The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!


Startup Central

Are you looking to start a chocolate business? Want to talk to others who've been there or done that - or have you been there and done it and want to share with others? This is the place to discuss it.

Location: Worldwide
Members: 671
Latest Activity: on Tuesday

Startup Central

Do you make great chocolates? Know everything there is to know about tempering chocolate and cooking the perfect caramel? Able to turn out thousands of finished chocolates without blinking any eye?

Does the thought of using Quickbooks or writing a business plan sends you screaming into the walk-in begging for mercy?

This group is for you. When you join, please introduce yourself to the group in a comment on this page. Yes, I know you have a profile page, but it would be great to have you add a few words about you and your business in the context of this group. If you have a website, feel free to post a link to it. Please don't post a link to your profile page, people can just click on your profile photo to visit that.

PS. Below is the full picture I used for the Group photo. It's a chocolate store/cafe in Mexico. Those are stone mills (the kind Taza uses) to the right of the guy with his back to you in the blue shirt and notice that they are selling beans. The stone mills suggest that this store is located in Oaxaca.

Comment Wall


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Comment by Leena Caligiure on August 23, 2010 at 7:27pm
Hello all! Glad to join this group, for Im not too new at making chocolates but just new to the full fledged business of it! Started in the chocolate industry 11 years ago. Took a break for some family time and started up again about 2 years ago in Florida. My lifesize chocolate footballs were in the 2009 Superbowl and we did all the chocolate centerpieces(with help from Norman Love Confections) for the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Last October we opened our very first store front in a great location in Valrico, Florida. Everyday is a challenge filling orders, shelves, ordering ingredients, packaging, and not to mention juggling 3 kids! Its exhausting but it's my passion. My only complaint is that I dont have too much time to play. I love to work on new flavors and products but everything else keeps me too busy. We have a couple of part timers, but being a new small business( and not to mention a really slow summer) budget is always our main concern. Looking forward to a great fall season, putting out some unique hand crafted confections!
Comment by Dawn Swank on August 8, 2010 at 11:13am
Greetings to all my fellow chocophiles, especially the EcoleChocolat grads!!! I am in the process of setting up shop under the protection of the newly-minted cottage law here in Michigan in order to test market demand for quality, artisanal chocolates. I am presently looking for a way to use single origin chocolates in making my own "Girolle deco rolls" for use in chocolate tastings. I thing they will elevate the small amounts of chocolate optimally needed for a tasting into something elegant. Here's a link if you'd like a visual
My dilemma is that when I pour the tempered chocolate into the pan and allow it to set up, it does not STAY tempered all the way through, I'm assuming due to the thickness. My apologies-I have a feeling I am asking for some very elementary advice. Thanks for your patience!!!!
Comment by Dirke Botsford on July 23, 2010 at 9:18pm
Hi Susan, I just go the Revolation 1 and it's been heaven for dipping, I have doubled if not almost tripled my production with just the one machine.
Comment by Frank Haberman on July 23, 2010 at 7:36pm
Hello to all the Chocolate Lover's out there! one of the largest sellers of Candy Foil would like to extend a very special offer to the members of The Chocolate Life site. We are offering Candy Bar Foil sheets at at the lowest cost anywhere, in addition, if you order 5 packs of 100 sheets or more we will offer you USPS Priority Mail shipping for half off. That is 1/2 off the USPS price not some marked up price. Check out large selection of colors and designs. Be sure to include the coupon code found on each page of the Candy Bar Foils and to mention Chocolate Live in the comments section.

Comment by Susan Van Horn on July 23, 2010 at 5:56pm
Hello, Everyone! Hi, Juliana! I'm another recent Ecole Chocolat grad and have loved every minute of the learning curve! I am now seriously looking at purchasing my first machines to produce my chocolate truffles and have been on this site for awhile now. Trying to educate myself and not get paralyzed by all of the choices out there! Of course, my brain is now pinging with too much information so, I am just that. Paralyzed!

I've been having a lot of interest from caterers, restaurants and the general population for my goodies but, I am concerned with getting too ahead of myself and not being able to produce what is required. So, is there some happy medium regarding equipment purchasing? I don't want to turn around and have to purchase more equipment after my initial purchase but, I can't yet go the big ticket machines. Ideas anyone? Hilliards Little Dipper to start? Or....?
Comment by Ek Chuah on July 20, 2010 at 2:14pm
I'm studying to be a chocolatier and hope to open my own shop inside the next two years. I'm very excited to be apart of this forum!
Comment by B. Ridenour on May 11, 2010 at 8:32pm
For years, my family has made a particular confection for the Holiday Season to give as gifts for friends and clients. My wife and I have continued this tradition and made these things for the clients of both her business and mine. These things defy description; I can only say that you’ve never had anything like them.

This last Holiday Season, I made the suggestion that we try dipping them in chocolate just to see how they would turn out. The first batch was small, 1 dozen units. Consumed ravenously by myself and my wife. Both of us were very impressed at what had been created. The second batch was much larger, 170 units were made and several friends were asked to try them and give their honest impression them. The reviews ranged from “a perfect balance” to “OH, MY GOD! I JUST HAD A CHOCOLATE ORGASM!”. Everyone agreed that they had never had anything like them and would pay money to have more. One person I gave them to has requested that I make batches of them for the members of the rod and game club that she manages.

We feel that we may be onto something here and we would like to make an attempt to market these things on some scale. Both my wife and I have more experience in the realm of food service than we care to admit to. So we’re no strangers to the level of commitment and work involved in a launch. I also have quite a bit of experience as a dessert chef and have a small amount of experience working with chocolate (though it was many, many years ago). I have questions and hope that some of you here will offer some guidance and advice.

The chocolate that was used was Ghirardelli’s milk chocolate chips. No attempt was made to temper the chocolate as I was not really concerned with the texture or appearance of the finished product. This next batch will be made with attention to that detail. Is there any reason why this chocolate would not work? To put it another way: Does it matter that the chocolate that I use comes to me in the form of chocolate chips?, or should I be looking to a different source?

Is there an adverse affect on chocolate to go from a melted state into a refrigerator to speed up the setting?

Further, I have had a great deal of difficulty finding suppliers online. Mostly chocolate suppliers. Is there a resource for finding this information? I live close to NYC and one would think that there are plenty of suppliers in this area, though it seems as though there is some secret password or handshake that one must know to find this kind of information.

Last of all,is there a company that makes a small scale enrobing system? Something that would fit into a 12x15 foot room?

It is not my desire to have a store or any kind of retail operation. The goal here is to supply this confection on wholesale basis to mom and pop delis and caterers and whoever else I can pawn them off to.

Your advise and opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Comment by Nina G on May 9, 2010 at 5:41am
Hi all,

was very lucky to stumble upon this website as I was doing some research online yesterday. I have been a stay-at-home mom for close to a year and am hoping to have a home business in gourmet chocolates up and running soon. Will be taking a chocolate making course at the Barry-Callebaut insititute in Dublin, Ireland next month (I live in Gibraltar). Any information/tips/advice from anyone is much appreciated! Agree with Harvey below - there's a lot of great stuff out here, and I'm really excited about my new business!

Can anyone recommend temping machines chocolate mould brands available in Europe?

Thanks :-)
Comment by Harvey Shugarman on May 4, 2010 at 2:45am
greeting chocolate lovers..
I am not going to share my story, as it is very late, and did not want to be rude by joining and not saying howdy.
I want to thank Clay with creating this beautiful format.
great stuff here, and I thank all of you.
Comment by Juliana Bounds on May 4, 2010 at 12:40am
From past posts to the latest one, if I counted this right, I am the third Brazilian to join the group. Love these ideas, love the discussions. I have been making chocolates for a while -- especially truffles and bonbons -- trying to mix much of what I learned in Brazil, and keeping my fondest memories alive. It seems like that will be my path as I try to take thsi chocolate business a little further (or a lot. I'd prefer a lot!).

Any way, I figured I wanted to cook and share my culture. Chocolate is my medium. And yes, I live in American now (in Oregon, actually). Thank you all for the comments and generosity in sharing your experiences. I have learned a lot, and I am sure, will learn even more.

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