I am Dr. Chocolate. In 2008, I earned a PhD from the University of Washington by studying chocolate. Now, I am on the hunt for the best chocolate in the world.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Making chocolate at Callebaut

From Antarctica, to New York, Seattle, and now Chicago! I have traveled many miles in the last few weeks, but this most recent stop has been one of my favorites. For the past few days here in the Windy City, I've gotten to do something that I hardly ever get to do: make chocolate.

I've been at the Callebaut Chocolate Academy, where I created many chocolate wonders.
The first day felt like I was on Iron Chef. We table-tempered chocolate by hand, and then had to keep it crystallized all day while doing other projects. It was a lot of running back and forth, heating up the chocolate, stirring, panicking, and re-crystallizing (three times!) when it went out of temper. Stressful!

Most of the bonbons took several days to prepare, so one day it was measuring out ingredients, another it was pouring chocolate into the molds and making ganache, another filling and sealing and decorating. So much work goes into making one little truffle - I now have a much better understanding of why the things can cost several dollars apiece.

I also ate a lot less chocolate than I thought I would. There's just no time! Temptation abounds, but not a moment to spare for tasting. Here's some of what I did:

Pouring crystallized dark chocolate
into the melter - a wonderful invention that
keeps the chocolate in temper for hours

Test strips. If the chocolate sets within a few minutes
and develops a nice shine, it's properly crystallized
Cocoa-pod molds filled with dark chocolate
Horror! Fat bloom on the chocolate cocoa pod. I
thought it looked very realistic, the bloom mimicking
the diseased pods I have seen on trees around the world.
Callebaut's Crakine ganache in the guitar,
which slices it up into squares
Squares of ganache ready for dipping
Piped dark chocolate and whiskey ganache. You
can see from the blobby shapes that not everyone
had the piping quite down.
Whiskey truffles, dusted in cocoa powder

Passionfruit ganache in white chocolate shells
Melted white chocolate, poured on to make a seal
Chocolate lollipops!
My second cocoa pod mold came out perfect
and shiny, along with bars and mendiants
Many bonbons - dark, milk, white
Mendiants and lollipops

Dr. Chocolate's Chocolates

With Kurt, my kitchen partner
The kitchen team,
with Chef Amanda and Chef Celine

Friday, January 6, 2012

Continents complete

Of course I ate some chocolate at the bottom of the world. I had to bring my own, because there are no retail outlets for chocolate in Antarctica.

I brought Dandelion's Venezuela bar - one of the best, in my opinion. Check out their blog pic of me and their chocolate:


Taken at Port Lockroy, Gentoo penguins in the background.

I have now eaten chocolate on all seven continents - life goal, check!