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Wow, chocolate is expensive


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Hi there

My fiancee has just taken up chocolate- and dessert-making as a serious hobby. This is good news, particularly for me. However, she is currently freaking out (as am I) about how expensive chocolate is.

For example, Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections has a recipe for an Earl Grey ganache that she is about to attempt. But at retail, it takes about $50 worth of chocolate! This is using Scharffen Berger at retail.

Any suggestions for how to do this without the staggering expense? Does it take the use of an alternative chocolate brand? Is there a way to buy it wholesale? We live in NYC so everything is expensive, but I would imagine the power of the Internet could be harnessed somehow.

The bottom line is that we want to have the freedom to experiment and make mistakes, which is the heart and soul of cooking.

Thanks, and thanks to eGullet.

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First this is if you're buying more than a few blocks, like say 20#, then buy through the big boys for better prices. I use Qzina for my chocolate and I know others have even better priced distributors than that. Choc has a decent shelf life if properly stored so that's the route I'd go.

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The recipes in Greweling's book are also given in percentages and are very easy to scale back to a quantity that is practical for you. I have done many of his formulas in batches that are a quarter or less than the original.

So always check the total volume and decide if you want that much before doing the recipe as it stands.

Try to buy wholesale but check use by dates with them. If you don't you can find yourself with chocolate that is use by the next month.



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Chocosphere.com has a wide variety of chocolates at a bunch of different price points. Will definitely better than buying Scharfen Berger at retail.

And I strongly second what lapin d'or says - the Grewling recipes make a LOT of pieces, but are very easy to scale down to more reasonable quantities.

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Some cheaper brands that you can find in stores

and you may still like (taste test to see if true)

- Ghirardelli bittersweet

- Trader Joe's pound plus

These are ~$4/lb.

Second thing is volume, as Lapin D'or says.

Your recipe won't be perfect, but you can scale all the way down to

1/4C of cream, which is ~1/4lb of chocolate in many recipes.

Then another ~1/2lb for dipping. So even at Valrhona

$16/lb prices, you're only out ~$12 or so for chocolate, maybe

another $3 for cream.

If you decide you hate the flavor, you're not out that much $ or time.

In fact, even with unlimited $, you don't have unlimited time.

Who wants to dip a ton of chocolates for which you don't like the flavor?

You can use that time experimenting with something else.

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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And El Rey is running a great special -- 11lbs of a discs of a single chocolate for $66 with free shipping until May 1.


Great Caesar's Ghost, that's a great find!

Makes sense to avoid the summer melting problem.

Plus, they're selling chocolates from a chocolate shop

in my town that I didn't know about. Gonna take a trip.

So double great for me, thanks!

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions!

Glad to hear a confectionery hobby does not have to be financially ruinous. I am looking forward to further experiences as a chocolate-fed guinea pig.

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Also check out whatever local store has a good bulk section. Sometimes you can get Callebaut in bulk for $3 or $4 a pound. One store I used to live near would obviously just break up the 11lb blocks of semisweet Callebaut and fill their bulk bins with that. Maybe not the finest choice for dipping or molding, but perfectly serviceable for fillings, baking, hot fudge.

Edited by pastrygirl (log)
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I got mine. They were out of Icoa in the discos, so they sent it to me in bars. They were going to unwrap it and break the bars into squares! But I said it was fine as is.

I got about 1.6 lbs bonus. I'm a new buyer.

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...
I got mine.  They were out of Icoa in the discos, so they sent it to me in bars.  They were going to unwrap it and break the bars into squares!  But I said it was fine as is. 

I got about 1.6 lbs bonus.  I'm a new buyer.

I found 3kg bags of Valrhona - all varieties - at honestfoods.com for $65.00 ea or 3 for $183.00. Chocosphere charges $79.95 per 3kg bag.

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