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Kerry Beal

Report:eG Chocolate and Confectionery Conference

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Can someone post a link to the chocolat-chocolat molds that are matte and can't be sprayed with color?  I'm intrigued.

Here is the link to these molds. Not a truly great picture. Hard to tell they are matte.

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gallery_34671_2649_4586.jpg

Here is Benny from the college - he teaches pastry. In the making your own transfer thread I have some pictures of the screens I had made up for him for the dead dough competition that he won. He's a real artist.

gallery_34671_2649_21373.jpg

This is the cocoa butter painting he was working on, it was quite beautiful when it was finished.

gallery_34671_2649_10917.jpg

Erika's (chocoera) decorated pieces.

gallery_34671_2649_13109.jpg

Not sure who did this one - but I love the effect. By the way if anyone gets home and realizes they have accidently taken home this mold with their other molds let me know. It's one of the ones that I'm missing.

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I would like to pose three questions:

1.  If you attended this years event, would you attend a similar event next year?

2.  If you did NOT attend this years event, would you be interested in attending next year?

3.  How important is location to you?  . . .  Gaithersburg, Maryland (near Washington DC).

Thanks Steve - yes we definitely would. A day's drive to the DC area would be perfect for us, and this time of year (AFTER Easter rush) works well.

If you do, let me know and I could arrange a field trip, for example:

> We could go on a winery tour just an hour away across the river in Virgina (Kerry will be happy to know we pass through Beallsville, lol). The winemaker there is Canadian - a graduate of Niagara College's teaching winery.

> For anyone travelling from the North by car, I could arrange a private tour of a very large chocolate supplier in East Greenville, PA. It is about 3 hours away from DC, and would add about 2 hours in driving to the trip from Buffalo (it's more enroute from NYC). They are not open to the public or set up for tours, so it would have to be a small group (12 or less). You would be able to see the whole process from bean roasting, winnowing, butter pressing, cocoa grinding, conching, tempering, depositing and molding (10lb bars).

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I would like to pose three questions:

1.  If you attended this years event, would you attend a similar event next year?

2.  If you did NOT attend this years event, would you be interested in attending next year?

3.  How important is location to you?  . . .  Gaithersburg, Maryland (near Washington DC).

Thanks Steve - yes we definitely would. A day's drive to the DC area would be perfect for us, and this time of year (AFTER Easter rush) works well.

If you do, let me know and I could arrange a field trip, for example:

> We could go on a winery tour just an hour away across the river in Virgina (Kerry will be happy to know we pass through Beallsville, lol). The winemaker there is Canadian - a graduate of Niagara College's teaching winery.

> For anyone travelling from the North by car, I could arrange a private tour of a very large chocolate supplier in East Greenville, PA. It is about 3 hours away from DC, and would add about 2 hours in driving to the trip from Buffalo (it's more enroute from NYC). They are not open to the public or set up for tours, so it would have to be a small group (12 or less). You would be able to see the whole process from bean roasting, winnowing, butter pressing, cocoa grinding, conching, tempering, depositing and molding (10lb bars).

*as for the wine....*whoop whoop! you always know i'm up for wine!!! :raz:

*as for the chocolate supplier tour...darn it, i'd love to see that. don't suppose a lonely nebraskan could arrange to go on that too? :huh:

*also, note to steve: would do the conference again...loved it...doubt anyone would come to the midwest, so i guess i'd be traveling, so location makes no difference to me...the only request would be somewhere that we could maybe take a field trip and see a couple chocolate retail shops too? i love to see people's shops, its inspirational and educational for me...besides...who doesn't like eating other people's chocolates?!!!! :laugh:

*ps art: glad to see you're on line...hug wilma for me! and brad (husband) is in love the those crazy cashews of yours!

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Kerry, what was the chocolate you used for the port/cigar ones, too?  I meant to grab a couple pieces to bring home, but forgot since we had to scoot out early.

Thanks, Mary!  I think it might have actually been one of the Matts who chose the pepper.  I liked it, and one of the guys I gave it to today really liked it.

I used the Belcolade Papau New Guinea single origin. It already tastes quite tobacco like.

Yes, it does. Very cool.

edited to add gfron, so happy to see you post. We were wishing you had come so we could meet you. I always check out your stuff on the sweets thread.

can i also add that i too really really wanted to meet gfron....you better not disappoint us at the next conference...we expect you to be there!!! :biggrin: i always love following your blog and the pics and tips/recipes shared on the threads here...also, the wedding cakes are totally bitchin (can i say that on here!?) :wink:

and ditto on the black pepper...it is awesome...and it is the brain child of the matts...very cool people BTW :wub:

lastly, john depaula....your pictures are beyond beautiful! it was fun to share them with a fellow photographer, brad :) thanks for posting those and thanks again for being my travel buddy!!!

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How about the goodies that Lior sent for us to enjoy - I've been working on the lokum and some of the snacky foods today.  What did you take home?  How are you enjoying it?

Lior:

Thanks so much for the boxes of goodies you sentl. Wish you were there, but the goodies were an acceptable substitute. I brought home the chocolate halvah for one of my customers to sample - I'm hoping to use it in a filling for cakes I make for his restaurant. I also brought home the Chai tea and (what feels like) coffee, as I'll infuse these flavors in cream for some new amazing cakes for this same customer.

I'll let you know what I do with these items as I get around to using them.

Mary

You are very welcome.

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Steve, you can definitely count me in for next year!

ejw50: They seemed to have trouble with the strainer. It wasn't giving the kind of effect they were after. Using a toothbrush worked pretty well, though.

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Steve, you can definitely count me in for next year!

ejw50: They seemed to have trouble with the strainer. It wasn't giving the kind of effect they were after. Using a toothbrush worked pretty well, though.

I wonder if a different strainer would work better? Those ones have a lot of wires for the cocoa butter to negotiate. What was the actual technique they used with the strainer?

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1.  If you attended this years event, would you attend a similar event next year?

Absolutely, if I can get there and afford both the time and the fiscal cost.

3.  How important is location to you?

Very important, see the part about "if I can get there." I somehow got lucky that (for once) an event was being held within a reasonable driving distance to my little corner of nowhere. But near a major airport might also work, and the DC area would certainly qualify for that.

MelissaH

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Steve, you can definitely count me in for next year!

ejw50: They seemed to have trouble with the strainer. It wasn't giving the kind of effect they were after. Using a toothbrush worked pretty well, though.

I wonder if a different strainer would work better? Those ones have a lot of wires for the cocoa butter to negotiate. What was the actual technique they used with the strainer?

Kerry, they were trying to get a stipple effect similar to what we were doing using David's airbrush. The brushes they were using were quite small and soft, which probably didn't help.

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Steve, you can definitely count me in for next year!

ejw50: They seemed to have trouble with the strainer. It wasn't giving the kind of effect they were after. Using a toothbrush worked pretty well, though.

I wonder if a different strainer would work better? Those ones have a lot of wires for the cocoa butter to negotiate. What was the actual technique they used with the strainer?

Kerry, they were trying to get a stipple effect similar to what we were doing using David's airbrush. The brushes they were using were quite small and soft, which probably didn't help.

Ah, so if you loaded the toothbrush then rubbed that across the strainer, you might get the effect you are after? I left some coloured cocoa butter with Kristina - I wonder what she'll come up with.

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I’m a little recovered from my jet lag and travel back home (anyone care to lay odds on whether my bags actually show up?), so I wanted to share some thoughts about the conference. It’s gonna be a bit “stream-of-consciousness” but bear with me…

First of all, it was such an interesting and diverse group of people. Everyone was so nice and hard working (and had a great sense of humor – B. I’m lookin’ at you!). It was good to finally put faces to names. And I’d been wanting to meet Anna N for such a long time – I’m glad you were able to be there; pleasure to meet you and John N! Art and Wilma, do you ship to the US? I’m looking forward to seeing your new web site when it comes online.

Canada was really beautiful. All the vines and fruit trees were gorgeous – I bet it’s amazing in the Fall. We grow a lot of Pinot Noir out here in Oregon, and we have the Columbia River in place of Lake Ontario. I felt right at home.

Kerry, we all keep saying it but you really are amazing. It was an ambitious program and you were juggling like a pro. Guess that’s why you’re an ER doc – good at multitasking (and lots of stamina!).

Personal Highlights

  • Kerry’s demo of drizzling dark chocolate over just enrobed milk bonbons - isn’t that gorgeous!
  • Kerry’s demo of the silk screening technique and her really cute designs
  • Seeing Kerry in action with the Fuji sprayer
  • Seeing the technique for splattering using the strainer – yes, I think a coarser strainer would have worked better.
  • the beautiful orange/yellow/red transfer sheets (did you do those, Melissa?)
  • Chocoera’s beautiful chocolates – both the ones she brought and the ingots made during the class. ’Best of Show, I’d say
  • Frankly, I loved the pyramids even though they didn’t want to come out of the mold
  • Getting to meet Brian from Tomric
  • the beautiful Canadian vineyards & wineries of the area – esp. Konzelmann Cab. Sauv. Icewine (I’m never gonna see those bottles again, am I. Thank you, Continental)
  • Oatmeal Scones provided by Kristina (?), the student pastry chef at Niagara College
  • And the big box of goodies sent to us by Lior - Aren't you SWEET! Unexpected gifts are the best!!
  • Casa Mia Italian restaurant over on Portage Rd. and Gate House Hotel Ristorante Giardino , also Italian.
  • All the beautiful blue-eyed folk that seem to be present in this part of Canada

Now, it wasn’t all sweetness-and-light – there are some areas that need work e.g. prepping a slab of ganache for dipping and backing off a tray of filled chocolates.

Prepping a Slab of Ganache for Dipping

Lay out your rules. If you need to tape them down, you need heavier rules. Any little defect (like tape) on top of your rules will show up in the surface of the ganache when you go to smooth it out. Also, if your rules are taped down, you can’t adjust them on the fly which may be necessary the first time you make a recipe.

The rules need to be the proper height i.e. the height you want for the cut piece e.g. ½” . For the amount of ganache that you have, adjust the rules so that the ganache will just fill the delineated area. The distance between the rules should be slightly smaller than the width of your palette knife. If Greweling says 12x12” for a ½” slab, and you only have an 11” palette knife*, change the dimensions to, say, 10 x 14.4” for the same area. You want your palette knife to easily cover the entire width, 10” here, so you can smooth out the ganache in one go.

I usually pour in my ganache and spread it out with a small offset palette knife, then do the final smoothing with the wide straight knife, slightly angled, very light pressure. I use the small offset again to scrape my long knife over any low area and re-smooth the whole thing again. Voila!

A lot of people seemed afraid to use their knife – get to be friends with your palette knife!

Once the ganache has crystallized, pour some melted chocolate over the top and do the same thing: spread out with the offset and smooth with the wide palette knife. Work quickly! Or else you’ll end up with too thick a coat.

With this method, you get flat slab with a very thin coat of chocolate perfect for the guitar.

I saw several folks using an acetate sheet to back their slabs. I didn’t see a lot of value to that because a) I don’t want to spend money on an acetate sheet when I don’t have to and b) a glossy ganache backing is only going to be covered up by dipping later.

But I say if you want to use this method to back off a tray of bonbons, then go for it; it least you get to see a shiny bottom on your bars or chocolates.

*As you know, Palette knives are often tapered at one end so you may not have the full length to play with.

Backing Off a Tray of Chocolates

This takes not a little bit of dexterity to NOT make a total mess of everything but practice makes perfect.

The key here is to WORK FAST! As soon as you start putting chocolate on the tray, it’s going to begin setting which will make getting a smooth surface impossible.

Ladle on 2 or 3 dollops, don’t be shy!, and use a palette knife to spread out the chocolate somewhat evenly. Using the handle of your palette knife, tap, tap, tap the sides of the tray or shake a bit on the table to release any bubbles. Then take your broad chocolate spatula to smoothly scrape the excess chocolate back into your melter. You want to be just firm enough to get a clean result without chipping your molded shells. Then make a sweep around the sides of your mold to clean up any excess chocolate.

Immediately scrape your tools on each other to keep them clean. If you don’t have a clean edge, your backs won’t be nice and smooth on the next tray.

Steve Lebowitz demonstrated using a chocolate filled paper cone to back off molded chocolates when your filling is too soft**. See the pix -> here.

**When your filling is too soft, you run the risk of dragging filling out of the mold and having it contaminate your backing chocolate. Not good.

UPDATE: Hey, my bags just arrived – Yay! And my Icewine is present, YAY, YAY!


Edited by John DePaula (log)

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[*]the beautiful orange/yellow/red transfer sheets (did you do those, Melissa?)

Glad you liked them. :blush:

I took a sheet of acetate (8.5 by 11 inches, the sort that could be used on an overhead projector, held landscape in front of me) and used a fairly wide paintbrush to paint wide stripes of yellow (or was it orange?) cocoa butter (quite warm, therefore quite runny) across at the top and bottom. In the middle, I put a wide stripe of warm runny red cocoa butter, taking care to leave a small gap between the stripes so as not to contaminate the brush. Then I twisted the cotton on a q-tip the way Brian showed us, to be sure I wouldn't leave cotton fibers behind, and "scribbled" up and down across all three stripes all the way across, starting at the right edge and moving towards the left because I'm left-handed, to blend the colors and open up some other areas. And then I set it aside to cool and harden. I really like the way the colors show up on the white chocolate! Thanks for getting the photo so I could see the end result, John.

Great to hear that you bucked the odds and your luggage arrived with the icewine intact!

MelissaH

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Would love to attend the next conference! I'm on the West Coast but will travel for chocolate...

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I've just uploaded my next set of photos from day 2. You can find them here.

I'll add the rest as soon as I can. It's was really tough going back to my day job today.

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Hello, Paul and I just arrived home last evening around 12 am do to weather. We stayed to do some sightseeing on Monday and part of Tuesday. I have to agree with everyone else about the weekend. It was VERY special. Thank you Kerry for all the long hours, days,and weeks, you put into the weekend. Thank you Anna N for being the DETAIL person, you were a tremendous help. Thanks to everyone at the college for breakfast, lunch and that spectacular dinner. Thank you Steve and John for your help and all of these wonderful pics. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and putting faces to names. :smile: It was a pleasure to be with such a great group of people.

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John, thanks for those tips on slabbing ganache and backing the molded chocolates. That's exactly the sort of information I was hoping to get out of this conference! Now I just have to buy some rulers.

One thing we noticed when unmolding our chocolates was that some of the backs didn't really adhere to the shells, and it was suggested that you could remedy this by hitting the filled shells with a heat gun before backing them. What do you think of that technique? Is it acceptable, or poor form?

And Steve, I would certainly be interested in attending next year if I can, and I'm hoping I'll have gained a fair bit more experience by then. Obviously, this year's location was much more convenient for me, but I don't object in principle to flying through DC.

Edit: And thanks to everyone for the great photos! I don't think I captured anything that hasn't already been shown, so I'll leave the photos to those with the better cameras and photography skills. :wink:


Edited by mkayahara (log)

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Thanks so much to everyone who's posted info and pictures. It's great to see all of the creations. It must have been so much fun to get together. It's evident from the smiles! :smile:

I have a few questions about techniques...

1) John, you showed a photo of a bowl done with splatter. Did you spray the balloon with splatter and then dip? It's great!

2) Steve, I love your dome! You mentioned splatter and 'void' techniques. What is the void technique? I imagine it refers to the line with no splatter going across the dome? Do you pipe in that line before splattering?

3) I absolutely LOVE the Kerry technique of piping contrasting chocolate over just enrobed chocolates to create lines that aren't raised. Ilana (Lior) and I have been trying to figure out that technique (of getting the lines down the sides) so it's quite fun to see it here! Is there any trick to getting the lines down the sides of the bonbon? Do you think this technique can be done (efficiently!) with hand dipping? I can't think of how...

Thanks!

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John, thanks for those tips on slabbing ganache and backing the molded chocolates. That's exactly the sort of information I was hoping to get out of this conference! Now I just have to buy some rulers.

One thing we noticed when unmolding our chocolates was that some of the backs didn't really adhere to the shells, and it was suggested that you could remedy this by hitting the filled shells with a heat gun before backing them. What do you think of that technique? Is it acceptable, or poor form?

And Steve, I would certainly be interested in attending next year if I can, and I'm hoping I'll have gained a fair bit more experience by then. Obviously, this year's location was much more convenient for me, but I don't object in principle to flying through DC.

Edit: And thanks to everyone for the great photos! I don't think I captured anything that hasn't already been shown, so I'll leave the photos to those with the better cameras and photography skills.  :wink:

Matt,

I'm going to be getting some rulers cut at the metal supermarket for Kyle - let me know if you want me to get you some too. I'm also going to get him a sink cutout for a marble slab - let me know if you want one.

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Thanks so much to everyone who's posted info and pictures.  It's great to see all of the creations.  It must have been so much fun to get together.  It's evident from the smiles! :smile:

I have a few questions about techniques...

1)  John, you showed a photo of a bowl done with splatter.  Did you spray the balloon with splatter and then dip?  It's great!

2)  Steve, I love your dome!  You mentioned splatter and 'void' techniques.  What is the void technique?  I imagine it refers to the line with no splatter going across the dome?  Do you pipe in that line before splattering?

3)  I absolutely LOVE the Kerry technique of piping contrasting chocolate over just enrobed chocolates to create lines that aren't raised.  Ilana (Lior) and I have been trying to figure out that technique (of getting the lines down the sides) so it's quite fun to see it here!  Is there any trick to getting the lines down the sides of the bonbon?  Do you think this technique can be done (efficiently!) with hand dipping?  I can't think of how...

Thanks!

The balloon was done by Ruth who teaches at the college - she splattered the balloon with the Fuji spray gun, then dipped.

The 'void' is done by wiping off the coloured cocoa butter spray with a Q-tip.

The trick with the lines was done on the Selmi - as soon as the bonbon comes out from under the shower of chocolate, you drizzle the chocolate - the tapper that removes the excess chocolate causes everything to blend like that. I think we turned the blower off or at least down.

Hand dipping - I guess you drizzle then tap - might be a two man (woman) operation.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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Matt,

I'm going to be getting some rulers cut at the metal supermarket for Kyle - let me know if you want me to get you some too.  I'm also going to get him a sink cutout for a marble slab - let me know if you want one.

Sure, that'd be great! What sizes do you recommend? Greweling seems to use both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch widths, so would it be best to get a set of each?

Strangely, we already have a marble slab, so we're covered in that respect. Thanks!

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Matt,

I'm going to be getting some rulers cut at the metal supermarket for Kyle - let me know if you want me to get you some too.  I'm also going to get him a sink cutout for a marble slab - let me know if you want one.

Sure, that'd be great! What sizes do you recommend? Greweling seems to use both 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch widths, so would it be best to get a set of each?

Strangely, we already have a marble slab, so we're covered in that respect. Thanks!

I've been talking to his mom about getting a set of 1/2 inch, and a set of 1/2 by 1/4 inch. With those I pour the first layer with the rulers set at 1/4 inch, then turn them on their 1/2 inch side for the next layer.

And there is enough weight in the 1/4 by 1/2 to prevent movement.

I like to cut 2 to 12 inches and 2 to 8 inches, but let me know if you'd prefer all 12 inches.


Edited by Kerry Beal (log)

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Thanks so much to everyone who's posted info and pictures.  It's great to see all of the creations.  It must have been so much fun to get together.  It's evident from the smiles! :smile:

I have a few questions about techniques...

1)  John, you showed a photo of a bowl done with splatter.  Did you spray the balloon with splatter and then dip?  It's great!

2)  Steve, I love your dome!  You mentioned splatter and 'void' techniques.  What is the void technique?  I imagine it refers to the line with no splatter going across the dome?  Do you pipe in that line before splattering?

3)  I absolutely LOVE the Kerry technique of piping contrasting chocolate over just enrobed chocolates to create lines that aren't raised.  Ilana (Lior) and I have been trying to figure out that technique (of getting the lines down the sides) so it's quite fun to see it here!  Is there any trick to getting the lines down the sides of the bonbon?  Do you think this technique can be done (efficiently!) with hand dipping?  I can't think of how...

Thanks!

The balloon was done by Ruth who teaches at the college - she splattered the balloon with the Fuji spray gun, then dipped.

The 'void' is done by wiping off the coloured cocoa butter spray with a Q-tip.

The trick with the lines was done on the Selmi - as soon as the bonbon comes out from under the shower of chocolate, you drizzle the chocolate - the tapper that removes the excess chocolate causes everything to blend like that. I think we turned the blower off or at least down.

Hand dipping - I guess you drizzle then tap - might be a two man (woman) operation.

Thanks Kerry!

For the drizzley lines technique, Ilana (Lior!) had the idea to place the bonbons on a sheet attached to a dental vibrator to get the same effect with hand dipping. It's worth a try!

Now I have to figure out a way to get a sheet pan to stay on the vibrator...

:hmmm:

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