The Chocolate Life

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Most people have seen the influence that Norman Love has had on chocolatiers all over the world, without really knowing much about the person behind the techniques. Since even before founding Norman Love Confections in 2001 with his wife Mary, he was known for innovative and intricate surface decorations on his molded chocolates using colored cocoa butters applied using various techniques.

Today, almost every chocolatier who makes shell-molded chocolates has at least one piece that uses one of the techniques that Norman has perfected.

Now is your chance to ask Norman questions: About his techniques, his inspirations, what it's really like to produce millions of pieces a year (he's a creative force behind Godiva's G collection as well as doing the production), what he looks for in chocolate and how he chooses the ones he uses, business advice, anything you like.

You can ask your questions by replying to this Forum post. You have until Valentine's Day to post your questions. Then, he and I will look over all of the questions that have been submitted and he will answer the 10 of them that we find most interesting. I'll give him a week or so to compose responses, then he'll send those answers to me, I'll format them, and then post them for you to read and comment on. I hope to convince Norman to join TheChocolateLife so he can respond to your comments.

Some backstory

Norman contacted me a couple of weeks ago to let me know he was about to launch a new collection, BLACK, in time for this holiday gifting season. BLACK not only takes the surface decoration techniques he is known for to an entirely new level, it is a collection of five origin bonbons. Anyone who knows chocolates well will immediately recognize the chocolates he chose for the collection: Felchlin's Grand Cru line. Norman has been using Felchlin chocolates for a long time but this is his first collection that features the Grand Cru collection - 74% Cru Hacienda (Dominican Republic), 72% Ecuador, 68% Cru Sauvage (Bolivia), 65% Maracaibo Clasificado (Venezuela), and 64% Madagascar.

When I first tasted them I found them to be not only recognizable from the outside as a Norman Love product, but inside the silky, buttery texture and flavor that are his signatures were immediately evident while complementing and not overpowering the unique characteristics of each chocolate, a delicate balancing act. So, I thought it would be interesting to "interview" him in this fashion rather than talking to him myself on the phone and writing my impressions up.

Here's what the box and the bon bons look like (click to see a larger version in a new tab/window):


And for those of you who've never seen a photo, here's an official one:


Here are the answers to Norman's top 10.

Tags: BLACK, felchlin, norman love

Views: 2263

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Replies to This Discussion

After spending a day with Paul DeBondt in Italy and watching him make one of his renowned eggs using his spray gun - I was hooked. Following his advice, I purchased a gravity fed pressurized cup spray gun in order to create effects such as different splatters and lines as well as a smooth even atomization of chocolate and cocoa butter. Of course, my new love of spraying took me to your website and I see you, too, do amazing effects! I have a few questions:

1) Do you use a pressurized cup gun? If so, can you explain some of the settings for different effects?
2) How many coats of spray do you usually do for a solid colour shine? Can you explain the process? (eg. - spray, refrigerate a few minutes, hit briefly with heat gun, spray again etc.)
3) I have had issues with some of the sprayed areas not releasing from the mold but I'm not sure what the common factor is - can you tell me what might be causing this and how to avoid it?

I, too, would absolutely love to do a course with you. I have heard amazing things about your products. I am in BC, Canada but am willing to travel! How can we find out about the courses you offer?

Thank you so much!
Like many, I have been inspired by the work of Norman Love and would love to take a workshop with him to learn airbrush techniques. My question would be if he has found the colorants in red cocoa butter to be any more problematic than other colors and if there is any benefit to sprayng uncolored cocoa butter in the mold before adding color. Also are there are any organic colorants out there that can create spectacular effects and additional shine. People love the color but often are concerned about the ingredients/dyes used.
www.sweetparadisechocolate.com
Hi Melanie

very nice chocolates .
i know that there is a natural coco butter ...BUT,it is soo hard to work with .it actually very sensitive .
it oxidize if the chocolates are not well stored,you can find these organic colors at chef rubber.
best regards
yes I know about Chef rubbers organic cocoa butters but have not tried them.I didn't see them on the shelf when I was there a few weeks ago. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has used them.
chefrubber.com has natural CB
Thanks I know they have it but have you used it? Do you know how the colors turn out?
I don't want to spend $20 a bottle for drab colors. My customers like the color. They say they want natural things but thats not what they buy.
Hi Melanie!
Have you heard about the natural cocoa colored butter from chefrubber? I use it a bit.
Hello Norman,
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our pressing questions!
I have already asked a few questions about spraying but need to add a few more now that I've been at it several weeks...
I am spraying a dark chocolate/cocoa butter mixture (70%/30%) using a gravity fed pressurized cup spray gun (not an airbrush). I'm keeping the psi fairly low - approx. 20 and am not using the pressurized cup feature for straight atomization. I am spraying for shine and am getting haphazard results - from very shiny - to dull - to flaking - and to what looks like a brassy dusting on certain areas of the finished product (see photos). I have been experimenting with varying temperatures of my chocolate/cocoa butter mixture based on such varying information out there.

Here is some of the conflicting info I've run into:

- Correct working temperature of the cocoa butter/chocolate should be very hot when spraying, approx. 40°C.
- Cocoa butter/chocolate must be in temper for spraying - no higher than 30°C.
- It doesn't matter if cocoa butter/chocolate is in temper as long as it is at the correct working temperature (I've been told varying ranges from 30°C to 40°C).
- Correct working temperature for cocoa butter/chocolate should be 1°C higher than tempered temp. when using an airbrush and 4°C higher when using a spray gun (spray guns require a higher working temperature to compensate for the higher air velocity and the resulting chocolate tempering that occurs as it flies through the air).

- Sprayed cocoa butter must not be refrigerated before shell molding.
- Sprayed cocoa butter should be refrigerated a few minutes and then brought back to room temp. before shell molding.

- Molds should be warm for the greatest shine. I have heard several conflicting maximum temperatures from no higher than 24°C to no higher than 30°C.

- Molds don't need to be buffed if they have been used and have a film of cocoa butter on them.
- Molds need to be buffed EACH TIME they are used.

Can you comment on these discrepancies? I seem to be getting good and bad results with seemingly the same conditions. Yet there are so many factors to combine with each experiment that I have started confusing myself! I have holstered my gun until I get some much needed help. Thank you!



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