, I'm only making confections for friends and family, so I might have these around for a while. What is the shelf life of chocolate discs? Many thanks.
  11. I'll be making the 2000 mile trek from AZ to attend this show, shopping for some equipment and misc. back-of-the-house supplies. Anybody been to this show before? Tips? Who's going this year? Host Note: Click here for the terms under which this event information is posted
  12. I have been making nut brittles lately using piloncillo /panela / palm sugar and having a good time. PanaCan gave me a lovely recipe from Ecuador which calls for 1 cup shredded ginger to 4 cups of sugar. I loved it. Dawn, who is helping with the renovations, thought it needed more ginger. Ed, the DH, said...way too much ginger. OK. So I thought...what about orange flavor? lemon or lime flavor? high contrast to sweet sugar flavors? Found some fairly anemic recipes online and thought I would turn to eG for advice. Who has some lovely tasty answers for me, please?
  13. There are lots of excellent recipes in eGullet and online for making English style/Buttercrunch/etc Toffee, coated on both sides with chocolate (tempered or not) and sprinkled with finely chopped nuts. eG's Kerry Beal has a really good one in Confectionery 101. I need to know if this recipe, or ones like it...I use a copycat Enstrom toffee recipe with basically the same ratios of sugar and butter...can be doubled or even tripled. Obviously a manufacturer like Enstrom makes huge batches at once, but perhaps this is one of those kinds of recipes which can't just be doubled or tripled holus bolus. I have foolishly agreed to help a friend and local professional fudge maker learn to make this kind of toffee. This Saturday. Morning. THEN she told me that she had a huge professional stove with huge copper kettles and needed to at least double the recipe for such a big pot. You can't put a normal sized pot...say 2 - 4 litres...on her stove. It has no rings. I haven't seen it and don't really know exactly what to expect. Carrying on...each batch she has attempted so far has been a failure in that the butter separated. We can come back to our place to try a simple one batch recipe if the big one fails again...or if someone, like Chocolot or Kerry Beal, tells me...no it doesn't work that way. You need a specially formulated recipe. Help Thanks.
  14. Hi all! I'm on Long Island, NY, looking for a source of good chocolate and white chocolate that wont break the bank. Need it for Christmas confections (peppermint bark, coating caramels, etc) and refuse to use the melting wafers available locally (Merkens and Wilton). Suggestions? Thanks, Heather
  15. I'm fairly au fait with candying citrus peel, but fancy doing something a bit more adventurous, I'm guessing I could flavour the candied peel with an alcohol, probably during the last phase (I tend to use William Curley's method from Couture Chocolates - blanch 4 times, add to syrup with vanilla, heat, leave to cool over night, re-heat for 2 hours, allow to cool over night, leave to dry) so the alcohol content is cooked off but the flavour imparts. Is this do-able? Are there recipes out there for this or am I just barking up the wrong tree? I've got a concept I want to try and I'll keep you posted if it's a workable idea.
  16. Dear Everyone: Now that I have the science of making fudge down to where it does not crystallize on me, I am now focusing on the taste of the chocolate. I'm looking for a name of a couverture chocolate that I can use to make a creamy, melt in your mouth fudge. Does anyone know what kind of chocolate Rocky mountain uses? I bought some of there fudge and that is the taste that I am trying to achieve. Just a smooth, not to over powering taste of chocolate. I used Guittard chocolate (don't remember if it is dark chocolate-bitter chocolate or what) but that came out not tasting right-a bitter ahhh taste. I also used Felchlin Gastro 58% Rondo and that is more along the lines of the creamy, melt in your mouth taste that I am trying to achieve. Since there are so many different chocolates out on the market, can anyone direct me to the chocolate that I can use? Please provide a name, coco %? Thanks Mandy..
  17. Hi all, I want to make molded solid chocolates infused with the flavor of tea. Before I start experimenting I thought I'd pick the trusty brains on eGullet. I've flavored ganache with tea, but how can I infuse tea flavor directly into chocolate? Thanks!
  18. There's about 6 pounds of Guittard Milk Chocolate sitting in my basement, leftover from a long Christmas story which no one needs to hear. I don't like the taste of milk chocolate: never have, never will. I can always use it over a longish period in cakes, icings, candies, ice cream, whatever, to give away. However, is there some way to hide/mask/alter the milk chocolatey-ness of it and use it for things we, as confirmed dark bittersweet chocolate lovers, might enjoy?
  19. Final question for the day.....I am going to make a chocolate bark with apricots. I do have some apricot powder (100% freeze dried apricots) Would this powder be good to dust the apricot bark top? It tasted kind of bitter to me. Thoughts?
  20. I have tried and failed several times to create a dish that I've had in mind for some time now. I'm looking for advice on how to achieve the texture I'm after. I want to make a hard-set sugar sponge with large (1/4") bubbles, resembling a honeycomb. I don't care about having the bubbles perfectly aligned - rather, I care about creating a texture that is very lightweight but brittle. I've seen techniques for aerated chocolate that result in the texture I want, but I haven't been able to apply them to sugar. What I've tried so far is melting wet sugar until it reaches hard-crack, then quickly adding it to a CO2 siphon, charging it, shooting it out into a vacuum canister, vacuuming to increase bubble size, and letting it set up. I always get stuck at the "shooting it out" part, because the sugar is far too thick to be expelled through my siphon. Usually, I just end up with a bunch of sugar laminated to the inside of my siphon and 2 days of soaking to clean. I've also tried heating isomalt and blowing bubbles into it. This was fun but futile. Is there a way that I can thin out the sugar, but still retain enough surface tension to hold bubbles, and still set up brittle when it cools? Or, is there some other way to achieve this texture with some type of sugar? Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
  21. I've finally got dates pinned down for the upcoming conference - at least as far as the main attraction. Derrick Tu Tan Pho from Callebaut in Montreal has agreed to come and teach us for at least one day of our conference. I've still got to work out the rest of the logistics - but for now it looks like the weekend of May 14th is what we are going to shoot for. I'm thinking we'll do the Friday, Saturday and Sunday (so the 13rd, 14th and 15th). Maybe for a side trip we could join all the bikers up in Port Dover for Friday the 13th - just kidding! The profs at the college are already getting excited about making a meal for us again - hopefully we won't have any issues with the dates we have and their previous obligations. How about some thoughts on what people are interested in doing and learning this year so we can start to come up with a plan. Chris Hennes edited to add the following from Kerry: ABOUT THE CONFERENCE: Location: in or around Niagara on the Lake, Ontario (Canada) Dates: May 13–15, 2011 (tentative) For the past 2 years we have run a DIY chocolate and confectionery conference for eG members and other interested folk. Everyone is welcome - no experience in chocolate or confectionery required - just a desire to learn and play. Costs are shared between the participants so they are very reasonable. We put out a little breakfast and lunch on both the Saturday and Sunday. Generally on the Friday we have some sort of outing. Year one - we crossed the border and visited Tomric Plastics to play on the Selmi enrober and have an opportunity to buy equipment and supplies. Year two - we went to Albert Uster and attended an excellent class covering a variety of pastry and confection topics. Not sure what we will do this year - but I welcome suggestions. On the Saturday evening we have a group meal - I'll be working on the prof's at the college to cook for us again this time. Previous conferences: 2010 conference (Gaithersburg, MD) 2009 conference (Niagara on the Lake, ON) Click here for the guidelines under which this event is listed at the eGullet Forums
  22. Anita Chu (aka Pastrygirl) in Field Guide to Candy has a recipe for Chocolate Nougat dipped in chocolate later. Confectionery partner, Barbara, and I have decided to make this tomorrow. For fun. And because we haven't made it before. It's fluffier than European nougat, which we have made a few times, and serves as the center for such goodies as 3 Musketeers and Mars Bars. OK. Chu says to refrigerate the nougat overnight and then dip it the next day. We don't have overnight to work together. What if we put it in the freezer for an hour or so instead? I often do that with ice cream bases; why not with nougat? If if doesn't ripen to its full flavor, we will live with that. Any thoughts? Thanks.
  23. After I was done eating some BBQ on Sunday, I swung by a little chocolate shop a block away called Dude, Sweet. Friendly place. Staff offering up samples of all sorts of things. One of the more interesting things was their toffee Fungus Amoungus. One of the things I bought was a box of chocolates called "Dude" So far, I have had the Puro and the Marakesh. There was a slight olive taste to the Puro, but I really didn't pick up on any distinct saltiness. But maybe that's the point? The salt is there to enhance the other flavors and not really to bring an actual saltiness to it. The Marakesh faired much better. Nice sweetness from the dates. I'm not really familiar with Raz (ras?) al Hanout, so it's hard for me to say if that flavor is present. But whatever it is, that piece was great. I'll save the rest for later. Don't want to eat it all at once. Box set me back $12. The other thing I bought was a chocolate bar called "Kampot" The label describes it "65% Columbian dark, Kampot pepper, and cocoa nib". I have not tried this yet, but I will report back when I do.
  24. Hi all, I'm putting together a 9-inch round entremet, and I want to add a feulletine insert. Does anyone have a formula with the right amounts of chocolate, butter, praline paste and paillete feulletine, for a 9-inch round preparation, so nothing goes to waste? Thank you in advance, Lisa
  25. Is there any way to soften almond paste once it's become dry and crusty? I know I should have wrapped it better to begin with, but I didn't. Also, I once bought a tube of almond paste at the supermarket that turned out to be literally rock hard.
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