Forum Activity for @Edward

Edward
@Edward
12/20/08 11:39:25PM
22 posts

Chocolate prices


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Things have been going pretty good for the last little while--save for one problem: Bulk couveture prices.I'm a big fan of Lindt, and buy it in 100 kg shipments from a pastry supplier here in Vancouver. These shipments usually last me 2-3 mths. Every time I need to order in a new shipment I get the ol' "Uh, prices just went up" routine from the rep.. I take full advantage of the Lindt food service rep, who has an office here, and am assured that prices have stayed the same since Feb of this year and no prices are scheduled for another year. So I call the supplier's bluff--have been doing it now 3 times--they never learn, and it's starting to really irritate me.I do a fair amount of workshops and charity events, and for this I use a cheaper couveture, a Calle. 70-30. I get this from two different suppliers, both large pastry suppliers with several branches in Canada, we'll call them "X" and "Y"."X " came banging on my door in early November trying to flog a very cheap brand of couveture--sounded too good to be true, and I managed to weasel out of the rep that it was past expiry date, tell him no-go. So then he gives me a decent price on the Callebaut line. Decent enough for the first order, when I order again, I get the ol " Uh, prices have increased" schtick. Something to do with the falling CDN $ and head office in Toronto. When the shipment comes in I check the batch codes and the expiry dates--same stock as last shipment. So I send it back, tell them either send me stuff with a pristine expiry date or stuff the "prices have increased" schtick down the septic tank where it belongs. I try to order again, but now I get "Uh, we have no stock left, and don't know if we'll be bringing in that item anymore. Right....."Y" has been increasing his prices on the Callebaut line very steadily since late Sept. Now it's gotten to the point where the 70-30 is only $1/kg cheaper than the Lindt. I do know of places in Vancouver bringing in their own Callebaut at 1/3 the price of what "Y" is charging. These are med. to large chocolate guys, and bring it in by the pallete.Yeah, I know, suppliers have to mark up, but what's fair? 35% ? 40%? Certainly not anything over 100%. O.K., Christmas, you want to mark up and gouge a bit, then do it, but don't B.S. me, it's downright insulting.Maybe I should negotiate a price with Lindt, but don't know if I'll make their minimum requirements. Worth a shot though....
updated by @Edward: 04/10/15 08:24:17AM
Edward
@Edward
12/21/08 05:06:16PM
22 posts

Liquors for use in chocolate ganaches


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Don't really go much for liqueurs, waaay too much sugar, not enough booze, (they usually run at about 22%) and the flavours are usually added. I do use Grand marnier and Kahluha, but that's about it. The run of the mill liqueurs don't have enough "power" to shine through the ganache, and the sugar in them is too much.That being said, I'm a big fan of eau de vies, or fruit brandies. These are the real thing: Pure booze, no sugar, and the flavour is real, not added, macerated, or blended (and no artificial colours that work themselves into many liqueurs). A fruit brandy is made just like regualr brandy: Appropriate fruit is harvested and made into wine, then the wine is destilled. These usally run at about 40-50% alc content (80-100 proof for the U.S.)They pack a wallop of flavour for the amount used, and the booze doesn't hurt the shelf life either....The usual ones include:Calvados--AppleKirsch--CherryWilliams-PearPlumMirabelleRaspberryBrandy of course--grape
Edward
@Edward
12/24/08 11:21:38AM
22 posts

Guitar


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

I'd really like to get a guitar, as I do 4 slabbed varieities, but for the moment, I've found a cheaper alternative.In some of the kitchens I've worked, I've been spoiled by the Matfer cutting wheels. This is a device consisting of aprox. 30 s/s discs (sharp), threaded on a rod, with spacers between the discs and rolling pin style handles. The price for this was at last checking around $300, and I'm a cheap guy.What I found at the local dollar store was cheap pizza wheels so I bough a dozen and drilled out the rivet, made some 7/8" spacers from 1" plastic pipe, threaded the assembly onto a length of 3/8" threaded redi-rod, and made some handles for it.It works quite well for slabbed ganaches, and while it won't cut through slabbed cast caramel, it does mark them nicely. If I can find more pizza wheels I'll make some more in different sizes....
Edward
@Edward
08/04/08 12:48:51AM
22 posts

Silk screening


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

Thanks for that link. Right now I'm exploring possibilities to print directly from an inkjet printer on to overhead transparancies. A lot of Cake decorating and rice paper technology out there, so it shouldn't be that work something out.Right now I'm working on making my own magnetic molds from plexiglass. I've made some rolling cutters from pizza wheels and redi-rod (turned my own handles on a wood lathe) and scored a wire cookie log cutter that enables me to slice logs of ganache into perfect 3/8" thick slices.
Edward
@Edward
07/29/08 09:54:02PM
22 posts

Silk screening


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

Thanks for the replies everyone.Am doing my "homework" right now!
Edward
@Edward
07/25/08 02:12:59PM
22 posts

Silk screening


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

Have just secured a contract for some custom chocolates and am in the process of getting a silk-screened transfer made fo this job. As far as I know only PCB crations (France) can do this. Problem is, I'm getting the old French run-around and delayed delivery times.If this contract goes out on time, I should be able to secure similar ones, and rather than rely on PCB I'd like to explore other options.Does anyone know of other facilities (preferably in N. America) that can make custom chocolate transfers?Is it possible to make my own transfers? I don't mind investing in silk-screen materials or technology, but don't have the slightest idea of how to go about it.RegardsEdward
updated by @Edward: 04/10/15 03:21:08PM
Edward
@Edward
07/23/08 01:50:28AM
22 posts

What's in Store for Valrhona?


Posted in: News & New Product Press

What do I think will happen?Probably Cacobarry or Callebaut will gobble them up.What do I think should happen? Well, look. In a high end restaurant I could sell a Valrohana creation for $10 - $15 and be able to make a profit on it. But high end restaurants and few and far in between and they don't buy a lot of chocolate.If I wanted to have "bragging rights" by using only Valrhona couveture in my pralines and bon-bons, I'd have to raise the prices by almost 75% in order to turn a dime, alienating myself from my current customer base, and starving myself before I can cultivate a customer base willing to pay for Valrhona. There's no way I could make a profit by using Valrhona in any pastry or cakes either.It's a volume market, sorry to say. In a perfect world Valrhona would have a "professional line" available only in say, 10 -25 kg packaging, with prices dropped quite a bit lower than the regular line. The pricing would encourage more mainstream use-- a volume market,
Edward
@Edward
07/12/08 11:18:09AM
22 posts

Call For Entries: The Next Generation Chocolate Competition


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Love to enter, have my own chocolate business, but alas-- wrong country....
Edward
@Edward
07/02/08 07:44:36PM
22 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

You can make your own "aerated" chocolate by warming a whip cream dispensor, filling 1/3 full of very warm, untempered couverture, charging it with nitrous oxide and quickly dispensing it. It is a novelty--the taste or texture doesn't really pick me up by my ears and scream at me-- and I am still very hesitant to offer it with my customers. (Oh look, he's re-created the Aero chocolate bar...)One thing to factor in to manufacturer-made aerated chocolate is the added cost. True, the air is free, but since chocolate is sold by weight and not by volume, manufacturers would be reluctant to pay for yet one more process, more packaging costs as well as transport/shipping costs.
Edward
@Edward
07/02/08 10:34:10AM
22 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

No, I don't think sugar is key to combining and maintaining the quality of cocoa butter and solids. I have sampled some very fine couvetures with 70%, 80% and 90% cocoa content, and while very intense and powerfull, the mouthfeel/texture is smooooth. IMHO the texture and suaveness of couveture is from the skill in conching, not from sugar."Displacement" theory or not, if I make a sugar syrup starting with one liter of water and two kgs of sugar, boil it all I want, I'll still end up with one liter of syrup. No volume is ever gained.I don't know of any sugar confection that gains volume once the "molecules and crystalline structure starts to mutate". Could you please furnish some examples?I, too, love my job, and make caramel on a weekly basis, but it's never gained volume on me....
updated by @Edward: 09/12/15 12:01:40PM
Edward
@Edward
07/01/08 11:08:58PM
22 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

No, I meant sugar by itself doesn't add volume.Try it for yourself: Fill a measuring cup 3/4 full of water and start dumping sugar in. You can put more sugar than the amount of water in. No heat required, no evaporation loss. I can beat butter with a whisk and gain incredible amounts of volume without adding anything, (a'la "light" or "Diet" butter...) same for eggwhites--as in hot savoury souffles. (although I need sugar for stability in meringues and cold applications) Cotton candy is spun through a tiny orifice at high speeds, it's the gaps and spaces inbetween the tiny spun threads that account for the volume. (this principle is used for fiberglass insulation--it's the air trapped between the spun glass that provide the r-value or insulation, not the spun glass)Sugar by itself doesn't add volume.What percentage of sugar does Cluizel use in his products? I must confess, I've never tried his stuff yet, there are enough places to buy it around here though.Sugar is cheaper than chocolate, which is why the "cheaper" mnfctrs dump the stuff, up to 60% of sugar, in the cheap chocolate. The "good" mnfctrs only add enough to tame the flavour.Heck, old Hershey himself had a sugar plantation in Cuba just to support his factory, even had a little minature train to transport the sugar to port. Apparantly the train still exists and runs daily....
Edward
@Edward
07/01/08 11:53:06AM
22 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

I think that sugar is the perfect medium to increase WEIGHT without increasing volume.When you make sugar syrup and add sugar to the water, the water level hardly rises. With meringues you are gaining volume by beating in air.
Edward
@Edward
06/28/08 10:14:22PM
22 posts

Cocoa butter and cocoa solids


Posted in: Tasting Notes

Lindt, sadly only uses vanillin. The amount of vanilla is less than 1% for almost every chocolate mnfctr.Soy lecithin is not absolutely neccesary. Although lecithin is used as an emulsifier, in very small quantities it makes the product thinner. In other words it mimics the use of more cocoa butter. However only 1/2 of 1% is usually added
Edward
@Edward
06/18/08 10:10:26PM
22 posts

Mol d'Art


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

These are very simple machines with nothing more than a heating element and a thermostat. Mold'art has set themselves apart from other European mnfctrs by not having an on/off switch or any inspection tags. While I like european machines, I stronly believe that if you want to sell a product in N. America, it should adhere to N. American regulationsWhile I have not used Mold'art, I have had a similar machine "martelatto" and after 6 mths of daily use, came in to work one morning smelling burnt chocolate and plastic.... I now have a s/s behemoth using a waterbath system.
Edward
@Edward
06/19/08 01:59:13AM
22 posts

Tempering with Beta 6 crystals


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

Meh, I have Mycro and use it, but it is very expensive compared to bulk cocoa butter. There's no magic to Mycro, all it is, is cocoa buter heated to around 48 C and then sprayed on to a frozen roller, then scraped off. The extremes between the two temperatures "shocks" mycro into pure beta 6 crystals.I think the prescribed amount is 1%, (1 gram auf every kilogram) melted couveture, but the couveture must be around 35 C.I still get in the (cheaper) Kessko cocoa butter in the 5 kg pails, but of course it is like cement in a bucket. What I do is throw the whole bucket into a warm oven overnight (around 30-35 C) and then pour the melted butter into cling-film lined trays about 1/2" (2-3 cm) thick. When cold I coarsely chop this in the food processor and use it to thin out couveture or to mix with fat-soluble colours for molding chocolates. This is NOT a substirute for Mycryo as it has no beta 6 crystals, but it is in an easily dispensable form.
Edward
@Edward
07/04/08 10:28:28AM
22 posts

To conche or not to conche?


Posted in: Tasting Notes

A couple of things I do agree with what Corallo said, in that the "Big boys" do control the market, and it is true that excessive conching will destroy flavour. Fermentation is very important, although the article didn't say how long Corallo fermented his, but hinted that it was longer than the typical 3-7 day periods of most producersConching is necessary to give the chocolate it's smoothness. If there's one thing I do not like is chocolate that leaves the roof of my mouth and tongue gritty and rough. I'm also not a big fan of milk chocolate.It's nice to see small, passionate chocolate producers
Edward
@Edward
06/19/08 02:23:39AM
22 posts

Brands of and Sources for Organic Couverture


Posted in: Classifieds

Rodd,Could you furnish me with the name of a distributer in western CDN (Vancouver)? Looking specifically for 1-5kg packaging.Thanks
Edward
@Edward
06/20/08 10:35:34AM
22 posts

What Makes an Artisan Chocolate Artisan?


Posted in: Opinion

Thanks, did that.
updated by @Edward: 06/19/15 07:58:22PM
Edward
@Edward
06/19/08 09:56:56PM
22 posts

What Makes an Artisan Chocolate Artisan?


Posted in: Opinion

It has been my experience, as well as many others, that the flavour of a fresh cream ganache changes quite a bit over a 2 mth period. The texture does change, dramatically, as it 'shrinks" and "toughens up" due to moisture loss. I usually salt away a few "rejects" from a batch and examine them at 1, 2, 3, and 4 mth intervals.It is one thing to "adjust" for a flavour that will change--assumed that the item will be consumed , i.e. a fresh cream ganache AFTER the flavour change has taken place--i.e two months later. In this case the flavour of the ganache would be "off" if it were consumed within the first month, as it was designed to be consumed at a later stage. So either you make a ganache that tastes great for the first 4 weeks, or you make a ganache that tastes, uh, not so good for the first 4 weeks, but better after two months; but you can't have the cake and eat it as well.However, to make chocolate confections intended to be consumed two months later, smacks of mass production (well, at least to me, anyway).Thoughts?On a side note, is there a place on the forum to properly introduce myself? I guess I jumped in to a few threads without an intro. I am very glad I stumbled on this site, as there are very few sites devoted only to chocolate.
Edward
@Edward
06/19/08 11:08:42AM
22 posts

What Makes an Artisan Chocolate Artisan?


Posted in: Opinion

I don't think so, here are my views on shorter shelf life.The machine used is called a "Stephan" (sp?) which is very basically a robot-coupe with a vacuum machine attached. Oh, and fairly expensive, too, I might add.Even though the Stephan produces a ganache with excellent texture and mouthfeel, and technically gives you a long shelf life, the flavour of the ganache changes dramatically after 4-5 weeks. This change was explained to me like wine: Raw wine is put into bottles where spoilage is virtually eliminated, and as the wine ages it takes on better and more _mature_ flavours. The ganache, sealed in couverture, -while not prone to spoilage, takes on "different" flavours as it ages, and they are not very agreeable flavours. As well, most ganaches produced with the Stephan use a very high ratio of cream to couveture almost 1-1. While this contributes to optimal texture and mouthfeel, the couveture shell is not aluminum or glass, moisture will escape and the ganache filling will shrink over a two month period.Large chocolate mnfctrs cannot/will not use a cream based ganache,--no matter what technique or equipment used, as they need a minimum of 6 mnths shelf life for their products. Fondant is the name of the game here, as it can be flavoured any which way (with oils and flavouring compounds) and is very shelf stable. Sodium benzoate, sorbex, and other perseratives as well as complex sugars like trimoline also find their way into the mass produced stuff.The only way I can get around the whole shelf life thing is to offer "shelf stable" varieties. I offer about 18 cream based ganaches, but the other ones last longer: Nut based chocolates, (hedge-hogs, nut clusters) caramels (sigh... no fire kettle, all by hand!) Italian nougat, and fruit based pectin jellies.
Edward
@Edward
06/19/08 02:06:06AM
22 posts

What Makes an Artisan Chocolate Artisan?


Posted in: Opinion

Ummm....Actually I think I could direct you to my shop and website (albeit in Vancouver) where I make 20-25 varieties of chocolates. All hand work, all with fresh cream ganaches (well, except the Ital. nougat and the caramels...) and yes, all with about a 3 week shelf life.
Edward
@Edward
06/18/08 10:14:42PM
22 posts

What Makes an Artisan Chocolate Artisan?


Posted in: Opinion

To me, it means small quantity batches which would mean hand work, not enrobing tunnels or 500kg tempering vats, the use of fresh cream ("real" cream, like, from cows...) original ganaches, and a short shelf life (2-4 weeks).