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For months and months, my hands were itching to make chocolate, to experiment and try out all the cool stuff I was reading about, to see if I could achieve “that” effect I had seen here or there. When I was working at Kingsbury Chocolates in Alexandria, VA, there was a lot of stuff I wanted to do, but my schedule was so limited and my time so limited I wasn’t able to do anything but the regular stuff. At least that way I was able to establish a good foundation; intuitive understanding of chocolate tempering, basic ideas, dipping skills.
Now I’m in the thick of it. In the last four days, I have produced over 1,000 bonbons and truffles by myself, working an average of eight hours a day. My techniques have improved and I can make you a bonbon just as good as those on Norman Love’s website. It’s just as satisfying as I thought it would be and while I’m getting a knot in my shoulder from hand dipping two or three hundred pieces a day, there’s nothing better than turning out a great looking and great tasting piece of chocolate.
I have to do a lot more work than I would in the US, as there are a number of products I can´t buy here pre-made. I make my own fondant for fillings, my own Gianduja-which involves toasting peeling and grinding the hazelnuts, then grinding them again in an industrial blender to get them smooth, then mixing them with tempered chocolate. I never did manage to get invert sugar, so I also have to make it myself. The place that was going to sell it to me never did respond, and I don´t have time to plead with them to sell me some. It´s easier to make it myself.
I haven’t been writing much as I would like as I’m producing just as much as I can for this weekend’s event. As I mentioned, we will be exhibiting the “World Bazaar” event, sponsored by the Association of Diplomatic Women of Ecuador, at the Quito Exposition Center. About 7,000 people are expected during the day. We’ve been running around getting the publicity materials printed, giant size posters printed, finding tablecloths and thing up ideas for the display.