The Chocolate Life

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I've noticed many here are already experienced chocolate makers, so I apologize for the very basic question.

I started my first chocolate training this past Monday and I am absolutely excited about this new world that is opening up for me.

I want to start small, learn slowly and create beautiful, tasty chocolate (like everyone else, I guess). But I am not sure I understand what I really need to get started from home.

What would be the essential tools to get started?

This is what I think I need:

- Couverture chocolate
- Bowls
- Pans
- Rubber or wooden spatula
- Thermometer
- Gloves
- Cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, etc (to cover the truffles, for instance)

What else? Am I missing something critical? I know there is a lot more to it, but I want to get started sooner than later.

Thank you,

Andre Costa
Chocolatier-to-be

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That is exactly it. I want equipment to be a tool, not a crutch... if that makes sense?

I can temper now using a wide variety of methods and no equipment beyond a bowl, heat source, and something to stir with. This was important for me, I'd understand and respect chocolatiers that prefer to just get a tempering machine, but it was important for me.

As for Cluizel, I just love it. I believe it is one of the most difficult chocolates to work with, given its high fat content and lack of emulsifier, but their go-for-broke style with agressive flavors reflects my own.

Also, it is important to note that Devil in an Apron is a partnership, I merely bring science and the creativity that comes from not knowing what you cannot/should not do. My partner is formally trained in French chocolate and pastry. So, she has been helpful in my development of those skills, while I help her think about food in terms of physio-chemical systems and not just recipes. It's win-win.

In closing, the best bit of equipment, is to have someone that already knows all this stuff. ;)
I am so glad to be surrounded by such a generous group of people.
Some of you guys have been on the road for a while and have a lot of experience. Still, when a newbie ask such a basic question, you are open and helpful.

Thank you!
This discussion has been a big help to me yes for us here in southern Philippines we do not have an expert on chocolate making, so we are on our own and thanks to the internet we get a glimpse of what should a chocolate artisan should have. We have been growing cacao for at least 30 years and our only product aside from beans is the traditional pure chocolate tablets molded by hand. It is used in making hot chocolate and chocolate rice porridge (in our dialect champorado). Tempering is foreign to us so I have really to learn the craft. Thanks a lot for you guys
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It really depends on where you are going, what you need. A lot of stuff can be found in a moderately equipped kitchen. I started out with a thermometer and such that I had in my kitchen. I made ganache and truffles and nut butter cups by painting chocolate into foil cups. No molds, no tempering machines, no caramel bars. I have my chocolate set in an unheated room on the north side of my house instead of a chocolate fridge.

I now have more equipment and am making a variety of confections, not just chocolate. Tho' chocolate remains the center of what I'm doing. I'm still working out of my kitchen. I have purchased a small tempering machine and gotten a hold of a marble slab I picked up for free. Next up is caramel bars. Instead of buying them from a kitchen supply place, I'll be buying them from a metal supplier. You can get 316SST bar stock, which, when sterilized is food grade. Many places will for a small fee, cut to length. It's less expensive that way.

So, Andre, which way do you want to go? That will determine what equipment you need, if any.
Hi Debby.

The idea behind it all is that I want to work with chocolate professionally. I am still not sure whether opening a retail store (at some point in the future) is part of the plan, but I do want to change careers for something more independent and creative.
I will start working out of my kitchen, and I know I will start small, without trying to buy every single gadget I see. I am going slow, but steady.
Thank you for your notes. That's very helpful.

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