The Chocolate Life

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Need Ideas for an Advanced Chocolate Course - what would people want to learn?

Brian Donaghy - pastry chef at Tomric - and I have been discussing running an advanced chocolate course aimed at artisan chocolate makers who need to improve their talents and their product.

I would assume that most people would love to look at some equipment with an eye to increasing production - but beyond that what would you think that people would want to learn if they knew the basics but wanted to improve?

I guess it begs the question - what are basic chocolate techniques and what are advanced techniques? What do most people who are producing feel they are weak at and want to improve?

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I'll let you know when the party going to happen! I've got the unit up north here with me (it's a Gaggia Alambiccus) for cleaning and polishing - it's all brass and copper and had about an inch of burned on floral crud in the boiling vessel - getting that out was about a week of alternating acid, heat and elbow grease.

It's wired 220 so when I get it back home, hubby will put a dedicated plug in my chocolate room and I can fire it up.

The plan is to make my own essential oils to flavour the chocolate stuff.

I wonder if you take existing alcohol, run it through the still with spices and stuff in the basket to flavour it, is it still illegal?
With alcohol, you're typically better off with maceration than distillation when seeking the brightest and truest flavors.

As far as legality, it is legal as long as you do not increase the percentage of ethanol in the final product, using a still or a freezer, you're ok.

Be sure to top and tail everything, otherwise at best you'll get some super funky flavors at worst you'll go blind or die. Once you really know what you're doing, you can start isolating particular molecules that might be in the top or tail, but that is pretty advanced stuff.
I would like a class on airbrushing techniques. I am tired of the same old splatter or spray.
More on 3-D molding would be good too
The plan is Buffalo - we haven't any dates organized yet - still in the development and planning stages. We would likely be in the Tomric kitchen as Brian can organize the use of it.

Another question that occurs to me would be what dates people would prefer for something like this - I suspect that most would want to wait until after the holiday rush when things get a little quieter from a business perspective.
Thanks Darren.
You East Coast people are lucky...thats 5000 miles and 6 hr time zone difference for me! Not inexpensive to fly to Buffalo.
Yes, us West Coast people are pretty much hooped for courses - there's Callebaut in Chicago and Montreal; there's CIA in New York; there's the French Pastry school in Chicago; there's Notter in Florida... but nothing on the West Coast... Waaaaaa!
Have you checked out ecole chocolat? that's right here in Vancouver. I believe they have an advanced course ( Master chocolate program ). Not sure of the details exactly but worth a checking out, If you haven't already. Cheers.
Yes, I did the ecole chocolat course and 2 of their Master programs. Their Master programs are at different locations depending what you've signed up for. I highly recommend the Vancouver program once you finish the online course. It is held on Bowen Island at Cocoa West. Joanne, the owner of Cocoa West, is a fabulous teacher. It's the one I would most recommend coming right out of the course. I also went to Italy which was amazing. But for that one you would get more out of it if you were already somewhat proficient.

I really don't need to take any more courses! Right now I would look for a specialized course. For instance, airbrushing with Norman Love or something along those lines. Even the advanced/expert Callebaut course focused on tempering again. That's OK as many of the students were pastry chefs who weren't proficient at tempering. But I think a truly advanced chocolate course should assume knowledge of tempering and basic cream based ganache so the focus could be on other topics.
Lana, you said you did the courses at Ecole. I just registered but am a little apprehensive with it only being an online course, I'm a hands on person and prefer to see the tasks done correctly to fully understand it. In your experience how did you find it? where there any pro's and cons?

Any insight would be appreciated.
Although you asked Lana, let me chime in.
I've taken the Ecole online class this year; but, just like you, I am very hands-on and visual. So, before starting the online class, I took an introductory class at a culinary school in my city.

That was invaluable! Once I had that first glimpse into chocolate making, I could more easily understand the concepts given out by the Ecole.

Now, regardless of the actual chocolate making experience through the Ecole, the amount of useful information they give you is fantastic - the course is worth its price for the resources alone!

Best of luck,

Andre Costa

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