"Hello Everyone, Just popping in to introduce myself and say hi. I'm an environmental scientist from Australia, experimenting with chocolates! I don',t at present, do bean to bar but do make chocolates from cacao and butter to sell at…"
This group is for ChocolateLife members making, or who are interested in making, chocolate from the bean."Home Brew" means you haven't gone out and spent millions-you're mixing and matching (and making) what it takes to make it work.See More
"Hi again Deborah, one more question on the coconut nectar. Do you have any problem with moisture content in the sweetener? Do you use it straight out of the bottle?
Thank you for sharing the journey!
I missed your reply until today. Coconut nectar sounds like a perfect solution. Can you tell me where you buy it please?
Just as an experiment I made a small experimental batch using organic powdered cane sugar which had tapioca starch…"
Welcome to the chocolate life! I love it here, so many experienced folk to help us newbies :)
I haven't made bean to bar chocolate yet, still on the organic raw cacao and butter but I have been selling at the local farmers markets for…"
I too gave up on the liquor. I ended up increasing the powder and now it's yummier!
/I use coconut nectar not the sugar. It's less fiddly and mixes beautifully. I think I would have to grind the sugar in a mortar, or buy a conch as…"
You probably have a solution that works for you, but here is what I ended up doing. I have an inexpensive system for melting that works well. I bought a 4 qt. round crock pot (slow cooker) and instead of using the ceramic bowl I use…"
I don't have an answer to the thickness issue of liquor question you ask. I too experimented with the liquor and added butter to thin it, and felt like I was ending up with too much butter and it was still thick. I went back to the…"
I make organic raw cacao chocolate (I use cacao powder and cacao butter) with coconut nectar and everyone loves them. I sell at the markets and it's a definite plus to tell people they are low GI (35) and I also only do dark chocolate…"
Hi folksAs a newbie, I have been making chocolates for the markets these last 2 years using cacao powder and cacao butter. But I like the darker, more bitter flavour of cacao liquor. I've had a go melting some but it is rather thick, despite adding cacao butter to the mix. Anyone know the proper ratios for liquor and cacao butter? Any other thoughts on powder v's liquor?many thanksDeborahSee More
A small solar panel with a charge controller charging a deep-cycle battery that's powering a 12v portable fridge. No need to worry about pulling down the car battery and not using the inverter makes the whole thing more efficient.
For a glass (agree w/Colin on this) display case you could create a variation on what the craft beer world calls a jockey box (basically ice and heat exchanger coil in an esky) and use it to chill air or water to cool a thermal mass that forms the base display case.
It gets more complex Deborah. Maybe an angled tray with glass on top and ice packed on the tray. Then some polystyrene on the ice with the chocolates on the polystyrene so they are separated from the ice. It would stay cool inside and look nice. Angled towards the customers so they can see and also to create a low point to drain the melted water.
You can get sheets of polystyrene from Clark Rubber.
The ice does not need to last all day and indeed it won't but you'll need to experiment a bit.
I suggest glass as opposed to polycarbonate or lexan as it looks good and won't easily scratch. Actually lexan won't scratch either but will craze over time. Glass is heavy and of course easily broken.
You may still get condensation - experiment at home first!
There are commercial displays available too but they are costly, probably heavy and need power.
As regards power, I do all sorts of farmers markets and sometimes I have power, often not. So I use a 1000W pure sine wave inverter and a car battery.
Deborah, I do farmers markets in NSW too. Mine are in Sydney and I think you are "up north".
I find that trying to cool chocolates at the markets is too complicated. You actually have two problems
Keeping the chocolate cool on your stand
Persuading Customers to buy them - they get concerned that they will melt
I cool mine right down before leaving home. I keep them in a cool room at around 16C all week so they are very cool before I leave. I leave them in polystyrene boxes in my cool room so even the boxes are cold to start off.
At the markets I take just a few bags out to display - the rest stay in the boxes (with lids on). I sell these first and re-stock my stand from the boxes. You can use "Lite 'n Easy" boxes or buy them.
Be VERY sure that your stand faces to the east or south. NOT north or west (southern hemisphere). This is CRITICAL! Otherwise the sun will kill your chocolates. If facing to the east you will need to protect it until around 10:00am. Which is OK as people tend not to buy choclate until after 11:00am.
I have used this to work in temperatures up to 38C - I was not happy but I survived.
As regards customers not buying for fear of product melting, it helps if it is cool to the touch but does not fix the problem really. I am about to experiment with making padded metalised bubble wrap bags along the lines of this...