Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Making’

Meet Karen Centeno

Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

One of the people who make a difference at Choclatique

Karen is our senior chocolatier. She’s been with Choclatique from the very beginning and worked on the creation during the very long research and development years when we first got started. She started as an assistant, but soon showed she had much more artistic talent than even she realized. I remember we were working in the lab when she showed me how she would decorate one of our beautiful confections. It was so beautiful I was surprised to hear that she had never worked with chocolate before and had never done much in the way of conventional art work.

Christmas Crunch BrittleWhen working at Choclatique, every piece has to be a miniature masterpiece. Decorating a molded piece of Choclatique chocolate starts by paint molds with the desired design inside-out and up-side down. It takes a steady hand and a lot of patience. When you look at the detail, you have to admire how much goes into just a single piece of chocolate. Karen is responsible for chocolate production and training all of our decorators.

Chocolate EuphoriaOne of the things that I particularly love about Karen is her up-beat personality and wicked sense of humor. She comes to work every day with a big smile on her face. She keeps everyone laughing in the Chocolate Studio every single day no matter how busy we are. I think it may be the euphoria she feels when she eats our chocolate.

Karen played an important part in testing the recipes in Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its affects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is a great holiday gift and most importantly, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time thereafter. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • Available now on the Choclatique Website and in Book Stores

Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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The Making of Q-91 Chocolate

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

An intense, rich, robust taste of our darkest chocolate!

The artisan chocolate industry is still very much in its infancy. It’s on a parallel path to where the wine industry was in the early 1960s with vintages, estate-produced blends and even single origin varietals. While I never thought anything could me more complex than growing and harvesting grapes, crushing and fermenting the must, the aging process, and finally bottling the wine, I’ve learned that the chocolate-making process is very much like that of wine… only on steroids—more temperamental, more multifaceted, and even more rewarding. It is now a known fact that dark chocolate, high in cacao mass, has many of the same health benefits that have been recently discovered in red wines.

The complexities of turning rustic cacao beans into fine chocolate are many. Consider that cacao crops are grown on plantations by over 3.5 million independent subsistence farmers in no fewer than 50 exotic countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Ecuador and Columbia… distances of over 5,000-10,000 miles from where the beans are grown to where they are processed. The beans have to be of certain specie and harvested at the perfect moment of ripeness. The farmers must also carefully ferment and dry the beans before shipping them to artisan chocolate makers and chocolatiers in the United States (and other points around the world) for further processing.

Recently, Joan and I had the experience of following the process of making Q-91, from the plantantation in South America to the processing facility in the Untied States where we carefully observed the production of turning the once cacao beans into a fine grand crux chocolate.

The treasure of beans were imported to the United States from small, subsistence farms near one of the many tributaries of the Amazon. Initially transported by burros to all-terrain vehicles, they finally made it to airplanes, then get flown to California. It was here that the beans were slowly roasted and winnowed, a process of removing the outer shell and extracting the inner bean, leaving the rich, aromatic and flavorful cacao mass of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter.

The unfinished mass was converted into Q-91 chocolate with only the addition of a small measure of Hawaiian cane sugar, a touch of vanilla and some additional cocoa butter, then conched for over 72 hours. The result was our highest percentage of cacao mass chocolate. I think you will agree that it is one of the finest chocolates ever to be tasted.

This South American treasure, made from the species of beans that Montezuma himself might have enjoyed, is rich in the most full-bodied, “big chocolate” intensity available. The chocolate has light undertones of coffee, red fruit, touches of tropical forest musk, with traces of banana and cashew flavors.

Like wine, chocolate goes through its own manner of “bottle shock” and must be allowed to relax to fully develop. Q-91At Choclatique, we quality check and, of course, the taste the texture of our chocolate on the day of production, four days after production when the chocolate has had a chance to fully develop its Beta 5 crystalline structure, and again twenty days post-production when the chocolate has fully matured before it is sold.

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