Forum Activity for @antonino allegra

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/21/12 02:16:07PM
143 posts

"Raw" chocolate FDA recall


Posted in: News & New Product Press

ouch!

never been a fan of "raw" whatsoever chocolate.

It is a painful exercise to explain every time the truth behind the "raw".... who know where this accident will bring... Is this the end of the "raw"?

i don't wish anyone to go out of business, but

maybe a bit of rules by the FDA will bring some clarity to the matter.

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/16/12 09:50:58AM
143 posts

Set up cost of starting a small chocolate business


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Great, best of luck with your new business!

Will you produce bean to bar or become a chocolatier?

If you are into chocolatier, you can contact us, we make organic chocolate here in SA.

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/16/12 09:23:20AM
143 posts

Evaluation and Feedback


Posted in: Opinion

Hi Gordon,

i have started following your website just about a year ago and i have really learned a lot. I also have shared my notes on beans, roasting and participated on a lot of discussion.

I found so interesting to contribute together with people from the 4 side of the world.

I understand you fear to loose control of the situation by someone pointing bad at your forum, but generally speaking this is a "open source" of knowledge: Someone like me will use to learn, someone will use to "spy" and someone just for the fun of accusing.

I like it, and i enjoyed discussions that are technically orientated.

I think Clay, you should still have input to the forum with your own discussion, opening up the forum to new ideas but also having a look at trends and political decision regarding chocolate (like the story about Fair trade)

Paying, not sure about... no one like to pay for sharing information.... and who will make the money? the Forum owner or the people that put the informations?

an online book library could be a cool idea.... small year fees, unlimited access and if i want to buy a Hard Copy of one of the books, a good discount should apply...

my 2 South African Rand of suggestions..

Cheers

Antonino

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/16/12 08:56:17AM
143 posts

Set up cost of starting a small chocolate business


Posted in: Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hello Landia,

where are you going to open your chocolate business?

We do chocolate in Cape Town, we offer support to all our customers that want to know about chocolate!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/15/12 04:44:27PM
143 posts

Theobromine: source for?


Posted in: Classifieds

Me too! what can you do with?

a "RED-theobromine-BULL"

anti-depressant nasal spray?

anti oxidant body oils?

what else.... with 200 kg of shell per month it could be intersting....

Extraction: boil in water and then boil the water down? would it "kill" the theobromine?

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/10/12 04:11:14PM
143 posts

Tempering machine


Posted in: Opinion

Pleasure!

i have been very happy with them, hope you will too! My employees are begging me to get another one! As business owner and chocolate maker, i have less stress knowing that anytime during the day for any reason i always have perfectly tempered chocolate, it makes every one happy to produce and efficiency was better than what i could ever expect!

Cheers!

Nino

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/10/12 02:44:17PM
143 posts

Tempering machine


Posted in: Opinion

Hi,

the beauty of this forum is exactly this: helping each other in many ways!

The chocolab is their latest creation, Fbm i think made it for multifunctional small/medium businesses and you could have all in one spot. i don't believe you could find it used as it just came in to the market.

I have a Unica 25kg with pneumatic depositor and i'm in the process to get another one with enrober (12 or 25kg depending on budget)

The best part of FBM machine is that they are easy to maintain an repair: we had once an issue with cooling (too fast) and i did use just a screw driver and the help on the phone by their technician (i live in South Africa), my local engineer loves the machine because if something brakes is easy to find spare parts even here in SA. I guess only the computer board must come from FBM directly for obvious reason..

If i would be in Italy/france/Spain area i would maybe buy second hand, but if you can afford it, buy it new.

Comparison with Selmi: i did work with some of the Selmi machines and they are also good, maybe sexier looking but they cost much much more, if they break is gonna hurt you... and i had a very bad experience with customer service, i still haven't received a quote after 2 years of asking..

Best of luck!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/10/12 12:48:40PM
143 posts

Lindt Opens New Flagship Store in Manhattan


Posted in: News & New Product Press

Thanks Brad... I haven't thought about this comparison...

Here in South Africa, Lindt is THE CHOCOLATE..... let's see what will happen next chocolate testing room!

What i find a bit "annoying" is that major company are now trying to "sell" the artisan feeling we (the real Artisan) give to our shops and clients.

Cheers

Nino

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/10/12 12:38:38PM
143 posts

Tempering machine


Posted in: Opinion

Hi MAhmoud,

for 200kg a day, you could easily start with an FBM continuos tempering machine of 12 kg, but for personal experience i suggest to buy a slightly over-sized machine, just in case you grow fast!.

Of course you should also consider your production, meaning: if you produce only 1 "color" then buy a 25kg machine, but if you temper 2 or more color you should then maybe buy 2 smaller solution (i think is called compatta or something).

Depend on your budget you may opt for a big (25 kg Unica, like the one i have) and 1 small (12kg)

Also, buy it with the dedicated enrobing belt, you can always develop some products to coat!

If you let us (the forum) have more info on what you produce we might come up with more solutions.

BTW, i don't work for FBM, i'm just a big fan thanks to the great experience with it....

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/09/12 03:26:49AM
143 posts

DIY Guitar


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Edward,

i think at the moment you are on the top list for the "Wile E. Coyote/Mac Gyver" Award!!!

i will try to make one as well!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/07/12 03:46:46AM
143 posts

Carob Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Yep, i think i s called as well Locust bean gum...

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/06/12 04:04:09PM
143 posts

Carob Chocolate


Posted in: Opinion

Carob powder is also one of the most ancient and best stabilizer for ice cream....

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/05/12 11:00:24AM
143 posts

Mol d'Art


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

Hi Magrietha,

i'm also in South Africa, Cape Town, i have a well looked after Prefamac tempering machine to sell.

If you wish to have more info please contact me at antonino@cocoafair.com

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/04/12 03:58:22PM
143 posts

Cooking milk powder


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

Hi There,

milk powder is already "cooked".. is made either by "rolling" milk into a big heated cylinder and then scraped off, or by spraying milk into a hot chamber to vaporize the water.

The differences between milk powders are generally : Fat content (use a 20%), what kind of cows, season, area of growth (fed with green grass, hay or whatever) ,production system.

What system of making chocolate you do use, what temperature, how do you grind/insert the milk powder to the chocolate and mailny what quality of milk you are using will affect the final taste of your product.

Do not compare to swiss milk chocolate (unless you live there), their cows make a very mild milk, and they add malt to the milk powder....

If you cook the milk powder in cocoa butter you will end up with caramel...... then we are in a different game...

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/03/12 03:30:16AM
143 posts

DIY Guitar


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Hi Edward,

please share a couple of pics with us, it sounds like a cool idea.

Cheers

Nino

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
05/01/12 05:33:34PM
143 posts

Cleaning Chocolate Molds


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

Hi All, an update:

my friend (chemical engineer) says that 1 cup per 40 lit (S.H diluited at 40%) is safe (-ish) , just to be careful if in a concentrated form.

As for any "Hydroxide" chemical, there is risks of skin burn.

So if you get in contact with S.H., rinse your skin with running cold water for a good 5-10 min.

if it still burn after 1 hour or longer, just seek medical attention for precautions.

Take care!

Antonino

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/29/12 03:32:32PM
143 posts

First attempt at experimenting with chocolate - question!


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

HI There,

you cannot temper vegetable fat based "chocolate", it doesnt work.

to temper you don't need 10 kg chocolate, but as small as 100gr.... and even if ou mess up the tempering, you just need to re-melt and start again!

"experiment" with compound chocolate will not teach you anything....

best of luck!

Antonino

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/27/12 03:03:53PM
143 posts

Cleaning Chocolate Molds


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

Thank Brad,

we buy it directly from a Chemical Company, and we are still trying to figure out how much

S.H. per liter of water.

we started with about 100 ml for ca 25 liter of water , and it works as quick degreaser but the molds have a thin layer of fat still on.

next we are going to try with 250ml and see what happen...

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/26/12 05:12:10PM
143 posts

DIY Guitar


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Hi Andy,

welding aluminum is matter of professionals, i built this frame when i just arrived in SA and i didn't know anyone. So i went the easier way to "rivet" (or bracketing) everything simply because was the only way i knew how to put it together.

Riveting is easy: drill a hole, put a rivet and with the right gun just close the rivet.

The bolts are the same as the one from the link, any engineering company is capable to drill a hole in it. Do not try at home, it will cost you so much on drill bits and time. Seriously i did all the rest of the job with the cheapest DIY tools i could find at a builder warehouse.

the frame has been put together almost 2 year ago and it hasn't yet broken into pieces... so i guess it works!

Next (just to consider it an evolution) i will buy a thick cutting block and cut the slots so it is easier /faster to cut and move the ganache.

looking forward to see yours!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/26/12 04:34:04PM
143 posts

DIY Guitar


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Here a picture of mine!

DIY is very very cheap,i would say 2 hours for shopping and 2 hours to put it together (the first one i made took me a lot longer... trial and error) if you get someone to do it (unless is a friend) it will look better but cost also more.

i use an elevated cutting board so i can push it trough the ganache.

sometimes i use it just to score the marks on a soft caramel and then cut with the knife...

still, only ca $40...... i can live with that!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/25/12 04:30:32PM
143 posts

DIY Guitar


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

here we go: i found the link, hope i don't mess up with the T&C of the forum

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?/topic/89623-home-made-guitar-cutter/

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/25/12 04:26:19PM
143 posts

DIY Guitar


Posted in: Geek Gear - Cool Tools

Hi Andy,

i actually did! i found some details online (will try to remember and forward the links).

you will need:

a) being good as "MacGyver'

b) few tools

what i did: i bought some aluminum pipes of 25mmx25mm and cut to size to create a frame.

riveted all together. made holes for the right cut size ( 2.5cm )

Then i bought some high resistant bolts and got the holed by an engineer company ( in Cape Town we have a lot of them that work with marine items).

The wires are not from an electric guitar (too expensive) but is fishing rod for deep see fishing (sharks, tuna etc) that can hold pressure up to 300kg.

the next step would be to get a base cut from a piece of aluminum (like a real one) but i don't feel now to pay $$$ for it.

Now, it looks very "frankestein" BUT it works!

I will try to take some pics tomorrow.

BTW, a frame cost me about Zar 350 (ca $45)

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/25/12 03:50:18PM
143 posts

Pricing


Posted in: Opinion

H,

pricing is a big science, so many things to calculate: food cost, overheads, profit but also market related prices, high potential profit for once-off or lower price to create a long lasting client/business relationship!

So start to have your food cost (ingredients per portion) right: $2-3 is a very wide range!

THEN do this calculation: food cost (FD) X 65% = minimum selling price. (eg: $2X1.65=$3.30-min.selling price)

or: final price is equivalent to: FD +15% (oveheads)+55% (minimum profit) (considering your food cost being 35%)

Also remember to add to your costing any extra tool/trais, foil, petrol etc necessary to get the job done. ( let say 5-10% )

As well: do you need to hire extra people for the job? Add it on. Do you need to work extra hours for the job? if you will do it on your extra time, add it on: you could have been doing something else but you stuck at work till late night!

Then you will see, if this price isbelow your competitors or market related you can add as much as you feel :a) right; b) fair c) worth the effort d) try to cash up heavily to buy a new tool/ great dinner/a day at the SPA....

my suggestion? it should be worth the effort and the extra time without being to heavy on mark up..

Remember that unless you are happy at the end of hard work, you will feel very very bitter about it and you will not appreciate what you did.

My few rand (south african money..) worth of knowledge...

Hope it helps

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/23/12 05:04:34AM
143 posts

Cleaning Chocolate Molds


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

Great Rochelle,

so if we put a cup (200ml) 40% S.H (sodium hydroxide) in about 40 liter of water we have a solution of a pretty safe cleaning product?

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/23/12 03:52:03AM
143 posts

Cleaning Chocolate Molds


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

@Brad,

just a question: once dry do the molds feel "squeky?"

and is anyone that knows what could be the risk/effect if the S.O. is not rinsed properly?

Rochelle, just make sure that you buy the right product, it comes in 2 format: liquid in a dilution of 40% or pure in crystal form.

Do not confuse with ammonium hydroxide or bleach or anything else cause it could be harmful. We,all, are still Chocolatiers and not chemical engineers, so please do your research!

As soon as my friend (chemical engineer) is back in town, i will discuss with her what really is S.H. and the risk/benefit. I think that is good if we post some words from a Chemical Engineer....

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/22/12 12:02:08PM
143 posts

Cleaning Chocolate Molds


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

Hi William,

i think that all of us have have started or still use dish washing and hot water. The point was to find something that clean/degrease and no need to polish product.

If you have to deal with ca 200+ molds to clean, the scrubbing and the polishing (cotton wool i hate you!) is not real fun.

I have tried the Sodium Hydroxide and you should have seen the excitement on my employee's face seeing that with almost no work the mold where clean! After a quick rinse (i think we put too much SO in it.) the drying happened overnight and finished off with with a air-gun ( air compressor).

No Bloom, no marks on the chocolate. Now when i ask to have the molds clean, no ones run away!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/22/12 11:41:21AM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi awriter,

thank you for the good update on sugar free! this global research is going well!

I'm not a scientist but i have spent 20 years in pastry kitchen, that is where my knowledge for ingredient come from.

The point of the research was to find out options for "sugar-free" chocolate bar (as i have a bean to bar business). Making desserts sugar free, low carb, gluten free, egg free etc.. based on chocolate that taste even better than regular is actually (for me...) the easy thing! i did it for the past 10 years.

The difficult part is to create a chocolate bar that is completely sugar (sucrose) free and still being of good taste and at least not more harmful than the one made with real sugar.

I haven't started yet with the physical testing, at the moment we are talking just theoretically. We still believe that our 85% dark chocolate and our 95% "40 hour conche" is still the best bet for our diabetic clients.

Ps: i going to have a look at your blog!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/22/12 03:04:21AM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

HI Thomas,

apparently what they call cactus "honey" is nothing else that crystallized agave syrup! It look like there is no bees involved into making "honey"=disinformation and using the word "honey" as marketing tool... i have found a couple of website that explain this in details.

i think the use of maltodextrin is for keeping it "dry" ( i have used in the past tapioca maltodextrin to turn olive oil into powder...)

I notice that from the list i made, except for the "Lakanto" (where to fid it?), it all goes back to Agave/cactus plants.

South Africa (where i live) is a big producer of agave syrup and powder, and the farming area is just about 2 hours drive from Cape Town. I'm actually in touch with a producer and i should ask them if i could visit the plantation and maybe have a talk with their lab-test people to clarify the myth of agave...

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/21/12 02:39:38PM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi Thomas,

i did some research not long time ago onhoney powder and it did look like that only 30% is actual honey and the rest is simply sugar (saccarose) so i gave up on using honey to make solid bars (although honey will be the best "sugar free" product! natural and depend on the flowers and area we could have an infinite number of combinations!).

Could you please check how is your honey powder made?

thanks!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/20/12 04:00:49PM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi Omar,

a pesticide? really?!? hmmm maybe a good marketing tool: Eat this chocolate, not only is sugar free but also kill all the bacteria inside out! aha ha ahah just kidding, but i'm now curious!

So far we have:

Agave sugar (hi fructose)

Stevia (no calories but needs bulking fibers)

Erythritol and Maltitol (alchool sugar)

Splenda (sucralose/pesticide...)

Coconut sugar

Add on if you have ideas!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/20/12 06:30:59AM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi Ernesto,

will have a look of what kind of coconut sugar i can get here in South Africa. In theory i shouldn't need to change much of a recipe if the coconut sugar has a similar structure.

thanks a lot!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/19/12 08:14:29AM
143 posts

BRIGHTNESS ON CHOCOLATE


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

contact chocolate form (chocolateform.com) they can assist you..Policarb mold are expensive BUT is an investment. they last forever.

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/19/12 04:12:09AM
143 posts

Cleaning Chocolate Molds


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

Hi All,

we finally got our supply of Sodium Hydoxide, 25 l drum with a dil. of 40%

We tried a cup in about 40 lit of warm water and i must say it went so quick! my employees loved it! in few minutes we washed everything.

The rinsing part was a bit of issue: the molds after 2 rinse still have a slippery feel, not the "squicky" one as i was expecting.

@Brad and any one else: do i need to rinse them more or reduce the amount of Sodium or is just normal?

thanks in advance!

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/18/12 02:50:56PM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi Andy,

thank you, what you say is what i actually think about the issue.... Still it is funny and interesting to do research!

i will keep posted!

Next try will be with Splenda.

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/18/12 05:59:49AM
143 posts

BRIGHTNESS ON CHOCOLATE


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

Hi There,

no need for lacca of sort, just put a very thin layer of tempered chocolate, or cocoa butter (better if airbrushed) and then layered the second time as normal.

Of course chocolate quality, condition of tempering, storage and handling can destroy the 'shininess" easily.

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/16/12 01:33:43PM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi just an update on research,

and i make a point sayng that i am not a food scientist but just a chocolate maker that i very very curios!

Stevia chocolate is recently available on the market, with percentage between 55% and 80% something.

Stevia is 300 time sweeter than sugar and has not the same effect to chocolate as saccarose (sugar).

To "make up" for the missing sugary part, dietar fibers like inulin,dextrin, oligofructose (??) is added to ,in my word, to bulk up the bar.

Also Stevia alone wont make the chocolate sweet enough (and also costs a lot!) so another form of sugar substitute (sugar alchool?) such as Erythritol is added.

then of course there is the knowledge of how much of what!!

Now, as artisan chocolate maker is a lot to digest... i think Biiig Company have scientists and experts but im not giving up, i can get all those ingredient and play around, inviting a couple of food scientist for a glass of wine and after the second bottle hey should start to talk. eheheh....

Still, anyone any idea on sucralose (splenda) usage?

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/16/12 04:04:42AM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi All again,

anyone have tried "SPLENDA" (sucralose) on making chocolate?

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
04/15/12 12:22:13PM
143 posts

Sugar Free Chocolate


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

Hi All,

we receive a lot of request of "sugar free" chocolate, most of them they refer to "use Agave syrup/crystals", but this is not what we think as "sugar free"!

Unfortunately here, miscommunication or false information make people believe that Agave "sugar" (!!!) is diabetic friendly...

We know that a 85%dark bar with sugar is better than a 55% dark made with agave, but it takes time to explainthatto every one!

Now, going to the point:

i'm capable of doing some research of real sugar free (sucrose) -chocolate maybe using stevia or other ingredients (Honey won't work). but i not really sure where to start..

Anyone any idea or suggestion?

Thanks in advance!

Antonino


updated by @antonino allegra: 04/17/15 09:45:18AM
antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
03/28/12 03:07:58PM
143 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

here we go, extract from an email i sent to a The Chocolate Life memebr.:

here below the email ad. of Erkan :eaydin@erselexport.com

my business partner (before i joined in) lost $5k on a deposit for a AMBEX roaster... then via some research he found out that was build by these people and bought it directly from them saving a lot of money.

i have attached some pics for you. in one there is the "control board" and you can see the digital thermostat and the speed control, it goes from 20 to 70 and i did set it up at 25, just because is working at the moment with the product we do.

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
03/28/12 06:31:28AM
143 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Hi Clay,

i have pics and info about the Roaster, is it ok to post it?

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
03/22/12 04:23:11AM
143 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Sorry, continued:

and unless you mess around with the setting you should have quite a even, consistent product.

we roast 15 kg beans at time and breakage is minimal (anyway, you need to winnow!!) with few tricks we manage to extract certain notes that we wish to have.. just a small change on the flame change the taste from hazelnutty to roast almond.

of course there is no limit to perfection and no limit to theoretical roasting and cost involved, but you are also in business to make money..

antonino allegra
@antonino allegra
03/22/12 03:30:27AM
143 posts

Can you use a Coffee Roaster for Roasting Cacao?


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

Hi Matthew, Colin,

we didn't modify the machine.

our roaster is equipped with digital drum speed control, an electronic/digital thermostat, and 3 point of gas/fire adjustment + ventilation valve that we can adjust as well.

we can accurately roast at temp of 120 or 140C quite accurately and unless you mess around with the settings.

  2