Categorically

We need a new Category tag – one for chocolate-making. Can’t wait!

Hotel Chocolat provided for our chocolate needs but we cancelled membership both to save money and because the postal system sometimes played havoc with my soft centres. Every now and again Mr L’s need for chocolate drives him to the local shop – where nothing is available that really satisfies the need. Cadbury’s just can’t cut it, you know? I was musing that making our own might be the answer and that way we can control both the quality and the cost. I have dabbled in the past but nothing serious – a few truffles, some chocolate coated almond paste or ginger – but have never bothered to temper my choccie properly. I think it is time that I learned how to do things right, don’t you?

What tipped me over the edge was when we were talking about whether or no to get the electric proofing cabinet. It can be used for yoghourt-making and for…. melting chocolate:

Your proofer, however, melts chocolate gently at a low temperature perfect for both tempering and holding. Whether you temper by cooling, seeding or marbling – your proofer provides a safer method of heating dark, milk or white chocolate for a more beautiful, shiny and crisp tempered product – every time.

Well, we might as well get as much use from it as we possibly can 🙂

We plan to start gently, not yet investing in moulds or fancy equipment. Simple dipped truffles for beginners, probably. It’s the flavours that excite me. I am already dreaming up combinations as I lie awake at night. How about white chocolate with apricots and cardamom? And there will be Florentines for the forthcoming festive season, you may rely on that. I have not made Florentines for… ooh, blimey… far too long. Over 40 years!

I checked in with my friend, nalsa who has more experience in these matters than I, asking for the best product and supplier.  He recommended Callebaut as being an affordable compromise. I went to the Chocolate Trading Company and was surprised at how affordable the Callebaut callets are. Especially when I looked at the own-brand product, which I have reason to believe is actually de-branded Callebaut (the page links to larger bags – t he link leads to the Callebaut product). Plans to start small, with a kilo each of dark, milk and white were scuppered by the realisation that  a 2.5 Kg bag (£14.65) is scarcely more than a 1 Kilo  (£11.95) one! I settled for 2.5 kilos of dark, plus a 1 kilo bag of white (Callebaut, £6.35 on pre-order for mid-October) Standard Delivery (by Royal Mail – HURRAH!) is a reasonable £3.95.

Here’s a video of nalsa (aka Mike Wallis, or simply ~m) explaining why crap chocolate is crap chocolate:

 

 

Ah, my hero!

I spent most of my night designing a sheep-ish chocolate.

Oh, since I wrote up there that we are not planning to invest in moulds yet… I got a mailing from Lidl. They have silicone chocolate tray moulds available from Monday at £1.99 each. Who knows, if I can be bothered to go to Kirkwall, I might indulge. (My spillchucker seems to think that I might go to Millwall)

Right – must crack on, it’s Spinning Day and I am not yet ready to go out. Not that I want to go out, it looks grim out there today.

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