I'm looking for the best schools for chocolate, specifically artistic chocolate. Please let me know what you think and what the school's specialty is.
updated by @rebecca-wamsley: 04/09/15 02:51:07PM
Best chocolate school
Ecole Chocolat's intensive chocolate making programs and Chocolatier classes prepare you to find your place in the retail or wholesale chocolate industry. Whether you aspire to work for yourself or in a professional organization, our chocolate school's specialized curriculum is just what you need.* How do we teach chocolate making online?* Read about our instructors* Student testimonialsAlthough the Professional Chocolate Making Program is online, you won't be out there all by yourself. You'll be working with the instructor while interacting with your classmates - sharing information, accomplishments and expertise. Our 9 years of experience in award winning university-level online education ensures that your learning experience is comprehensive and enjoyable.____________________
The artistic part is what you, yourself add after studying and refining good basic techniques. The techniques are taught by Callebaut Academy, Ecole Chocolat in their Masters courses, Notter School, CIA in NY, ICE and various workshops with people like Andrew Schotts, Jin Caldwell or a host of other accomplished chocolatiers. I personally see more "artistic" chocolate being done in the US. Many of the schools, such as Callebaut have international instructors so I wouldn't presume Europe is better. A Good solid foundation is required no matter what.
I agree that practice will take you wherever you want to go, but there is nothing like a real school experience. So much trial and error is shaved off; and watching how things are made is invaluable (especially if this is your first time working with chocolate).Jeff, don't make it sound like working with chocolate is that piece of (chocolate) cake - it gets complicated once you get to the "whys" behind it :-)
I didnt mean to belittle the school experience. By all means, take classes if they are what you can afford. My comment is one one based on personal experience. Trial and error are part an parcel of the game., even with school. I have never taken a class. I built my business from the ground up through experimentation. I probably SHOULD have taken classes. Alas that is not to be for me; old dog, new tricks.
thank you...but really...I am just another fucked up hippie with a good job....I have, in no particular order, been:a chefa commercial fishermana tye dye makera janitora musiciana B&B ownera caterera burger flippera radio program directora radio personalitya roadiea band managera farmera dishwashera political analysta actora singera pofessional slackera deckhandbeing a famous chocolatier is just one more position that was neither planned on, nor executed with anything more than a dream and the ability to incur massive debt.so....for those of you who admire people like me, just remember the words of the immortal dr.frankenfurter:"Dont dream it, Be it!"
I assume you don't have to go to school to be some of the things you have been...but do you have to have done them in order to be chocolatier? If so, I have less hope of success. What have we others done? For me:waitresshostess at restauranthigh school teacherholistic masseusepolitical analyst (amateur)momstudentpsychocolgisteternal autodidactgardeneraromatherapy (amateur)Or is annoying mom with hippie-like behaviour the key?Can I order chocolate?
I have a chocolate school here in beautiful Burlington Vermont. No more than 2 people at a time. Why only 2; because I prefer to give a hands-on personal class. In other schools, students spend a lot of time watching demos and getting very little hands on experience. Not only that, but they have to crowd around the table craning their necks to see what the instructor is doing. That also means that many students don't want to ask questions fearing that they may look foolish. I have had a number of students who have already taken classes with the big culinary/chocolate institutions, only to come away with very little knowledge and frustration. Many of my students have gone on to open their own successful chocolate shops.Since I do not pad my classes with a lot of superfluous information, beginner and advanced classes run two days. Yes, I said two days. Not only do my students get hands on experience, but we also have a lot of fun. After the classes are over I am then always available online for questions. My students come from all over the country and also get to enjoy beautiful Vermont.Students are given resources so that they have all the tools and contacts they will need. sweetonvermont.com
Well Jeff, at least you don't fit the stereotype of stuck-up, aren't I just wonderful chocolatier.Here's my story. Born and raised in Johannesburg. Came to the USA in 1976. Tasted a Hershey bar and spat it out. My Mom was a chocolate lover way back when. So I grew up eating good sweets and chocolates...imported and local.I "fell into" chocolate in 1984, when a friend of a friend had recently married. His Mom(in Wisconsin) made some sort of confection with peanut butter. So he wanted to sell them in Manhattan. It was perfect timing as the gourmet food shops were beginning to sprout up everywhere. However, he wasn't into sales. So I did. At that time he was a struggling actor. His part time job was driving Peggy Lee to her nightly Broadway show. He had her limo and would drive me to drop off the orders. For those of you too young to know about Peggy Lee; she was a famous jazz singer.Anyway, to continue. I started building orders and he didn't want to "sit at home making chocolate." So we split the few hundred bucks we had and I went on my journey. I began to dabble with truffle. There was no internet in those days AND there were no microwaves either (I feel like a relic). So I took myself off to the New York City Library. All I could find was Candy Industry, but it was a gold mine. I taught myself how to temper chocolate and since I have always had an inquiring mind and have never been afraid to tackle anything, I was on my way. Schlepping my big brown bags of boxes of truffles on the subway to stores, and hotels. I was in my early 30's and had lots of enthusiasm and energy. Most people didn't know what a truffle was back then. Then I moved to Vermont in 1991. I got reviews in many publications including the New York Times, Business Week and more. However, I had no desire to open a shop. I have a lot of freedom that way. Besides I couldn't stand to watch stuff get stale as it does when sitting in counters or in boxes. Most of my business is wholesale and the rest comes from my website. When I say it's freshly made, you can be assured it's freshly made within a week of shipping. I have conducted many taste tests and I find that just about all of them are lousy. Stale and tasteless or stale and tasting like cheap perfume. The industry is filled with big egos whose prices are through the roof, but the quality and freshness is under par n my opinion. I was most definitely the first (1996)to come out with a range of chocolate bars; my Mooonlight in Vermont in 8 varieties. The packaging is unique and whimsical. And I think that 13 years and still growing, it has stood the test of time. Everything is made by hand. The almond bars have whole almonds which cannot be done by machine, that's why you get crushed almonds in all other bars.I am glad to hear that Jeff is a down to earth "character" like myself. My next endeavor is to play around with bean to bar. For relaxation I am a lampworker. I make glass beads. Only in the winter, since it would be unbearable to sit at a torch that's around a gazillion degrees, beside a kiln that's around 1000F. I am also a poet and writer and am working on my memoir of growing up in South Africa So there you have my story. Come visit, come take a class with me. Linda
Well, I can teach you how to make artistic chocolate. However, my belief is that the eating experience is far more important. Truffles for instance got their name from the fungus. Therefore, square pieces with decorative transfer sheets are not truffles. They are squares filled with ganache. The ratio of ganache to the shell is small. You need to be able to sink your teeth into a truffle and get the full experience of savoring texture and taste. The texture of the ganache is important. Not runny or gooey and not hard either. Craig wrote about me on seriouseats.com after he visited Vermont last year. You can see what he said about my truffles.So Jeff, when are you coming to visit me in Vermont. I think we would have a lot of fun and laughter together.Linda
Vermont is gorgeous. Yeah! of course we have a herd of feral hippies and aging formerly raging feminists like moi. Phish heads too? Even though I think some rotted away when Phish disbanded.Pack up your business and move to Vermont. We could have a blast. I'm off the wall and so are you. Interesting about your cheese truffles. I made some in 1996 and people thought I had gone completely out of my mind. What am I an anachronism? So come visit.
taunting me with anachronisms and rotting phishhead flesh might do the trick. I am afraid though that I am stuck here in oregon. the wifey's parents, the tween daughter, the farm, the fishing, theponytail now touching my waist, the lax MM laws-(oh my aching back)-and a firm commitment to having spent my whole life west of the sierra/cascade mountains. All these things combined have shown me that i aint going anywhere accept furthur west. the dream is to return to the south pacific and never comeback. let global warming slowly raise the ocean level over my head on some far off atoll where telecommunications are negligable at best. just drown in fish tacos and barreling reefs breaks.
ps.....you got that sponge candy thing down huh? we fuck with that seasonally and people really dig it. hurts my teeth
Yeah! I do fuck with a lot of stuff. I think I have it down, but it's so unpredictable. The first batch was the best and then it was 4 or 5 batches into the garbage. Finally I got another good batch. Everything has to be tweaked, but that's what I love about this business.Well my friend, you have to at least come and visit Vermont. This was where the first hippies came and settled. This is also the most progressive state. I think what I like is the Yankeeness. Unpretentious people, nothing artificial. No frightening looking humans with their plastic surgery aberrations. Seeing that on TV really makes me feel creepy. We are a small state that has retained it's bucolic feel. You can drive 10 minutes and be in the country side. So, there you have it. Don't go further west, it just gets weirder.I would like to be in Cape Town when the oceans really begin to rise. It's the most beautiful city in the world.... Even now when I look at photos I took when I was there in 1999, I notice one beach in particular that had a gorgeous rock formation is now out in the middle of the ocean. That's really alarming.
I have had such a good time reading this forum this afternoon. I'm tinkering with a berry ganache and just decided that the flavor profile isn't right and should start over. Personally, I have been going to the school of hard knocks this past month doing exactly what Jeff recommended. Uh, minus the tempering machine, much as I crave it. There is no substitute for making errors and figuring out how to fix them. Though I would like to find a class that deals with spoilage (you know, bacteria, air, hygroscopy and such) and artistic elements that's somewhere in the midwest. Anyone have any ideas? The Callebaut class in Chicago would have been nice but I can't make it on those dates. I prefer hands on stuff. Does the internet class have videos at least? Or is it all lecture/question/answer/research format.Oh, and BTW Jeff, Vermont IS a stunner. I spent a week biking around the state in the '70's and it is a conservative hippy paradise. Someday I'll make it to Oregon to compare. I would have entered the Oregon apprentice contest recently but didn't hear about it until too late. Good videos on YouTube. Your store looked great too.
Hi Beth: Glad you enjoyed Vermont in the 70's. Obviously it has changed a lot, but still retains it's beauty. Luckily for our ACT 250 which does not allow construction that would interfere with our overall way of life. No strip malls, no big ugly signs on our highways. All commercial buildings have to conform to strict codes.As for a class, you'll just have to come back east. Did you read my postings above? I give hands on classes...no more than 2 people. You can check out my website or you can call me. The number is on the site. Linda www.sweetonvermont.com
I ordered a box of sponge candy from very well known company in Buffalo NY -- supposed to be the home of sponge candy. Well, it was bloody awful and I mean AWFUL. The texture was good, but it was flavorless and left a bitter aftertaste. On top of that it came in a lovely box, but once opened what a shock. Two sealed plastic (not cello) bags of the sponge candy, some cracked, crumbs of chocolate; How unappealing; and the chocolate was really gross. So, that's my two cents and I feel kinda ripped off. We tossed it in the garbage.
I might have to take a trip to Oregon. I too have an aching back; my shoulders are killing me, my neck is out of wack and so is my brain. I am sure that Vermont will pass that law one of these days as well as the AS. My memory is totally fucked....runs in the family...so there I go down lala land. Anyone interested in buying a great little chocolate company in Burlington Vermont? No kidding. sweetonvermont.com
you go beth. Its a bitch learning the hard way and I did temper by hand for awhile and then just pulled the trigger on a REVII...ha!...I made thousands of truffles with that bad boy...then a REVX, then a Hilliard 6" coater....now its a 24' wcsmith enrober, a 1000lb national over/under melter temperer, a 250lb savage(for milk), and a old 100lb smith melter(for white)...we run 4 REVX's all day everyday for small batch and use the hilliard for molding....no one shot....all hand poured...I used to make my own fondant too...but thats dumb....although we are coveting a 3' cream beater to make it with now as the price of finished sugar has gone up....glad you saw the cuisineternship vids....the stuff they cut out of the promo was the best...me and gabe had a ball....but neither of us have a filter and the producers were cringing hard every two minutes...you mean you cant say "Thanks for lettin me play with your hot nuts" on TV???? who knew....
Well Linda, Vermont is mighty tempting. But only in the summer. And Jeff, all those toys you have must be a blast, but they would hardly fit in my tiny rental apartment. For the time being my batches are teeny tiny. At least I've gotten to the point where I don't feel I have to eat all the mistakes! I now share with the trash. But maybe once I get my act together and go public I'll buy a few toys too.......But first I have to fix this ganache.
Hi Beth: Did you read my whole story that I posted yesterday about how I began making chocolate? Way before internet way before microwaves, way before the only chocolate Americans ate were Hershey (puke) bars.Here's how you start....JUST DO IT.......that was coined by a woman whose name I forget. She was a marketing genius back in the early '80s...then Nike took that slogan. So, don't worry about the small stuff...just do your thing. And don't worry about the size of your batches. Do you have a chocolate thermometer? If not get one. I have a bunch of machinery,but hand tempering is an art and if machines fail, you still have your two hands. 2 Hilliard 240lb tempering machines, Savage Bros. cooker with cooling table, Doboy flow wrapper and a host of other toys that I made myself. I love tinkering.. If you need more info and support, you can email me directly to talk or call me....email email@example.com phone 802-862-5814 or in the eve my home phone is 802-862-3412. Hang in there. Linda
oh....man....a cooling table?? Like a water jacketed one??? drool in envy....we went to a friend, he made us a 6' long 4' wide 3" thick polished granite slab....its a good heat sink....heavy though...and beth? I started in my small house kitchen too. I am on my 4 th facility in 7 years........DONT DREAM IT, BE IT!!!!
Yes a water jacketed one....both kettle and table brand new from Savage. You can get one right now from Union....I just got an email from them with a list of stuff and the one they have looks to be in great condition. Do you know Jim and John Greenberg?I want to taste some of your chocs....truffles and bon bons....send me some and I'll send you some of mine....although we won't begin making truffles until mid November for Thanksgiving. Lindaloo
updated by @linda-grishman: 06/15/15 12:35:15PM
updated by @linda-grishman: 06/15/15 12:35:15PM
I bought a brand new kettle years ago....yes I have dealt with jim and john....nice guys....overpriced...but nice guys....they have a habit of going to the auctions, buying shit up at ridiculously low prices and turning it around for 3 x what they paid for it without doing fuck all to the equipment to refurbish it.....no fault of theirs...capitalism at work....but still....I aam not dumbbut I digress....