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Where do you buy your chocolate?. What kind of chocolate do you buy?.

Hi!

I will start a small chocolate confectionery business. Right now, I can't make chocolate (process the cacao beans), because I don't have the equipment and because I certainly don't know how to do it. So in order to start my business, I have to buy chocolate from others. In case you are in the same situation (not producing chocolate for yourself), could you please tell me, who is your provider and what kind (type and brand) of chocolate do you buy?. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much!

Cesar

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Replies to This Discussion

sorry for that, here it goes.. 
¨by what I learnt since I´m confectioning, I´m no longer thinking on making my own chocolate. Here in argentina I´m buying chocolate in a factory named ¨codeland¨, but I´ve also tried some belgium chocolates like barry callebaut and belcolade (not so many options with it.. I mean, one of each.. dark, mil, white.. forget about selecting how fluid.. or things like that in this so far away south american country) but I´ve found for instance in the milk chocolate, that thei taste kind of more acidic than the choclate we are used to eat here. 
Since you are in El Salvador, I imagine you should be able to get a lot of good chocolates in the market. 
I read some very good stuff of ¨Casa luker¨ who is a chocolate manufacturer from Colombia, I gues you know it. The guys from ¨artisan du chocolat¨ where with them in the chocolate saloon of london.


Is your idea to confection with a high level of quality, or are you giving priority to pricing?
are you going to work with chocolate, or with hydrogenated ones? (I mean those which doesn´t require tempering.. I can´t even call that chocolate)


Thats it!

(Spanish version)

Hola Dario !!!!!. Qué alegría y sorpresa tan agradabe encontrar a un hispano hablante en este foro !!!!!!!. Gracias por incluir tu comentario, porque eso me dá la oportunidad de explicarte qué es lo que quiero hacer, y estaría muy agradecido si por favor pudieses darme tu opinión. Pues bien, lo que quiero hacer es comenzar un pequeño negocio de confiterías de chocolate, aquí en El Salvador, y para eso me ha parecido una buena idea preguntarle a los expertos (chocolateros profesionales) qué es lo que están usando para sus confecciones, porque eso me daría la respuesta sobre lo que yo debería usar también. Después de todo, ¿porqué tengo que inventar la rueda, si ya existe?. Es decir, lo más obvio para mí, sería usar lo que los profesionales usan. Hasta el momento he recibido grandes sugerencias de Anjali, Liz, David, Patti, Ashley, y por supuesto las tuyas. Aparte de Chocolates El Rey (de Venezuela), no tenía idea de que existiera otro proveedor que ofreciera un nivel de calidad comparada a la de ellos. Sí sé que existen productores de Perú, de Ecuador, de Colombia e incluso de Costa Rica, pero como digo, tengo la impresión de que ninguno se compara a Chocolates El Rey.


En mi caso, el factor más importante para seleccionar a un productor de chocolate, con un nivel de calidad aceptable, es el costo. Inicialmente, no voy a ofrecer confecciones con un nivel de calidad muy elevado. Pretendo ofrecer deliciosas confecciones a un precio accesible para el mercado en el que me encuentro. Sería un error si esperara que los consumidores de El Salvador pagaran los mismos precios que los consumidores en Estados Unidos. Creo que esto ocurriría solamente en mis sueños. Debido a esto es que los costos de producción, y sobretodo, los costos de adquisición del chocolate, son sumamente importantes. Aquí donde vivo, tengo que competir usando una combinación de calidad-precio, que me permita tener un negocio sostenible. Mi idea es ofrecer productos que las personas no encuentren dificiles de comprar, y que sean apetecibles.


Debo confesar que no había llegado a esta reflección, sino hasta estos precisos momentos en que estoy escribiendo estas líneas. Me parece entonces, que aunque es bueno saber lo que los profesionales se encuentran usando, que debo investigar y seleccionar a los productores de chocolate que puedan darme esa relación costo-calidad que me permita competir y hacer de este, un negocio rentable. Lo ideal sería que yo produjera mi propio chocolate, pero bueno, sigue siendo un ideal por toda la inversión, que no tengo, que esto representa. Mientras tanto, voy a iniciar una búsqueda minuciosa de los productores de chocolate que puedan ayudarme en hacer de este negocio una realidad.


Tus comentarios serán muy apreciados.

Muchísimas gracias y saludos!

César

(English version coming soon)

(English version)

Here is an abstract about my reply, in Spanish, to Dario.

- In my opinion, Chocolates El Rey (Venezuela) is the most important chocolate maker in South America. Despite that, there are chocolate makers in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica.

- In my case, the most important factor to select a chocolate maker (with an aceptable level of quality) is cost.

- Here where I live (El Salvador), I have to compete using a combination of quality and price that allows me to have a sustainable and profitable business.

- My intention is to have a product that taste delicious and people may find affordable to buy.

- Despite is great to know, what chocolate the professional chocolatiers use, I have to research and select the chocolate makers who can give me the cost-quality relation, that can allow me to compete.

Have a great day!

Cesar

Cesar, I will keep it in english to be fair with the others.. 
to ¨make¨ your own chocolate, and get a couverture similar to the ones you can buy, you would face some new challenges.. find good quality sugar, and then refine very well, good cocoa, and refine it even better... then you´ll have to deal with emulsifiers.. vanilla extracts... a lot of stuff.. 
And the machines.. high papacity machinery is not cheap.. and the whole process, is a very industrial process... it doesn´t have too much to do with the art of confectioning..
this is my opinion, I´m not even close to be a profesional, I just enjoy a lot with it!

I´ve been in two factories here, the smallest one, used to buy couvertured, but now have some custom machinery for refining and mixing (concas?), and also (pailas) for coated peanuts and almonds.. 
but since they are refining, I´m sure they have better costs, but their own chocolate is not as good. not even close to what they used before.

I gues their problems have to do with cocoa origins, and the whole process of manufacturing.. 

Also then I went to visit a bigger factory, which is the one I buy chocolate to now.. 
and they explained me the importante of some of the processes involved and the expensive machinery to achieve such a good quality.. and let me tell you that it makes sense..

you should check for the prices of the cocoa beans, sugar, emulsifiers.. and everything.. and I´m sure you´ll find that it´s not that expensive to buy already done couvertures.. 

I would really like to follow how does your experience follows!!
and which products you choose to use.. 







Dario:

As always, than you so much for your great help!!!!. I am really grateful to you for your detailed answers.  And of course, I will keep all of you informed. Just be patient, because it will be a long and slow process for me (mostly because right now I have limited resources). BUT, be assure I will make it happen.

Take care and thank you so much !!!!!.

Cesar

I really like CasaLuker. I get it through IFI Gourmet. It's from a smaller family owned company in Columbia. They also grow coffee, and exotic berries. The couverture is really high quality. Their Acauca (dark 70%) has won many awards, and it's my fav dark to work with. Also their Noche is a milk, but it's a darker milk, and it's so good, it complements many flavors.
Callebeaut has a high quality line that is good to work with. But I like that the CasaLuker is a smaller company, and they pay ALL of the family farms fairly, and they use organic and sustainable farming practices.
You can contact IFI for samples. Or perhaps contact Lucker directly-depending on quantity you are using.

Ashley:

I didn't know about "Casa Luker". Thank you so much for sharing this invaluable information. I have concluded that I need to do a more detailed research about South Americans producers, given that in terms of cost, they could be more convenient to me.

Thank you so much and take care!

Cesar

In colombia, they use to prepare a beverage called, ¨agua de panela¨
panela is some kind of sugar block extracted from a sugarcane I think.
I got to taste some Casa Luker chocolates, because of some colombians living here in buenos aires, and it´s really nice :D

That ¨agua de panela¨ I didn´t like too much.. is just water, sugar and a bit of dark chocolate.. but it seems to be very common in Colombia.

Does anyone here know where I can get a soy-free, dairy-free and nut-free dark chocolate?  I have checked with Callebaut and they do not have a dark chocolate just a semi-sweet which I already have.  Do any of you have any ideas on where to look for this as I am making allergy-free items.

Julie,

Please let us know what sort of quantities/packaging you are looking for.

We manufacture, retail and wholesale sugar-free, soy-free, vegan (dairy-free) chocolates with and without nuts.  We do not use artificial sweeteners (no sucralose, aspartame and the ilk); instead we sweeten with our own blend anchored by organic stevia.  www.luvicecream.com or email me at ilya@luvicecream.com

Cesar I live in Guatemala and I am starting up a chocolate business. I have made contact with both Casa Luker and El Rey and they are sending me all their wholesale prices next week. We should communicate. Where are you in San Salvador? I have worked in Central America for 20 years and I am familiar with Shaws in El Salvador. hablo espanol tambien!!!

Hola David !!!!!

Es una gran alegría, y un inmenso gusto, saludar a un residente Centroamericano.

Muchísimas gracias por escribirme. Comparto y concuerdo con la idea de que deberíamos comunicarnos, aunque me parece necesario mencionarte que en estos momentos, debido a que mis recursos son un poco limitados, no puedo iniciar el negocio de confiterías de chocolate con la rápidez con que me gustaría hacerlo. Estimo que puedo encontrarme iniciando operaciones hasta dentro de unos 10 a 11 meses. Me gustaría aprovechar la próxima temporada navideña y mientras tanto ocuparme de todo lo que se debe hacer, desde la selección de los moldes hasta la construcción de un pequeño cuarto de enfriamiento.

Y como te comento, espero comenzar a vender a principios de Noviembre del próximo año. Me parece entonces, que esta podría ser la fecha propicia en la que pudiésemos conocernos personalmente y hablar sobre algunas formas de colaboración que puedan ayudar a ambos negocios a brindar un mejor servicio, y un mejor producto, a sus respectivos clientes.

Una de esas formas de colaboración pudiese ser por ejemplo, que un residente en Guatemala tenga la posibilidad de enviar chocolates a El Salvador y que un residente en El Salvador, pueda enviar chocolates a Guatemala.

Creo que pueden existir muchas posibilidades de colaboración. Pero, podría ser hasta que mi pequeño negocio de confiterias de chocolate, sea una realidad y no meramente un proyecto.

Mientras tanto, te deseo lo mejor y muchos exitos!!!.

Saludos cordiales!.

César Guzmán

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