Over the weekend, we had the exciting opportunity to meet up with another local chocolate maker. Dave Huston of Confluence Chocolate, who lives up in Sacramento, agreed to come down to the Bay Area for a visit. We met at Bittersweet Cafe, and drank some absolutely delicious hot chocolates (similar to what’s offered at Dandelion). I recommend the Spicy hot chocolate!
We met up with Dave to chat about life as hobbyist chocolate-makers, to share stories of how chocolate sweetens our lives and get to know each other. I know… cheesy. And it was wonderful! Imagine if you could meet someone else who has the same strange hobby that fills your weekends and evenings! Yes, we learned a lot, but more importantly, we met a new chocolate buddy. As per the trend, people in the small batch bean-to-bar industry are awesome!
So, what did we learn exactly?
First of all, we have some new equipment ideas that will make our process even more streamlined and will increase our ability to consistently make good chocolate. Specifically, Dave recommended:
- the Behmor 1600 Plus roaster – we’ve heard this before, specifically in Eugene with John Nanci. This will likely be our next investment in chocolate!
- Chocovision Revolation x3210 tempering machine – this is a big one, so we’ll see! On the one hand, I feel like we should get good at table tempering before we buy a machine to do it for us, honing our skills in the craft of chocolate-making. On the other hand, I’m very tempted to buy a machine that almost every chocolate-maker uses to make their process more exact and repeatable.
- a vibrating table for molding – this would reduce bubbles in our bars and improve the shine on both sides of the bar.
- a 140 CC syringe for molding (see Cal Vet Supply) – genius! This would reduce a lot of loss we currently have from transferring chocolate between bowls with a ladle. And it would minimize the mess. Love it!
He also recommended attending the Good Food Awards & the FCIA event in January. We’ve heard this before and are even more excited now. Networking with the chocolate industry greats there will be quite a treat!
We are considering gathering a larger group of local chocolate makers early next year, to discuss best practices. Locally, we have so many amazing human beings who are also amazing chocolate-makers! Just in the Bay Area, besides industry giant, Guittard in Burlingame, there are:
- David and Leslie of Arete in Milpitas
- Eli and Tracey of Bisou in Berkeley
- Dave of Confluence in Sacramento
- David of Double Monkey at Bittersweet Cafe in Oakland
- Todd, Cam, and Greg of Dandelion in San Francisco
- Jonah of Firefly in Sonoma
- Dave and Steve of Sacred Chocolate in Novato
- Nancy of The Oakland Chocolate Co in Oakland
- And of course… us at Root Chocolate in Millbrae!
So, look out for an invitation to gather and chat!
Happy Thanksgiving, readers! We’re feeling thankful for the chocolate community, our loyal fans, and an awesome set up for delicious & sustainable chocolate-making!