It’s been busy around here at the chocolate factory! We’ve been a bit behind on posting updates to the blog, so here’s a quick catch up on everything that’s happened in the last few weeks.
First, we got a giant order for a conference. This is what 2,000 bars of chocolate (and a tiny box of extras) looks like stacked next to Cynthia.
It took us about 2 years of experimenting to make our first 10,000 bars, so it was a pretty big accomplishment for us to make 2,000 bars in about 10 days of long nights and weekends. This also forced us to streamline our process and now we are solidly making 1,000 bars a week. Even at this rate, though, we are still behind on our backlog but have some more ideas on how to scale up.
Next, we have two new machines in our chocolate-making line-up. First, a much larger Selmi tempering machine:
Unfortunately, because our chocolate has no added cocoa butter or emulsifiers, the machine does not work well with our chocolate and continually seizes up. Right now we are using it as a chocolate melter, but we’ve ordered an oversized motor which should be here in a few weeks. We’re hoping this will fix our tempering woes — right now this is the longest and hardest part of our process and we are looking forward to fixing it.
We also got a wrapping machine. I won’t say much here as this deserves a blog post (or series of blog posts) of it’s own. We had a lot of drama since it would not fit through our door. Here’s a photo of it all wrapped up while we figured out how to get it into the space:
Also, our container of beans from Madagascar arrived. These were the beans from Bertil’s farm that Cam and Alice visited last fall. The full container was 198 bags — half of which we shared with our friends Charley and Nicole. Most of the beans are in cold storage, but we have a small bean mountain in our space as we work through our bags:
And finally, our space on Valencia is starting to look more like a chocolate factory:
PS — you can find some new locations on our locations page: http://www.dandelionchocolate.com/locations/
I have been walking by your new store most mornings. It is going to be great! Lots of detail; saw some display shelves (?) going in. Yay!
Cam — Thinking about ageing some bars as we discussed. Should I seal them airtight or do they need to breath? I thought sealing them would keep the moisture out.
I think my friends and I must have eaten half of the first 10,000 bars! 🙂 New quota: One square (or maybe two) per night. Not sure I can do it.
Mark, this is an area where I’m certainly no expert. My guess, tho, is that letting the bars breathe would lead the biggest flavor change due to aging. Let us know what you find out!