...And Six Months On... ; )

Wow, six months? Really? Somebody needs to start writing a little more often… 

OK, some catch-up. The new melangeur – V3.0 – arrived shortly after the holidays. It took us a while to get it wired up (we’re pretty comfortable making chocolate, but not so much doing our own electrical work). Then there turned out to be some unexpected issues that we had to work through with the manufacturer –  which we did – and in March we finally made our first (BIG) test batch of chocolate. It was “OK”, but it wasn’t “our chocolate” like what we make in our little Premiers. Making chocolate in the big machine (affectionately known as “The BEAST”) turned out to be quite a bit different than making it in the smaller machines. It took us several more test batches to figure things out (lots of nice 70% baking chocolate produced in the process), and along the way we learned a lot about what makes our chocolate “our chocolate”, big machine or small. It’s not always a lot of fun when you’re in the thick of something trying to figure it out (especially when the batches are big and take pretty much a week beginning-to-end to run), but it is fun once reach land again after being lost at sea for a spell.

We also got our cocoa butter press up and running, and learned how to use it. We couldn’t be happier with it – it’s a work of German engineering art that is just pure pleasure to work with. Now we can press same-origin cocoa butter for any of our dark chocolate bars that that are too low in fat (and consequently too thick) to mold well without additional cocoa butter. Beans that grow closer to the equator tend to be lower in fat, and beans that grow farther from the equator tend to be higher in fat, so needless to say, we’ve been pressing a lot of Ecuador cocoa butter!