Any dish that has chocolate in it is one that I never fail to indulge. Growing up, all of us have gorged on chocolate in a variety of forms. From the long chocolate wafers to the nutty caramel-filled bars, everybody has something to enjoy. But with the advent of mechanized production, the true beauty of making chocolate has been lost. And to go back to reminisce, we take a journey today in the day of a chocolatier.
Never Bored Of Chocolate.
One of the few downsides that comes with making or working with chocolate is the repetition of its main ingredient, chocolate. The smell, texture and taste of chocolate is probably imprinted onto a chocolatier’s mind forever. Chocolatier Barry Colseno has quite a unique way of not getting tired of chocolate. He prefers to change up his routine, the variation coming in his day and his orders. He has done it all from making cake for royalty, to go scrounging for truffles in farms. His favourite is taste testing new treats for his boutique.
One of the biggest attractions of chocolate is its flexibility. While the main ingredient, cacao, is the same for all chocolate, there is a lot you can do with it. It can both be incorporated with anything, or be made into anything. From ice creams and cakes to toffees and truffles, chocolate tastes decadent in everything. The best part of making chocolate is the myriad of techniques that can be adopted, from the traditional to the more modern ones.
A Morning Making Chocolate.
The routine usually begins at 6:30, with dawn just breaking over the horizon. With thoughts of the chocolate that await, the chocolatier replies to emails and orders. The tepidity of his fingers belie his excitement to start cooking and he makes his way to the bespoke chocolate kitchen.
A lot of chocolate making is less of working with it and more about brainstorming ideas for new dishes to go up on the menu list. A good few hours are spent on this before the chocolatier makes his way down to the actual work. Another one of their favorite parts being the taste test. With access to the purest chocolate, chocolatiers have the time of their life, indulging in this desire. Chocolate making is an art that exists at different levels. You have your industry made chocolate; you have ones made at bakeries, and then the ones by artisans.
Each one tastes different, and has a different texturing to it. Industrial chocolate is simply days of constant melting into molds and wrapping. Artisan chocolate is not that. It is hours of love, care and perfection melted into one bar of chocolate.
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The Afternoons Are For Tempering.
Tempering is the process of heating, melting and then cooling stuff into whichever mold needed. The chocolatier’s favorite part of the day, tempering is both very interesting and tricky. The perfect temperature is very hard to get right. Well, hard for everyone except for the chocolatier. When asked about what’s the best part of the work, the chocolatier replies, “It’s that I get to munch on any pieces, pralines or truffles that aren’t perfect? It’s like free goodies!!”
The afternoon is spent just doing this, as its both time consuming and tricky to perfect. While artisans are small time businesses, the number of order they can get in a day can range anywhere from zero to easily a hundred. It is a testament to their skill that they do each order with the same level of perfection.
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It’s Not All Sunflowers and Daisies.
A chocolatier’s day never actually ends. Their mind is always on chocolate, if not their hands in it. The wrapping up of shop takes place at almost dinnertime. All the melted chocolate is frozen back and sent into the deep freezer. Equipment is cleaned and counters wiped. The floor is sweeped and any remaining traces of sugar are vanished or disposed off. Sugar brings insects, and insects are a nightmare to the chocolatier.
We asked the chocolatier, have you ever hated working with chocolate? Doesn’t it get tedious sometimes? To always think about it, and work with it, days on end? And he replied with a resounding no. Chocolate to us is simply something we eat. To him, it is a never-ending journey of discovery. There are no limits to what you can achieve when working with something as malleable as chocolate. And of course, there is the wonderful smell of cocoa which you shall never get bored of.
The Beauty Of Chocolate.
Chocolate isn’t just something to eat, it is something that can be molded into art, and only a chocolatier knows exactly how it can be. Chocolatiers of old, have always loved pushing the boundaries of design, making you appreciate not just the taste, but the visuals of what you shall be eating. The competition is tough, and there are so many people of the same interest, but that’s everywhere.
While a lot of making it is knowing numbers and being alert and awake, more of it is passion. The drive to create something new everyday is what keeps the chocolatier going, and in retrospect, this applies to us too. Life is mundane and repetitive, and every day feels just like an extension of another.
The best we can do is find beauty in everything we do and have, just as all chocolatiers do.