What courses would you like to see

Mark Heim
09/13/15 16:39:15
101 posts


I am a retired confectioner (40+ years), now consulting, and a member of the PMCA Education Committee.  PMCA currently offers several courses during the year on a variety of topics, some of them I have led or taught.  However they are targeted more for the larger companies.  So they get very technical, including the chemistry behind the confections, covering the basic confectioney forms a large company would use, and also cover equipment for mass production.  We have had several artisan confectioners attend in the past but their major complaint is that the course is too technical, too much time spent on industrial sized equipment, and a lack of time spent on how to generate their own new ideas and artisinal techniques. 


We are now looking to offer courses geared more to the artisan confectioners by limiting the chemistry, eliminating production equipment discussion, and offer more into what an artisinal shop owner would be more interested in such as how to make more varieties of a particular confection, understanding what makes it work and how to alter your way.  Also to reduce the course length (to reduce cost) from 4-5 days to maybe 3.  As an example a caramel course would be more on unique ingredient use, forms, and techniques they could use to achieve color, function, and texture.  It would have about 3/4 or more of the time hands on making these products.  However they would have instructors who could explain the "why" of how things do or do not work as they have the fundamental chemistry knowledge as well as artisinal techniques.


I am looking for your ideas on what would make your ideal course:

- confectionery types / topics / depth / length

In other words, looking for your help to design courses that would be of the most value to the artisan.

This is your chance to help design what you want rather than try to find something close to it.

Thank you

Mark Heim



Daniel Herskovic
09/14/15 11:33:41
132 posts

Great Question Mark,

I have heard great things about you so I know I would love to take one of these classes.  Some subjects that I would love to see are the following:

1. Panning for the artisan

2. Artisan Candy Bars

3. Sugar Confections -- toffee, nougat, lollipops, marshmallow, etc...

Where would you host these classes? Do you know approximately how much they would cost to attend?


Thank you!!!



Mark Heim
09/14/15 20:38:12
101 posts

Panning for the artisan, would it be just chocolate, but include decoration techniques?  Such as river stone or marbling?

Artisan candy bars, what kind of centers are you thinking about?  Maybe ganache or a nut praline as a component?  Croquant?  Baked biscuit or wafer? 

Where hosted would most likely be at a culinary school, locations could be anywhere.

Cost would be determined mostly by how long, but costs a small shop could afford is part of what I'm looking for.  PMCA starts their cost at where they would break even, not looking to make money, but money they do make they put back into the industry for things like scholarships.

Thank you for your input.

09/15/15 06:25:54
54 posts

Hi Mark,

Where is the location where you give your courses, online or at physical location? City/State?

I am interested in the subjects that Daniel mentioned Panning (Coffee/Nuts/Fruits and Jordan Almonds) and Candy making (Caramel, Ganache, Praline, Croquant, Nougat), in addition to that I am interested in the chemical composition of chocolate (specialty chocolate) and mainly in best practices of making chocolate without soy lecithin in addition to temperature/humidity controls of room/chocolate/mold (including mold cleaning techniques) to achieve the best shine and shelf life.



updated by @tonny: 09/15/15 06:29:21
Mark Heim
09/15/15 22:42:17
101 posts

Thank you for your areas of interest. 

Locations can be anywhere in the country.  Most have been on the east coast but typically wherever a host company offers, as long as they have the facilities and equipment to give everyone the hands on experience they are looking for.  There has been a lot of interest in offering courses in the west.  Their largest obstical has been in finding more than one or two host companies that can and are willing to do this, however these classes, being designed for the artisan rather than industry, we will be looking at culinary schools and the like, expanding the possibilities.  And depending on interest, they would try to be closer to where people live, ideally offered in more than one location.

Again, what I'm looking for here is what you would look for, what they would need to offer, how best to do it, time of course, and consider the concerns and desires of the artisan.  So all your ideas, suggestions, concerns will be a great help as we don't want to start by assuming what you would want.  Letting you tell us.

Thank you again. 

Daniel Herskovic
09/16/15 10:30:00
132 posts

Hi Mark,

In terms of panning, I am most interested in chocolate panning versus something like jelly beans. I would be very interested to learn about coloring and decoration techniques.

For candy bars, caramel and other crunchy elements would be really nice. When you say biscuit, are you referring to a shortbread or something like a kit kat? Both of those sound great to me.

Toffee is something that a lot of artisan chocolatiers sell. There is not a whole lot of information on the science of getting that perfect texture. That could be a great subject too.

Keep us posted!






09/17/15 10:18:53
754 posts

Mark - it may be worthwhile to suggest a course on cocoa microbiological food safety for the artisinal bean to bar maker.  If that emerging industry can't self regulate, the FDA will do it for them, which nobody wants.

Sally Cook
11/03/15 14:42:07
6 posts

Trying to find some thing like this in the UK , would probably fly to the U.S. for it.

very little available here apart from callebaut courses and I'm looking for something more in depth .

Does anyone recommend or have any experience of the valrhona week long course ?

11/04/15 10:15:27
110 posts

I'd like to learn more about caramel making as well as panning and cream centers.


Jason Mancillas
12/11/15 09:20:59
1 posts

Interested as long as the class is in the US. 


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