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I have a small chocolate business where I produce hand crafted, ganache filled chocolates with a three week shelf life. I have a customer that is requiring a 6 month shelf life.  What is the best ingredient to use, in what amounts should I use it and where can I purchase it. 

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I am not sure you can extend the shelf life of a ganache-filled chocolate to 6 months. If you could it would require serious chemicals/preservatives. Why does this customer require a 6 month shelf life? I think most people who make chocolates on a small scale want them as fresh and as natural as possible. This may not be the customer for you (I know it is a novel idea, but you don't have to accept every customer that comes along). Good luck.

ANDREA,
You are absolutely right, I do not have to accept every customer. I wanted to make an effort to understand the possibilities. This customer wants the look of crafted chocolates but is obviously willing to compromise on the freshness based on the nature of the request.
My goal is to understand my options in this regard. What preservatives do the members have experience with, how long will these ingredients extend the shelf life, etc.

Thanks Andrea

When wine ages, the flavour improves.  When chocolate and cream/liquids ages, the flavour does not improve.   There are various sugars that you can incorporate in your recipie to greatly extend shelf life (See Wybauw's F.C.#3) that probably will give you great shelf life, but you are adding a lot of weird sugars.

Then there are natural sugar rich confections like Italian nougat, pate de fruits or caramel that might give you 6 mths shelf life.  Nut based ones too, but nuts tend to go rancid within 6 mths

You can, however succesfully freeze bon-bons and pralines, with a freezer shelf life maximum of 6 mths.  It's actually very simple:  Vacuum pack the items, refrigerate for 24 hours, then freeze.  To thaw, refrigerate for 24 hours, then at room temp for 24 hours, then open the package.

Hope this helps

Edward

I've located F.C. #3.  I think it will provide me with the information I need.  Thank you very much for sharing.  You have been very helpful.

Edward

I just got F.C. #3.  It answers my questions and much, much, more.  Now off to learn more about chocolate, "The Food of the Gods" 

Thank you very much

If they want 6 months, have them buy Godiva.  Those things are the Twinkie's of chocolate.

Thanks Bill.  

I think the laws are different in The USA but I have made chem free ganaches even with fresh fruit included in the recipe and they keep a really long time ... but they did have high levels of alcohol ( my Cointreau ganache is one third alcohol with fresh pureed oranges) and I don't think that that is permitted stateside.

There is such a thing as a water ganache which I have made, maybe that with butter added would deceive the taste buds whilst lengthening the shelf life? I believe shrinkage and air pockets are the main issue re mould growth and extra fat will lessen the effects of drying out.

Or as you suggested , let them open up a can of campbell's oops, sorry a box of Godiva :)

Hello Paul

You are correct.  The laws regarding alcohol are different in the US and other places. In the US the limit is 5%.  This is certainly a way to extend shelf life although not enough to extend 6 months.

The water ganache sounds interesting.  The challenge is to extend shelf life the water activity level of the ganache must be low.  If you would be willing to share the formula it would be worth a test.

As you've indicated, it sounds like the formula would have to be adjusted to lower the aw with extra fat..,interesting proposition.

Thankyou

The levels of alcohol needed are in the realm of 30% and up . My experience with rapid spoiling and fermentation within the ganache were always the result of shrinkage of the ganache filling resulting in a space between the filling and the coating and the effects of non sterile ingredients such as candied ginger and dried ground spices.
The open topped ganache filled cups I have in my assortment are prone to drying so I add 25% butter ( although a stable vegetable fat would suffice) and that significantly reduces shrinkage. The water ganache I made 40% boiling water 60% callebaut 8-11 and 2% olive oil... It was wrapped in lubecker almond paste and enrobed and I have cut one open after two months and there was no degradation ...

Hello Paul

This is very helpful.  While 30% alcohol ganache would be a big hit, it may attract the wrong king of attention.

I understand the point about shrinkage.  You often see the bottoms of bon bons curving in which is an example of your point.

The water ganache formula is interesting.  Intuitively I would think there is too much water in the water ganache formula.  Most of the established thinking indicates a reduction in water.  So I am excited to try it. I will definitely the water ganache formula.

Thanks

I just had to get up during my Sunday coffee to make olive oil water ganache so I can show you ! Ha ha ha

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