Forum Activity for @Susie Norris

Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/26/09 11:00:03PM
21 posts

Set up cost of starting a small chocolate business


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hi. You should probably investigate the health department regulations in the area you plan to work. Some states in the US (like California) do not allow commercial food production in home kitchens. This can drive up your costs because you may have to rent commercial kitchen space and/or become a certified food handler. I've worked in California and Massachusetts and found the licensing, certification and kitchen rentals generate several hundred in expenses. Good luck!!
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
03/22/09 12:37:28AM
21 posts

Cleaning polycarbonate molds.


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Where do you find this deionized water...and which part costs $250? Anybody know?
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
03/19/09 01:13:36PM
21 posts

Lindt to close most US Stores


Posted in: News & New Product Press

What I like about Lindt is not so much their boutiques but the availability of their dark bars. It's GOOD to be able to get them at a grocery store or Wal-mart or Target. But here's what I really want: SPRUNGLI! These are the artisan boutiques from the same company in Swizerland that feature really beautiful and really delicious bon bons and pastries. The classics, the innovation, the frills, the quality. We need more of that good stuff in the good ole USA.
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
03/04/09 12:47:07AM
21 posts

Chocolatiers = Re-melters?


Posted in: Opinion

I definitely get a derogatory vibe off "re-melters". She must have been a handful in high school!
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
02/27/09 12:49:12PM
21 posts

HEALING WOUNDED CHOCOLATE MOLDS


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

Good to know. What would you say the maximum shelf life of a polycarbonate molds is, given regular weekly use, a weekly wash with no soap and proper storage (no dust or high heat)?
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
02/27/09 12:39:46AM
21 posts

HEALING WOUNDED CHOCOLATE MOLDS


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

I'll check it out. Gracias.
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
02/26/09 02:51:04PM
21 posts

HEALING WOUNDED CHOCOLATE MOLDS


Posted in: Tech Help, Tips, Tricks, & Techniques

They used to be shiny but now they are dull. I've replaced them with new ones, but there's something about an old polycarbonate mold you've used for years that you never want to let go. How do we restore luster to old molds that are still usable, just a little dinged on the corners and dingy on the inside from detergents or hard water particles? I know we're really not supposed to wash them, especially not with detergent, but sanitation concerns and hasty clean-up have left some damages: the missing shine of my wounded molds. Anybody know a cure?
updated by @Susie Norris: 05/01/15 10:05:49AM
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
01/31/09 12:40:28PM
21 posts

Mixed News From Hershey: Recession is Good - Closing Plants


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Let's consider the phrase "Artisan Confections" - confections made by the hands of artists. Those of us who visited the Scharffen Berger facility, a factory in a funky warehouse in Berkeley with exposed red brick and bottomless samples of perfect hot cocoa, felt the artisan origins of that company. John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg were rebels in the chocolate industry. "Why make your own chocolate?" people routinely asked them in the early days. "Just buy it from a big manufacturer." But Steinberg in particular had a vision - he wanted to make sustainably produced chocolate in small batches the way the artisans he met in Europe made it. When he tells the story (see ESSENCE OF CHOCOLATE BY John Scharffenberger and Robert Steinberg) of his cancer diagnosis, his bittersweet exit from his job as a doctor and his turn to food for inspiration, you'll hear the voice of a very non-corporate guy. He decided to grind fresh beans in his coffee mill at home then melt the paste with a hair dryer and scour trade shows looking for used equipment to bring about a new American chocolate. Did he worry about efficiencies and shipping costs? Absolutely. Scharffen Berger was an extremely successful business. But did those concerns impinge on his product? Not too much, he made a great one.Hershey's, also founded by a visionary, bought the company as a prestige brand with a market niche they didn't control. So they'll close the Berkeley factory for efficiency sake, they'll make good chocolate, much like Steinberg & Scharffenberger made, but something will be missing. The personal choices - Robert pulling twigs out of jute sacks of cocoa beans from Venezuela or proudly smelling the day's batch in the old-fashioned conch machine - will be made by committees and robotic machines. I believe Hersheys will still make a fine chocolate. But the important point is for artisan chocolatiers - those of us poking around cacao plantations, tempering, molding, using our senses, adding a touch of sugar here, a 1/2 ounce of anise there - to continue the personal, unpredictable, passionate, artistic work of guys like Steinberg and Scharffenberger.
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/20/08 10:07:45PM
21 posts

Dutched Valrhona?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Oh, ye of little flavanoid faith!! The gods have given us another reason to rejoice in chocolate (health possibilities) in addition to the ones you so rightly mention (flavor/texture/pleasure). For a conversion possibility, check out this video link from a professor who conducted studies at UC Davis on how cacao flavanoids work and call me in the morning! http://stream.ucanr.org/Nutrition/nutrition_flavanols.html
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/17/08 06:58:33PM
21 posts

Dutched Valrhona?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I just sent you the article from Confectionery News that describes a study on alkalising cocoa from Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. A lot of conflicting data in the chocolate world, so I know what you mean about the loose terminology of "dark chocolate" and "cocoa". Here's another good one - same publication reports a recent study from Virginia on seniors, sponsored by Hershey, that found chocolate actually contributes to hypertension. How can it be both good for the heart and bad??
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/14/08 09:05:26PM
21 posts

Dutched Valrhona?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Does anybody know whether the Valrhona's sublime cocoa powder is dutch-process? I know Scharffen Berger & Hershey make natural cocoa powder, but in light of new reports that dutch-process decreases cocoa's flavanols...I need to know about my Valrhona!
updated by @Susie Norris: 04/13/15 04:29:14PM
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/03/08 01:07:42AM
21 posts

Instructed tasting of Milk Chocolate at the Fancy Food Show on June 29-July 1


Posted in: News & New Product Press

I'll be there. this will be my third visit to the Fancy Food Show in NY and the collection of chocolate companies is pretty good. I just got back from Scharffen Berger in San Francisco. They are making a very fine milk chocolate, don't you think?
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
04/29/08 12:34:13PM
21 posts

Chocolate Chewing Gum?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Wow - Mars and Wrigley are merging and forming a HUGE corporate candy company. Maybe they will finally make us some good chocolate chewing gum - Coco-Doublemint? Snickers Gum Yum? Looks like the big incentive is about global reach. Wrigley was valued at $23 billion with established global brands. So bigger is better for worldwide distribution. But if you are an artisan chocolatier or fresh chocolate afficiando, SMALL pieces of hand-made and hand-decorated chocs are still the jewels of chocolate's treasure chest.
updated by @Susie Norris: 04/13/15 08:58:56AM
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
04/22/08 11:09:06PM
21 posts

American, Bean-to-Bar Chocolate Makers: A Complete List


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I'm adding to the list:GuittardScharffen BergerTheoPatricDevriesAmanoAskinosieTchoMast BrothersOriginal Hawaiian Chocolate Factory (also grows their beans on American soil)TazaTchoRogue ChocolatierBlommerChocolate Haven (Jacques Torres)
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/28/08 07:48:11PM
21 posts

A Gaffe of Amazonian Proportions?


Posted in: Opinion

We've got no midges (tropical gnats) to pollinate the flowers. Oh well. Can't have everything.
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
04/22/08 06:40:40PM
21 posts

A Gaffe of Amazonian Proportions?


Posted in: Opinion

Hahaha! It's dangerous out there in the chocolate "field". I had to research "chocolate massage oil" and the links that popped up!! But on to your point about child labor, the mainstream press picked up the slavery story behind some cacao production a few years back, but the more insidious story of child labor - still accepted in so many developing countries - has not been reported as much. Raises issues of poverty, despair, global incongruities, etc. - headlines that upset our complacent comfort with having lots of food from around the world whenever we want it for not a lot money. But you know all this. I'm working with Transfair & WCF for all the latest scoop. Wish we could grow chocolate in a local greenhouse bubble.
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
05/08/08 12:33:33AM
21 posts

Where to Buy Cookbooks and Reference Books


Posted in: Classifieds

There's The Cook's Library in LA - walls & walls of cookbooks, with a travel book shop right next door. Near 3rd Street & La Cienega. www.cookslibrary.com Regarding the above post, thanks for the mid-west sneakret Gwen! Might take you up on it!
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
04/30/08 11:26:05PM
21 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

Good info, thanks!
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
04/29/08 06:07:18PM
21 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

"Belgian Chocolate" is a tricky phrase which covers chocolate bon bons or pralines made in Belgium but not necessarily with courverture from Belgium (maybe they use French or Italian or Swiss). It also covers couverture made in Belgium. Google lists 371,000 entries for Belgian chocolate companies! The other thing is that Pound Plus, that very nice 72% brand, is the only one Trader Joe's sells iin bulk; all the fair trade & premium brands are small size. I just wish they would make public, as most companies do, some details about the production. But that's just me.
Susie Norris
@Susie Norris
04/29/08 12:20:07PM
21 posts

Trader Joe's 72% Chocolate Bars...


Posted in: Opinion

I love this couverture; very flavorful and competitively priced. Here's my beef: Trader Joe's won't release any information about their suppliers, so we don't know where it is from in Belgium (although the packaging used to say a chocolate company outside Brussels), don't know where the beans are from, fair trade status...nothing!! We want to know where our food is from, don't we?? Of course we do. The corporate spokespeople (I called them) won't speak, and they are not interested in outside promotion, and they don't have to tell us anything because they are a privately held company. But whoever is making this courverture (does anybody out there know??) is doing a fine job. The milk chocolate is tasty, too.