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Chris Hennes

"Captivating Confections" CIA DVD set

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I got an ad in my e-mail today for the Culinary Institute of America's "Captivating Confections" DVD set. Here's what it said about the set:

Throughout the Captivating Confections DVD set, you'll learn a variety of detailed methods for preparing spectacular handcrafted candies. During the program, you will:

Discover the proper way to melt, temper, handle, mold, and decorate chocolates

Explore the artistry of piping, filling, and sealing chocolates

Learn how to prepare cream ganache and butter ganache

Practice the steps in making truffles, knackerli, and rochers

Create assorted liquid, soft, and firm candies such as caramels, nut brittles, dragées, and fondant

They want $200 for the 3-DVD set (I guess it's ordinarily $250, this is a Valentines Day Special). That a bit more than the latest Hollywood blockbuster... and definitely quite a bit more than I typically drop on "cooking show"-type DVDs. I understand that this isn't one of those, but still... lotta money! Has anyone seen this set, or had any experience with the CIA's other DVD sets? I don't have the time or money right now for a real class on this stuff, so if this is a worthwhile investment I would be willing to spring for it, but I don't really know what to expect.

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if it is peter greweling on the dvds it might be worth it because they might be making some of the same candies from the book...

but i wouldn't spend the dough...just not worth it to me

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I haven't seen those but I'll throw in my 2 cents on being worth it. It's a matter of perspective. Too me it wouldn't be worth it because I don't do chocolates very often. However, I have a few pastry books that were close to that price each and they were well worth it to me because... well... because I wanted them. I know people who think what I spend on books is stupid but they'll gladly shell out 10x more for something to hang around their neck or wrist or on their wall. If they're worth it to you for what you do, then they're worth it.

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While I enjoy watching such videos I passed on them myself. I couldn't justify the $100 per DVD (sans discount). I had purchased another (I forget the title) and found it showed a small fraction of what was in a good book.

I love books and gladly spend quite a bit on them if they are worth it (one pastry book at $200). I have found the information density to be much higher in a book than on a video presentation for the same reason a book has so much more story than a movie. It's just a matter of how much you can say and demonstrate in an hour. If it were a topic like cake decorating where full motion demonstrations mean so much you would benifit from the video, but chocolate work isn't so dependant on that.

Personaly I would just buy Grewelings book and enough supplies to practice with.

But if you do buy them please post a review...

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I watched most of these (on video tape) while I took Greweling's class in September '06. The videos are relatively short and are of Greweling and at least one other instructor. I seem to recall that the average running time was about 20 minutes.

I found them useful in that you get to "see" what a product should look like in the stages of production. But like many of the other comments posted, I'm not sure I want to drop $200 - $250.

I got an ad in my e-mail today for the Culinary Institute of America's "Captivating Confections" DVD set. Here's what it said about the set:
Throughout the Captivating Confections DVD set, you'll learn a variety of detailed methods for preparing spectacular handcrafted candies. During the program, you will:

Discover the proper way to melt, temper, handle, mold, and decorate chocolates

Explore the artistry of piping, filling, and sealing chocolates

Learn how to prepare cream ganache and butter ganache

Practice the steps in making truffles, knackerli, and rochers

Create assorted liquid, soft, and firm candies such as caramels, nut brittles, dragées, and fondant

They want $200 for the 3-DVD set (I guess it's ordinarily $250, this is a Valentines Day Special). That a bit more than the latest Hollywood blockbuster... and definitely quite a bit more than I typically drop on "cooking show"-type DVDs. I understand that this isn't one of those, but still... lotta money! Has anyone seen this set, or had any experience with the CIA's other DVD sets? I don't have the time or money right now for a real class on this stuff, so if this is a worthwhile investment I would be willing to spring for it, but I don't really know what to expect.

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Thanks, all, for your comments. I probably shouldn't have bothered asking "is it worth it" since the answer will be different for everyone. I, too, spend astronomical sums on books (the only person I know with more textbooks than me is my wife!), but somehow spending $200 on something that is only 2 hours longs seems, well, frivolous. On the other hand, I am just getting started in chocolate and confections, and I think Greweling's book is fabulous (much better than the other two I have on the subject). There are some things where I think a video demonstration would be handy. For example, Kerry (I think) explained how to drop a truffle into your chocolate and then press on one edge and get it to flip onto your dipping fork: it took me a while to get the hang of this, and I think actually seeing it in video could have helped. Then again, maybe not! I'd love to see the texture of Greweling's nougat in video, to see how far off I was. That kind of thing.

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Chris, I’m with you on this…I also don’t have the time or money to go and take the type of chocolate and confection courses that I would like to take. There are a lot of things that video instruction would convey much better than reading in a book. This series sounds pretty interesting, but that price tag is pretty high – seems like they should be including a little more with it like a free chef’s hat or student mold or metal frame or something.

Not having come from a background with much pastry/cooking there are a lot of things that I’m managing to get done, but know I am doing wrong. There are a lot of simple techniques, second nature to most on here, which I would like to actually see being done – the little things that books assume you know, where writing out instructions would be too mundane, that leave someone with no real experience scratching their head and taking three times as long to get things done.

Mike.

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I have been really happy with The Chocolate Doctor's DVD's. Sometimes when I am in a rut I watch them again to get a little inspired. I think today is such a day!!!

They are much cheaper and really helpful!

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I have been really happy with The Chocolate Doctor's DVD's.  Sometimes when I am in a rut I watch them again to get a little inspired.  I think today is such a day!!!

They are much cheaper and really helpful!

Thanks, Beth: I had forgotten about that DVD set (available here). Kerry, are you out there? Any idea how your set compares to the CIA's in terms of what it covers, level of detail, etc.? It's a little bit shorter, so I'm curious about the differences. Is the extra 35 minutes the CIA set provides critical? Do I need (OK, OK, want...) both sets?

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I have been really happy with The Chocolate Doctor's DVD's.  Sometimes when I am in a rut I watch them again to get a little inspired.  I think today is such a day!!!

They are much cheaper and really helpful!

Thanks, Beth: I had forgotten about that DVD set (available here). Kerry, are you out there? Any idea how your set compares to the CIA's in terms of what it covers, level of detail, etc.? It's a little bit shorter, so I'm curious about the differences. Is the extra 35 minutes the CIA set provides critical? Do I need (OK, OK, want...) both sets?

if more people would buy this dvd together, is there a legal way anyone can view it... why doesnt these guys do a more reasonable priced online version...

cheers

t.

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I have been really happy with The Chocolate Doctor's DVD's.  Sometimes when I am in a rut I watch them again to get a little inspired.  I think today is such a day!!!

They are much cheaper and really helpful!

Thanks, Beth: I had forgotten about that DVD set (available here). Kerry, are you out there? Any idea how your set compares to the CIA's in terms of what it covers, level of detail, etc.? It's a little bit shorter, so I'm curious about the differences. Is the extra 35 minutes the CIA set provides critical? Do I need (OK, OK, want...) both sets?

I'm out here. Actually in Belgium, land of chocolate everywhere.

I'm not sure what the CIA's actually contain, not having seen them. Mine essentially cover tempering using a couple of different methods, the second demos molding of hollow, solid, flat single and double molds as well as magnetic molds with a transfer sheet. The third coating truffles, hand and forkdipping (wish I'd learned from Alana before I made the DVD's), ruffles, curls, cigars and ribbons, as well as making a snobinette cup.

My suspicion is the CIA set may actually show the production of elaborate desserts with the chocolate - mine gived you the techniques without showing all the things you can do with the finished product.

I made the DVD's because I realized that I didn't learn to temper until I saw someone do it - all the reading in the world didn't make any sense until someone showed it to me - so I decided that I needed to show it to other people. I've learned a ton since I made the DVD's, and if I was making them again, I'd have so much more to show - but I think they make a good basic how to for chocolate work.

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