A Belgium company (chocolateworld.be) sells a 'chocolate factory in a box' concept.
We are starting out in making chocolate (not from bean yet, but one day!) and this concept looks pretty interesting.
Has anyone here used this, or any of this company's products before? Any feedback?
Do you have direct URL to the page? The site is not the easiest to navigate.
Good point Clay,
Cost around $38,000 Euros
This is an interesting list of equipment for somebody setting up a confectionery workshop. Not all of it is completely necessary and there are some things missing. 38,000 Euros is about $50,000 right now, so the amount of money they are talking about is a lot - plus shipping.
What is nice is that a holding cabinet with work surface is included. The heated cupboard (for melting chocolate to put into the temperer) is also nice, but definitely not a requirement and there are far less expensive ways to do the same thing. Some people would say that the planetary mixer is not the right piece of equipment in most strictly chocolate operations; a combination of a Robot Coupe and an immersion blender might be more useful.
The big ticket items is the tempering machine. If you're doing mostly mold work and don't plan to ever attache an enrobing belt then this model is larger than you probably need (25kg work bowl can handle 100kg/hr). The dosing plates are nice, but not necessary - and it drives the selection of the larger tempering machine because smaller ones don't accept the dosing plates. The tabletop filler is nice when you're in production making, say, 50 or more molds of the same piece at one time. For a small run, filling it and cleaning it is a lot of effort.
Missing is an induction burner or two; they do offer an electric kettle - not sure that this is a direct replacement.
All in all, it's a pretty comprehensive package. It's got some stuff of less obvious utility, there are some interesting choices, and there may be some things missing. But it's a very good shopping list if you're not too literal. You are likely also paying a premium price for the package.
Nat is correct in saying the Selmi is a nice machine as has been covered elsewhere on TCL. There are machines that are less expensive (also Italian) with similar or better feature sets.
The system appears to be aimed at someone who's never set up a chocolate kitchen before, but the equipment is scaled for someone who has a lot of business (100kg/hr production in shell molds is a LOT of pieces). So - it's a good shopping list for someone starting out but I would make different choices (and save boatloads of bucks) if I was just starting up and didn't already have a solid book of business in excess of $100,000/yr.
Clay, that was good advice and I decided against the chocolate world factory in a box concept. Before I made any decision, I went and got some very good chocolate training (they had competed in the World Chocolate Masters) - it was this that gave me an understanding of the direction I wanted to go, and the equipment I would need. The factory in a box option, as you pointed out, was expensive and didn't have everything I would need, and some things it turns out I don't need.
Nearly 5 months after my initial post above, and the decision has been made. I took a 300sqm warehouse and converted it into offices, retail outlet/cafe store, and a large factory.
I have decided against a tempering machine, instead investing in 1 x 15kg and 2 x 12kg melting tanks. I enjoy hand tempering/crystallizing the chocolate, so a tempering machine was ditched from the shopping list.
My new factory/production facility is geared toward artisan chocolate, and should be operational in about 8 more days all going to plan. Ended up spending WAY to much, but have gone with:
* 2 x custom built stainless benches with granite bench tops (and tray racks underneath)
* A custom built spray booth for both artisan chocolate and sculptures (plus a gravity air gun + compressor)
* Heated cabinet for cocoa butter/color
* A commercial oven so I can roast my own nuts etc and make my own praline (copper bowl method) - and I will be doing Macarons too, based on some very good advice I received
* A guitar cutter (Matfer) - decided this was a necessity in the end
* Over 200 poly carbonite molds (20 - 30 of each style)
* A massive air conditioning unit that can keep the factory at 18 degrees C and 50% Relative humidity.
And on top of this is all the shelving, stainless packing benches, miscellaneous tools (spatulas, spoons, bowls, pots, etc), refrigeration (who knew commercial refrigeration cabinets were so expensive!), pantries, etc.
Many of the comments on the forums here made the point that it isn't about the equipment, it is about knowing how to use the equipment (eg, the equipment does not make a chocolatier, and having a Selmi won't be any use to you if you don't understand the pre-crystallization of chocolate). This is so true! When I need to scale up some more, I may get a Selmi, but until then, I will be more than content using my melting tanks.
Hi Stu, who is the manufacturer of the melting tanks?
I have one Matfer 15kg (it has the wheel and can temper but I use it manually), and then 2 x 12l from Chocolate World - link to image here: http://www.chocolateworld.be/fotos/M1008.jpg
The temperer at least looks like a Selmi which is a great machine, the cadillac as everyone says. Those are about $20K on their own depending on the add ons. Not sure how to price all the other pieces of this package and whether they really add up to $30K more (38K Euro = ~$50K).
I haven't used any of these specific products or the companies products, just seen the Selmi in action.