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|
|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