For the first time in Australia, a craft chocolate class has been created with a professional focus in mind, by using large-scale artisan machinery from start to finish. Jessica Pedemont describes what it takes to make chocolate from ‘bean to bar’.
Making craft chocolate from scratch is well known throughout the world as ‘bean to bar’ or ‘tree to bar’. Depending on the lengths the artisans are going to, this isn’t anything like commercial confectionery chocolate. The Craft Chocolate Class was created for so many reasons; from helping arm professionals in their grown field to the curious who are willing to dip their toes in the ‘lesser’ known industry.
I personally have had students ask me for years about a class like this but to do it the way I wanted to would take a team effort. It’s truly humbling when the participants have travelled from almost every state in the country and even as far as Europe to be with us for three special days. The calibre of students was amazing; to hear and see what the students wanted to learn and get out of class was vast. Some worked in the drinks industry, coffee business, chefs, pastry chefs, chocolatiers, chocolate makers and many more.
With the goal to present something never been done before in the industry in Australia; our team included FBM, Euroquip, Makira Gold and yes me Chocolate Artisan. We had other friends make guest appearances to add value to the workshop including; Beanbaryou, Celebration Cooking, South Pacific Cacao, even the Centre for Wet Tropics Agriculture from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in QLD as the project leader for an ACIAR project. A mouthful but definitely worth it for the fresh cacao pods they sent down from North Queensland!
The machinery in the modern day world often seems to be superseded by newly released technology constantly, it’s good to know about the way the originator’s started this whole chocolate making party off. So we tried to cover as much as we could by asking the group what they were looking to get out of the workshop. A lot of brands out there make their own versions of chocolate making equipment, things like pre-grinders, crackers, winnowers, the melanger, conching machines, auto-tempering machines and more. All in all, that’s a massive commitment from any businessperson part to fork out for, one of the great reasons to attend classes to find out the ‘ins and outs’ of options out there available today.
Another awesome flow-on effect is we hardly waste anything, the shell of the outer nib we often use to make a tea or coffee like drink through various infusions and expressions. I use the shells on my compost at home; many think if Willy Wonka had a veggie patch it would smell like mine at home. Also the shell has been used in body products featured in scrubs to soaps. The list goes on, the jute bags the beans come in get reused and the prized cacao nibs get made into delicious chocolate products. During our class there was a project running by the “Kaldor Public Art” movement happening down at Sydney’s Carriageworks by artist Asad Raza called “Absorption” to create a “neosoil”. We donated our beautiful by-product cacao shells for that month and had a speaker come talk to the group at the end of the last day. Apparently the cacao added so much goodness and side effects to the soil and of course smelt amazing.
We will run this class once a year, with brands from interstate and internationally running the class along side me. An exciting class to look forward to every year – like a three day chocolate birthday party shared with the attendants like they have booked into the holiday inn for some much needed timeout.
You always learn more while having fun … and eating chocolate.