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Report: eG Chocolate and Confectionery Conference 2010

Kerry Beal

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What an amazing weekend! I learned so much that my head is spinning with new ideas. Thanks to Kerry, I will be tempering and molding chocolates with new confidence. Thanks to Steve for his patience guiding my hand to the proper technique to fill the molds. Thanks to everyone for sharing your wealth of knowledge to a newbie.

Thank you Steve for all of your planning. Everything was perfect!


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I don't think I'll post the red thai curry with lychee and pineapple PDF recipe quite yet - think it needs a little tweaking first (or perhaps just binning). I'll try it again making my own paste sans garlic and see if the result is a little more acceptable.

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Wow, what a fabulous weekend !!! I have met so many wonderful new friends and colleagues. The past three days have been an amazing learning experience. As requested, I am trying to pinpoint one thing I have learned .... impossible because I have learned soooo much. Brilliant idea to cover your tempering machines with cello for easy clean-up. Special thanks to Erica for showing me some great decorating and painting techniques, Bob and Steve for all your help and insight, I really need to thank all who attended because I can honestly say I learned something from each and everyone of you. The ease and comfort level in the work seminars was something I have never experienced with any other group. I feel very privileged to have been a part of this weekend. Steve, you did an amazing job of organizing and executing the conference. (also thanks for assigning my new name PLUS ONE )

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Thanks for the kind words everyone! Im okay, and my passenger is just a bit sore, but no worse for the wear. I did find it hard not to shove the whole shoebox of chocolates down the guy's throat, but I think the cops on the scene could already tell I was highly agitated and they were trying to keep us separated as much as possible. The pics are great, and the chocolates looked awesome! The red thai curry/pineapple piece sounds very interesting!

What I learned from the conference? Fly next year! :biggrin:

Edited by pringle007 (log)

"It only hurts if it bites you" - Steve Irwin

"Whats another word for Thesaurus?" - Me

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Thanks to everyone - especially Steve & Kerry! I came away with more thoughts and great ideas than I can ever act upon - but even if I can filter out and make some progress with just the top 5% of them it wil have been more than worthwhile for business. It was already worthwhile personally - meeting the new attendees and reconnecting with the repeaters.

The one best thing for me was Caramel Balls dipped and rolled in nut or other coating. Some recipe experimentation and shelf-life analysis awaits me. We'll bring the final product to next year's event.

It'll be nice to head home - but it has been very relaxing to "disconnect" from our busy routine. Today, we decompressed afterwards with a short nap and and then took a meandering drive towards DC down the Clara Barton Pkwy. We strolled the banks of the Potomac and drove down embassy row. For dinner we lucked out by being hungry and observant at the same time - we happend across what must be a DC favorite - Fantastic Tex-Mex at Cactus Cantina on Wisconsin Ave. We'll be back there again for sure next time we're down this way.

Sweet Dreams everyone!

It is in exchanging the gifts of the earth that you shall find abundance and be satisfied - Kahlil Gibran


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First of all, Steve did an AMAZING job planning.

Here's my mental notes. I am sure some are wrong.

Will post pics and vids later.

day 1, demos with chef Amanda Haba and Chef Briea Nathan

of Albert Uster.


- they used convection oven. no mention of leaving door

open a crack or anything like that.

- Chef Haba tried lots of recipes, had lots of failures.

Kind of reassuring, actually.

Like this recipe she gave, almost fool proof. Somebody mentioned

PH. Supposedly, somebody who has worked in PH's shop said

he does not use the recipe in 'Patisserie'

nor the one in 'Macaron'

- Asked about whites. Chef Haba said she will take out whites

morning of (rather than days before or week before)

- making of italian meringue - Incorporation was slow,

mixer speed was medium or so (not high). vs. Fast incorporation

and high RPM. At one point, felt bowl was too cold, used torch

to heat it up and correct, preventing syrup

from sticking to sides.

- To mix dry, used food processor instead of sifting technique.

- Chef Nathan likes to use a scraper to make Meringue/nut paste.

Better feel of dough, better control of process.

- Favor silpats over parchment.

- Piping Macaroon Dough - pipe, stop piping, circular motion,

finish going forward. Maybe not totally going forward, but think that way -

pulling backward gives unwanted peaks in dough. Chef Nathan

uses middle finger in off-piping hand to gauge distance from

silpat. Piping too close = no feet on macaroon.

Chocolate airbrushing

- Albert Uster has a nice luster dust spray product

- with airbrushes, cocoa butter should go in at 95 F, which will come out

at 85. Going in hotter than 95 will result in runny airbrush

effect. Used an infrared reader to measure temperature, decreasing

messiness by a lot.

- when doing finger technique, temperature not as important

because finger will create temper

- Be sure to keep the airbrush warm - If you need to cool it,

do not put airbursh into the fridge along with jar.

- Immediately after airbrushing, wipe mold face down against

a paper towel to clean. This prevents cocoa butter

from getting into the chocolate (extra important for white chocolate).

Chocolate filling

- They did not go over tempering, they had tempered chocoalte available.

- Used standard ladle filling technique.

- In absence of vibrating table, used a more violent rocking technique to air out bubbles.

After filling, rocked hard back and forth, then turned mold 90 degrees asn

rocked hard back and forth. Much more active and noisy than

just rapping it against the table or tapping it a few times.

- After dumping, Chef nathan uses a scraping angle where you are pushing excess out

(vs pulling) with the spatula.

Ganaches -

- We asked about tempered vs. non tempered chocolate. Chef Haba did

not feel strongly that you needed tempered chocolate to make ganache.

- their chocolate salted caramel recipe subbed ~10% milk for cream.

Chef Haba said for fat % reasons.

- They used immersion blender for all ganache

- when using jam/marmalade + ganache, jam/marmalade goes first.

- After piping, they wait for 24h for evaporation. This prevents

gap between ganache and bottom, better for shelf stability.

did not take extensive notes at capping or popping out stage.

lab work

thermometers - reinforced that IR thermometers are the way to go.

Going to get one on ebay for sure.

On overseeding the melt- Steve: It's above 80, it will melt.

Kerry - Immersion blender. Can strain if necessary (we strained

as immersion blender was in use and we were short on time).

On overfilling molds. Kerry - use finger to get out

On gaps after backing - Kerry: To prevent, vibrate more after backing.

Can repair in variety of ways.

On dipping: Jim (form Steve): Wicked 'hard', almost redipping

the piece, where surface tension helps pull off excess chocolate.

Much faster than vibrating it by hand or wicking just the very

bottom off, with no loss in finished product.

Chris: use cake cutter wire to scrape bottom of praline.

Kerry: Not necessary to use knife to scrape top of praline

(as I saw once on food network competition).

Fruit purees, my opinions. Steve brought 4 and we tried

them all. Frozen Raspberry puree and passion fruit were not superior

to a good frozen raspberry at whole foods or passion fruit concentrate

in chinatown. Cherry and mango were definitely superior to whole foods frozen equivalents,

For me, still not worth it for chocolate work, but possibly worth it for pastry work.

flavor preferences. Taste really subjective.

Example: mango bonbon that we made .

Susan loves it, Mary and I think alcohol is strong,

Chris and Jim hate it (too much mango).

For me, reminder of two things:

1. taste is subjective even among experienced chocolatiers

2. a reminder to pay attention to molding and shelling technique

since unlike taste, technique is universal. Kind of like

playing defense in basketball - even if offense is up and down,

defense is consistent.

- shelling, after dumping out excess chocolate

Uster Chefs liked to put mold face down to create a lip.

Some egullet'ers like it on side. Tried both ways. I felt lip makes things later

easier (piping, capping), but face down reduces margin of error on shelling.

I thought putting on side was safer overall, and did not create a pool

of chocolate on the bottom. Pluses and minuses of both.

- Tried out single-use polycarbonate use that has cocoa butter

print on the inside. Donated by Linnea's.


Mold is floppy, so hard to use. I did not have the skill to use it.

Did give a great marble effect though that was accidental.

It should've been hearts, instead it looked like realy nice marble.

Kerry figured out it was from chocolate melting the cocoa butter

and the vibration smearing it. Pictures are taken, will post.

- Did not like the smell of any of the oils except for mints.

- Events of day 1 was reminder that mis en place is much

more important in unfamiliar kitchen and with unfamilir equipment

and unfamiliar recipes. At home, everything is second nature and error correction

is easy. In new kitchen with new equipment, margins are much smaller.

- Jim and I struggled to make a wet caramel at the scale of Schott's

book. We quadrupled the recipe on Steve's suggestion.

In future, we would make dry caramel or quadruple recipe.

- Steve recommends a perpendicular angle when scraping into bowl

(different technique from the Uster chefs)

- For molds, Steve recommends piping at lower tempeatures approaching 80(chocolate melts at 80),

Mike seemed to like 85 or so. I tried lower temperatures and higher temperatures with

the same ganache this day and have to admit

I still like piping at 88-90 or so in a cool room.

Don't know what others's experiences are here.

- Learned a neat airbrush concept from Mike on white chocolate.

Idea was to use an ivory cocoa butter, which is just enough contrast

with white chocolate and gave it a really nice pop. I would

not have thought white-ish on white would work so well.

- Also learned a good reminder from Mike to pay more attention to temper

technique in a foreign kitchen. Technique and error correction that is second nature

and automatic in your own kitchen is not so in new kitchen.

- Tried both giant revolation temperer and mol d'art, still think Mol d'art is easier to use.

day 2 talk

- Steve had nice easy way to think of preservation from Wybauw.

Wybauw's ideal ganache is 1:1 choco:cream. Remove some cream, add butter, increase shelf life. now add glucose (invert), increase shelf life. You're at 4-6 weeks now.

Now add sorbitol, increase shelf life again. Now add alcohol, you can get up to a year.

Wybauw didn't run AW experiments, so is not a rigorous study. But nice qualitative way to undersatnd it.

- Somebody (forget who) objected a little, shelf life (safe) vs. shelf life (taste) are not the same.

- Steve showed Shott's taste combo table. Then pointed out rosemary+caramel

is not one Shotts lists as OK, but many people use it (Elbow I think?). So taste

is subjective. Chris mentions a book, the flavor bible (?), where author goes through

flavor combinations and say what worked.

- Talked about the importance of naming. Steve had a "bananas foster" that nobody would try. But we couldn't imagine that "banana" or "banana caramel" or "banana rum" would have problems. But they're similar things. Hypothesis was that 'bananas foster' is an old dessert that nobody has anymore and nobody is familiar with it.


- Gold leaf on molded pieces - from Kerry. INstead of carefully

unfolding and putting in mold, use static electricity to 'stick'

it to the top after unmolding.

- Fruit powder can be substituted for luster dust for color.

Flavor is strong enough to give flavor.

- discussion on coloring molded pieces. Erica wanted to change things up

but customers still think blue = lavender and red = raspberry.

Mixing up colors ends up confusing customers.

Many note that airbrushing really attracts customer, taste

is sometimes secondary. Reminiscent of classic dilemma in the arts of

'artist' vs 'practical'. Mention that molds can be used

to reveal insides - examples coffee bean molds, cherry mold, etc...

- Kerry mentions one chocolatier who distinguishes flavors

by 2 dots. Every single chocolate uses the same mold, just

the two dots difference. lame - o.

- discussion of whether you sell stuff you don't like.

Steve says no - it's part of his value added artisanal story.

Others (I missed who) says yes. Example (I think): doesn't like cardamom,

but for people in other parts of world, no alcohol, cardamom is

a more familiar spice, why not?

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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PSANTUCC- you also learned there is another forum member who not only knows what Xtabentun is, but also loves it as much as you do... LOL - That xtabentun/mocha truffle was truly dangerous!

Alright, I confess - THAT'S my favorite thing I learned!

Here's some information for those not yet fully converted to the way of Xtabentún:


My linkhttp://www.cancun.com/Editorial/Xtabentun/

I love the myth behind the drink - I've never read anything else like it.

Little surprises 'round every corner, but nothing dangerous

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Now that I finally got to attend a conference, got to meet some amazing people, and experienced first hand what the concept of the conference is all about, my mind is racing with thoughts and topics to suggest for next years conference. When I get them firmed up in my head, I will share them with the group.

I'm still on a 'high' over the weekend - or...is that the sugar rush???

One thing though can NOT be said enough - Thank you Steve for putting on such an awesome weekend.

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OK, back home now and sorting through the 1500 photos that my wife took. As promised, I'll try to only post the flattering ones: anyone looking for blackmail material please contact me to discuss the price 'cuz I've got plenty :raz: . (Seriously, I have a lot more photos than I'm posting, so if you have any particular requests I can dig through the files and see what I've got).

OK, day one: Albert Uster Imports, where Assistant Pastry Chef Amanda Haba and her assistant Briea Nathan demoed some molded chocolates, macarons, and a showpiece.

First, Amanda and Briea broke out the big guns to pulverize something for the macarons:


Briea mixed the macaron batter together, doing the final incorporation by hand:


Here's a shot of the texture of the macaron batter once mixed:


We had quite the crowd for the AUI event, as you can see:


We then got into some hands-on work as Briea and Amanda helped us with our macaron piping technique:


A lot of us took turns piping them, here's Erica while others look on:


Here are the macaron shells after baking:


Pat and Erica watch as Amanda makes the ganache to fill them:


Et viola! We have macarons, simple as... well, simple as letting the pros at Albert Uster do the heavy lifting:


Next up, a quick demo of some molded chocolate decorating techniques. First, some schmearing:


And airbrushing (of chocolates and lungs, as you can see: don't try this at home! Kerry points out that we should all be wearing respirators for this operation.):


Amanda fills the molds:


Next up, the assembly of a small chocolate showpiece. Briea and Amanda may have the coolest job ever here at AUI. Amanda started by making the leaves using an angle palette knife simply dipped in chocolate and the pressed onto parchment:



The parchment is then placed in a tube that has been cut in half to give the leaves a curved shape:


Once set, Briea used those leaves and assembled a small chocolate flower:


They wanted to do a velvet texture on it, so they cooled it down the quickest (and funnest) way possible:


Some airbrushing, some luster dust, and here you have it:


This was a great set of demos, and it was nice to get some hands-on time as well, so thanks very much to the folks at Albert Uster for letting us come over and invade their space for the afternoon. Amanda and Briea were wonderful teachers and I'm personally looking forward to playing around with some of these techniques now that I'm home.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations

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words can not describe the love and respect i have for my eG'ers :)

a favorite thing i learned? well....always have to remember to think outside the box. when you're producing the same thing every day due to what customers expect, its hard to be encouraged or inspired enough to try something new because you're always on a deadline and you need to get things on the floor and what if it doesn't work? (which it usually doesnt the first time or two) but going to the conference and getting a fresh perspective on decorating or flavors or ganache-balancing has been awesome.

i loved learning about the different sugars when it comes to preservation or texture of a ganache, and steve's presentation was amazing and informative and even though i knew one or two things it was amazing how he found something on a subject i THOUGHT i knew, and boom...it takes on a whole new meaning.

i am really encouraged to try those nasty macaroons we love so much too.....the folding technique was super, i can't wait to try (and fail) but try again!!!!!!

anyway, yes, a fresh perspective on flavor and the ganache balancing science was my favorite educational thing and i would LOVE to see this again at the next conference, i don't think we can ever stop learning about these topics.

BUT MY FAVORITE THING WAS ALL OF YOU. i can not tell you how excited i am about our friendships and how supportive we are of each other. besides...you guys are so frickin' fun :)

and super duper love to our newest, plus one :0)

Edited by chocoera (log)
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Darienne, are you asking about this one?


In that one, she's holding a can of "cold spray," which is basically just compressed air I think, that gets cold as you spray it and helps to set the chocolate up. She's using a dab of chocolate on the end of the petals to hold them in place, and the cold spray makes it so she doesn't have to hold it there for several minutes while it sets up on its own. It's the same thing that they are using to cool down the piece in this one:


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations

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The conference was wonderful, so glad that I was able to attend and meet so many interesting people! Thank you Steve for all that you did to make this conference a success.

Truly jazzed that I was able to take Kerry's class, and looking forward to incorporating her lessons every time I work with chocolate. Another great opportunity, working with Plus One and learning to airbrush. What a fun way to color molds!

Glad for the update to Pringle007's initial post, your car damage is quite scary, very glad that you and your passenger are ok.

And a followup... mentioned to someone on the first day of the workshop that I had ordered metal to use for caramel rulers online. The place I ordered from is http://www.onlinemetals.com they will cut to whatever lengths you like.

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Thanks for posting this Chris. For those who attended, I've updated the presentation to fix a few spelling errors, a bit of formatting, and corrected the table of "experiments" in the ganache theory section to include the addition of invert sugar.

If anyone has any questions on the material, please don't hesitate to send me a message.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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For those interested in day 1 demo, here are a bunch of highlights.


- Macaron dough folding technique mentioned by chocoera, answering questions about it.


- correct texture for Macaron dough


- Macaron dough piping by chef Nathan


- Macaron dough piping done by curls, with coaching from Chef Nathan


- correct mixer speed and incorporation technique for Italian Meringue.






11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrtHUKEYWak

12. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyUcheF4WQI

13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wn_G3_MZ6a0

14. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klcVEzdBzjk


16. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4YIEWGNt0I

17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQdOVUlrhZU

18. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IroUXEtPjt4

19. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST8iJu5ErQA

20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMVi-JPDKC0

21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcxLrjmQujQ

22. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ko6fvcegPFE

23. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tpviMphLLQ

24. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3Dk0RHyR0o

25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1opiwtk4DE

Edited by ejw50 (log)
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Beth - Hope you, hubby and puppy are doing OK - Betsy and I've been thinking about you 3.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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Days two and three blend together in the photos, so here they are combined. My wife was taking all of these, so apologies if there are too many of me! :smile:

On the second and third day we used the kitchen and a classroom at L'Academie de Cuisine:


To start the day we had a presentation by 2 Dr. Balu M. Balasubramanian about going from cocoa beans to chocolate liquor, part of the process of going from "bean to bar":


After that, Steve led a discussion on developing new flavor combinations:


As you can see, we hardly had any flavors to experiment with. You know, only a few gajillion...


Hardly any molds, either :wink: -


To get things started, we fired up two melters and two temperers, so one white, one milk, and two dark chocolates. Chocolate was generously donated by the folks at Cargill, whose brands, Wilbur, Peter's, Veliche, and Gerkens, I was not familiar with until we started playing with them. I think we were using the Wilbur, but I'm not positive on that. Here's Eric with one of his melters:


Kerry taught a beginners class while that was going on: here they are opening the box that Lior sent (very quickly!) from Israel:


Now, onto some production shots: here Mary and I discuss the production of a mojito ganache. Getting the amount of lime right proved tricky...


Kelly set to work airbrushing immediately for her exotic creations:


Erica beating the hell out of a mold to get the air bubbles out:


Steve and Jim discussing flavor development (I think... could have been Checkers Burgers, too):


Kelly's class was a big hit, of course. At least, Beth seems to have really enjoyed it:


Susan learning how to mold:


Pat's turn:


And Beth:


Donna learns the finer points of smacking the crap out of a mold to get the air bubbles out:


Kerry likes to teach dipping by using Oreo cookies:


In the other room, Art started up the panning machine:


And we batched out a bunch of shells for later filling:


We learned quickly that a commercial gas burner has a little more "oomph" than the ones at home. Stir faster!


Art offering our photographer a sample:


Mary and Jim tasting Shotts's Salted Caramel Ganache. I believe it met with their approval (it was probably the most successful Shotts flavor of the weekend, in my opinion).


Me pouring on the booze (surprise, surprise):


Jim checks the fill level of the molds:


Mary showing some tricks to one of the culinary students there assisting us (and keeping us from trashing the place :smile:) --


Filling the molds:


The most exotic flavors of the weekend were Kelly's White Pepper bon bons, and her "Caprese" bon bons. Here you can see the sun-dried tomatoes in the Caprese, and the white peppercorn in the others, ready for the ganache:


Jim shows one of the culinary students (whose names I did not catch, I'm sorry!) how the molds get filled:


Erica and Mary check the fill level on the shells:


Beth standing in front of an empty bowl with a guilty-looking grin on her face. Beth, tell me you didn't eat the WHOLE BOWL!!


And that was the end of day one, finishing off with a clean kitchen:


More to come!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations

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Beth standing in front of an empty bowl with a guilty-looking grin on her face. Beth, tell me you didn't eat the WHOLE BOWL!!

HEY! Just the one on the right. Ahem. I learned that I've come farther than I thought and that I need to just jump in with both feet. That there isn't a nicer and more supportive group of people around - which I already knew, but was reinforced in many ways in the short time that I was there.

On another note, Milo is hanging in there for the moment and has made some improvement.

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Thanks, ya'll, for letting me come poke around and ask questions for a few hours on Saturday morning. It was nice to meet some new people and see some cool chocolate stuff. I also learned a helluva lot in a very short amount of time! I'll try to come back and post a link when the story I'm writing about the conference runs.

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speaking of that awwwwwwwwwwwesome salted caramel ganache, um, is anyone allowed to post that recipe with credit to shotts of course? major craving...(hard to believe after only 24 hrs eh?) *darn it, hanging out with Canadians rubs off on you....eh?) :P

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