The Chocolate Life

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Hi all,
I know I haven't been making chocolates and other confections for long, only since last fall. And while I did well during the holidays and thru early spring, I find I have a problem. From now until next fall, all my selling will be outdoors. I don't have a retail space and cannot sell to another retail location without a commercial kitchen. I can however sell direct to the public, which I do. So, how in the world do I keep my chocolates and other candy from melting in the summer sun? I will be under the shade of my pop-up, but ambient temps can get pretty warm even as far north as I am. I will not have access to electricity in most instances. Ice chests with ice leave me open to water contamination. Any suggestions would be most appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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Replies to This Discussion

I stopped selling chocolates (mostly) during warm months and focused on selling and perfecting my caramels. Because of the heat, I made the caramels a bit harder so in the heat of the day, they would be just right. It not only eliminated the chocolate melts in the summer problem, it increased my brand recognition to all year round. I do sell chocolates also, but they must be ordered and pre-paid. The next week (I do weekly farmers markets) I bring the chocolates, pre-boxed and keep them in a cooler that I only open when someone picks up their order. If you box them right, the chocolates stay cool and dry. I also bring white shopper bags and sandwich baggies of ice for the customer to take home their pre-boxed order. Another thing I have done is to sell hot cocoa in the mornings of the market before it gets hot. If you see lots of people drinking coffee, then you would do well selling hot cocoa. Hope that helps... Karen - www.fortechocolates.com
Good thought. I will be doing our local farmer's market and some of the summer festivals around here. But, not every week. I've already discovered the caramel phenomenon. LOL They seem to be as popular or more popular than chocolate. Good idea about making the caramels harder during the summer so the warmth just makes them perfect to eat. Thank you.
Karen, I am curious how you get the caramels harder. Do you cook them to a higher temperature or make a change in the ingredients?
Thanks and your website is gorgeous!
Julie
Helzer Handcrafted Chocolates
Debby:

There are a number of small portable refrigerators that run off car batteries that you might consider using. Here's is one from Engel that you should probably be able to get for under $500. If that's too much, then consider using a cooler with a "5 Day" rating. Many of the larger of these have large trays that sit into a groove in the rim. If you put the frozen gel packs into the tray you can keep things underneath cold without having to worry as much about your chocolates getting wet, especially if you put some sort of baking/cooling rack in the bottom of the cooler so the boxes never touch the floor of the cooler.
Thank you for that information. I'll look into it.
Debby, it's not too difficult to sell chocolate in the heat of summer. I use three or four frozen gel packs in a big cooler, which is good for a full day, even with opening and closing. (Separate them from the chocolates with some newspaper, so you don't freeze them.) I also put a gel pack, wrapped in a nice cloth, under a dinner plate, and then put my packaged chocolates on the plate. You'll get some condensation, but if it's packaged well that won't be a problem.
I would display photos of your produts and keep the actual product in a cooler with dry ice which is available at many grocery stores. If you put the dry ice at the bottom of the cooler, products will stay cool for many hours even in high temps. I use dry ice when shipping during the warm months and almost always when shippng to southern and western states. You can always take product out to show people who are interested. Hope this helps and good luck with your sales! Lee from www.artbychocolate.com
Thanks for your input. Summer is soon over and I'm looking forward to fall and indoor venues.

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