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Internationale en prijswinnende chocolademakers op het Origin Chocolate Event in het Tropeninstituut.

Chocoladeliefhebbers en fijnproevers kunnen hun smaakpapillen weer strelen tijdens dit unieke evenement rondom origine chocolade. Op 23 oktober 2013 zal voor het tweede jaar het Origin Chocolate Event plaatsvinden in het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen in Amsterdam.

Chocolade: van snoepgoed tot volwassen product

De opkomst van de kleinschalige chocolademakers heeft het product chocolade op een hoger niveau gebracht. Deze chocolademakers verwerken bijzondere variëteiten cacaobonen tot chocolades en weten de meer dan 700 aroma’s in dit complexe product optimaal tot uiting te brengen. Zij behoren tot de prijswinnaars van de gerenommeerde ‘Academy of Chocolate’ en de ‘International Chocolate Awards’.

Werd chocolade voorheen als snoep gezien, hier ervaart u chocolades die zich kunnen meten met de beste soorten koffie en wijnen. Op dit evenement presenteert de crème de la crème van de chocoladewereld haar chocolades en de boeiende verhalen erachter. Onder andere Ecuador, Vietnam en Madagaskar zijn vertegenwoordigd maar ook Kees Raat uit Amsterdam. U proeft zoete en hartige chocolate tapas, de mooiste foodpairings met wijnen, speciaalbieren en thee. Er worden Masterclasses gegeven en Het NH Tropen Hotel biedt tegen een prijs van 39,50 een 3-gangen chocolade diner aan in een van haar prachtige zalen.

Kortom, een evenement waarvan u verrijkt en verkwikt door de theobromine huiswaarts keert.

Waarom het Origin Chocolate Event?

Erik Sauër, importeur van origine chocolades en medeorganisator van het Origin Chocolate Event: ”Origine chocolades zijn gemaakt van cacaobonen uit één specifieke regio, soms zelfs van één specifieke soort. Dit zijn échte streekproducten, met een eigen smaakpallet, die zich onderscheiden van de reguliere chocolades.

Deze chocolades zijn relatief nieuw op de markt en wij willen fijnproevers en chocoladeliefhebbers hiermee bekend maken.

Wat valt er te beleven?

Presentaties en proeverijen van ’s werelds bekendste chocolademakers: Santiago Peralta (Pacari), Bertil Akesson (Akessons), Vincent Mourou & Samuel Maruta (Marou), Philipp Kauffmann (Original Beans), Sepp Schönbächler (Felchlin), Niklaus Blumer en Pascal Wirth (Idilio), Diego Badaro (Amma) en Mikkel Friis Holm (Friis Holm).

Bijzondere ontmoetingen met de meest vooraanstaande chocolade experts ter wereld: Martin Christy (Seventy% Club en International Chocolate Awards), Maricel Presilla (Gran Cacao, chefkok, schrijfster), Clay Gordon (oprichter van http://www.thechocolatelife.com), Anna Laven (cacao expert Royal Tropical Institute).

Verleidende proeverijen van bijzondere cacaosoorten en verfijnde chocolade door o.a. Chocoweb (www.chocoweb.nl) en chocoladewinkel Chocolátl

Exclusieve culinaire hoogstandjes van toppatissiers en chocolatiers: Kees Raat (Metropolitan Deli), Geert Vercruysse (Patisserie Vercruysse) en Alexandre Bellion (Chocolaterie Alexandre).

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Wijn-, bier-, whisky- en spijscombinaties met origine chocolade.

Een exclusief ‘origine chocolade’ diner met een bijpassend wijnarrangement.

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Meer informatie over tijden, sprekers en tickets op http://www.originchocolate.eu

Meer over Origin Chocolate

Origine chocolades zijn chocolades van cacao uit een specifieke regio. Kwaliteit, duurzame concepten, biologisch en direct trade zijn kenmerken van de chocolade in deze groeiende markt. Door de beste kwaliteit cacaobonen te gebruiken en zeer veel aandacht en zorg te besteden aan het productieproces, worden de meest aromatische chocolades gecreëerd. Tijdens het evenement wordt de passie van het fijnproeven gecombineerd met het op de kaart zetten van de speciale origine chocolade.

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Koninklijk instituut voor de Tropen

Het Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen (KIT) is een onafhankelijk kennisinstituut op het terrein van duurzame ontwikkeling, gezondheid, cultuur en kennisoverdracht. Het KIT helpt bedrijven, culturele instellingen, ontwikkelingsorganisaties, overheden en vele andere organisaties in binnen- en buitenland hun doelen te bereiken met hoogwaardige en bruikbare kennis. Er is er veel expertise aanwezig over duurzame cacao en de internationale cacaosector. De samenwerking met het Origin Chocolate Event is een voorbeeld van de overdracht van de ‘know how’ in de cacao industrie naar verschillende doelgroepen.

NH Hotels

NH heeft de ambitie om één van de meest maatschappelijk verantwoorde bedrijven te zijn in de gastvrijheidsindustrie. Het aanbieden van producten en gerechten met een duurzaam karakter, dat is waar NH Hotels voor gaat. Daarom steunt NH Tropen, als gastheer in het KIT, het Origin Chocolate Event.

http://www.originchocolate.eu/

 

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Gateaux Violet

Violet is a gateau with crunchy praliné, dacquoise almonds, ganache Original Beans Cru Virunga, crèmeux of black berries (cassis) and bavaroise of milk chocolate 42% Rep. Dom. Elvesia Felchlin.

 

Krokant laagje voor onderaan de dacquoise 1 plaat 59x39cm

400 g éclat d’or

200 g melkcouverture Elvesia 42% Felchlin

460 g praliné 50% of 60% noten

Gesmolten chocolade mengen met éclat d’or en praliné, op één kant gelijk verdelen van dacquoise.

Biscuit dacquoise amandel 1 plaat 59x39cm

500 g eiwit

200 g fijne suiker

200 g cassonade

330 g amandelpoeder

100 g bloem

200 g bloemsuiker

Eiwit samen met de suiker stevig opkloppen en met de hand de gezeefde poeders onderroeren.

Afbakken 190°C gedurende 15/18min

Original Beans Cru Virunga ganache

1200 g room

200 g invert

950 g Cru Virunga 70%

Room met invertsuiker koken en van het vuur er de couverture aan toevoegen.

Eens 50-45°C deze gelijk verdelen over het biscuit en invriezen.

Crèmeux cassis

1400 g vruchtenpulp cassis Boiron

400 g dooiers

500 g eieren

350 g s2

500 g boter

25 g gelatine

Een crémeux maken met vruchten, suiker, eieren en dooiers. Boter en gelatine tvg aan 45°C.

Deze compositie op de bevroren eerste handeling en terug invriezen om te eindigen met laatste laag:

Melkchocolade bavaroise Rep Dom Felchlin 42% BIO

500 g melk

500 g room

200 g dooiers

100 g s2               Met deze een anglaise koken en er de chocolade en gelatine aan tvg,

                                               20 g gelatine

                                               700 g Elsevia RepDom 42%

Eens op lichaamstemperatuur er de 1350 g licht opgeklopte room voorzichtig onderroeren!

UItgieten op de ingevroren biscuit, ganache en crèmeux, terug invriezen voor men deze kan afwerken naar keuze…

Crunchy layer for under the dacquoise:

400 g éclat d’or

200 g milkchocolate 42% Elvesia Felchlin

460 g praliné 50% ot 60% nuts

Dacquoise with almonds:

 500 g egg whites

200 g fine sugar

200 g dark brown sugar

200 g high gluten flour

330 g ground almonds

200 g icing sugar

Chocolate crémeux (one layer):

1200g cream 35%

200 g invertsugar

950 g couverture Cru Virunga Original Beans

Crèmeux cassis (one layer):

1400 g fruit pulp cassis Boiron

400 g egg yolks

500 g eggs 

350 g fine sugar

500 g butter

25 g gelatine sheets

Milkchocolate bavaroise Elvesia Felchlin 42% BIO

500 g milk

500 g cream 35%

200 g egg yolks

100 g fine sugar              

Bring the cream to the boil with the milk and pour the mixture over the eggs, previously

mixed (but not beaten) with the sugar. Cook the mixture at 82-84°C until it coats the back of a spoon.

Strain through a wire chinois on the chocolate and gelatine immediately,

20 g gelatine, 700 g Elsevia RepDom 42%

1350 g whipping cream 35%

BAVAROISE : Soak the gelatine in a large volume of water and drain. Melt the gelatine in a small amount of the custard then add the rest. Make an emulsion with the custard and the melted chocolate. Check that the temperature is at 35/40°C before incorporating the lightly whipped cream with a spatula or a scraper.

Violet 

 

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The Innovators In Pursuit of the New for 100 Years Felchlin

Last episode: The Art of Chocolate   From the Finest Cocoa to Exquisite Chocolate

The Innovators   In Pursuit of the New for 100 Years

Company histories are usually all about change, about leaps forward, highs and lows; they are a patchwork of differences. However, the Felchlin company history is different. In the 100 years since its foundation, it has been shaped by a remarkable amount of continuity: 

– The products – these have developed over time but always have satisfied a sweet tooth.

– The customers – although they have changed, they have always stayed the same, pastry chefs and, more recently, also confectioners.

– The pursuit of the new – the company founder, his son and today’s management have always believed in innovation and have always been ahead of their time.

-The unorthodox mindset – Felchlin’s management cared little for convention but looked for new approaches in order to arrive at different solutions.

In 1908, during the “Belle Epoque” period, 25-year-old Max Felchlin from Schwyz opened a shop. This timewhen women wore large hats and wide skirts and men sported carefully twirled moustaches and fine cloth. Felchlin sold honey and also made spread for bread that was aptly named “Ambrosia”. He spoke German and Swiss German and was also fluent in French and Italian. He was qualified merchant with boundless energy and had inherited his business acumen from his mother who, widowed at a young age, ran first a distillery and then a trading business.

A time of change   At that time, Schwyz was in a state of transition: the new postal building near the main square had just caused a stir, Zeppelin and other pioneers of aviation were launching airships that generated ripples both in skies and amongst the onlookers below.   It is not surprising that the young, multi-talented Max Felchlin wanted to take his fate into his own hands. It was in his nature to try different things: he became chairman of the Mythen mountaineering club, was a passionate skier, sold typewriters, took lots of photographs and wanted to train as a photographer in Berlin. Hoever, his trip to the German capital was of short duration and, after returning to Schwyz, he founded the Kaufmännischer Verein and became head of the Kaufmännische Berufsshule.   This chopping and changing from one thing to another all came to an end in 1913 when Felchlin set up the “Honigzentrale Schwyz”. He took on two permanent employees, thus demonstrating his decision to dedicate himself to this line of business. The young company went from strength to strength. Felhlin perfected “Ambrosia”, the spread made of honey, butter and fat – known locally as “Luussalbi”. He became an adroit trader in honey; during the First World War when the honey trade had all but collapsed, Felchlin seized every favourable opportunity to import Italian, Dutch and American honey and went on to sell this not only in Switzerland but in other countries, too.   As soon as the borders for both honey and people had reopened after the war, Felchlin embarked upon a fact-finding mission to America. In 1920, he visited honey suppliers, trading centres and a centre for the breeding of queen bees. He learnt all about the latest technologies. In 1922, back in Schwyz, Felchlin started to produce artificila honey. He also gradually expanded his product range. It became increasingly clear that his most important customers were bakers and pastry chefs, whom Felchlin supplied with semi-finished products. He sold baking powder, Vanilla-flavoured cream powder and even pure chocolate (“Cacao Couverture Cacaobutter”).   This was quite remarkable. At the beginning of 1920s, Switzerland had hit rock bottom economically; it was shaken by strikes, foot and mouth disease was threatening agriculture, and it was at precisely this time that Felchlin decided to stake everything on chocolate, a luxury product.   Once again, this demontrated his canny nose for business. Sure enough, the situation started to improve and Felchlin had made the right decision as Switzerland entered the Golden Twenties. As it was too complicated for pastry chefs and bakers to make chocolate themselves, Felchlin’s couverture was just the right product at just the right time. People danced the Charleston, wore short flapper dresses and sported Eton crops, watched with awe as high-performance racing cars sped through the mountains, discovered the cinema and the music halls – and added a little sweetness to their new way of life. Felchlin was the first to offer chocolate couverture to pastry chefs. He also sold almonds, hazelnuts, sultanas, currants, coconut, figs, candied orange peel, egg white, malt extract, baker’s ammonia, baking soda, sodium silicate, spices, pear-bread and gingerbread spices and fruit essences. As the name Honigzentrale did not properly reflect this impressive range of products, the company was renamed “Max Felchlin, Schwyz, Spezialhaus für den Konditoreibedarf”.

Rechnung Schwyz 1929, Felchlin Honig-Import

Work in the laboratory   History is not doubt that Max Felchlin was a resourceful businessman. However, he was more than just someone who was fortunate enough to have a few lucky breaks. In 1928, he set up his headquarters and home in Liebwylen. His laboratory was located directly below the office and this was where he experimented with new recipes until late in the night. The French novelist Victor Hugo once said, “Genius is about patience”. Felchlin liked to quote him and certainly lived up to spiret these words. He was dogged in developing both his products and company; his personal development was also remarkable.   By the time he had reached middle age, Felchlin was an established businessman. He had a flourishing business, a beautiful home and office, a capable wife and three children. Thanks to his foresight, he had successfully achieved  a clever mix of continuity and innovation. He confidently steered his company through stormy times, such as the world economic crises and the Second World War.   At a propitious time, he purchased such vast quantities of sugar that the beams of the warehouse bowed under its weight. He developed the “Pralinosa” praline filling and the “Sowiso” cream powder. The extent of the popularity of “Sowiso” was largely due to fact that the next generation had a part in its succes: the youngest son of the family, Max Johannes, born in 1923, took the lead in selling “Sowiso”. He used his remendous wealt of ideas to market the cream powder that, with or without cookin, introduced fine vanilla, chocolate and caramel creams into domestic households.   However, it was decades before Felchlin could hand business over the next generation. As is so often the case in companies managed by founder and owner, Max Felchlin senior initially despaired of his son. He finally handed over the reins to 39-year-old Max Felchlin junior in 1962 when he had proven himself by working at companies in Switzerland and the USA.

A marketing heavyweight   First and foremost, Max Felchlin senior was a manufacturer who did his daily rounds of the factory and was actively involved in the production process. His son, on the other hand, was a marketing man who never spent any time in the production; he had products manufactured to meet the demands of the market. Despite this diffrence, they had one important thing in common: they were independent – and wanted to remain so. Although the Schwyz region was Catholic through and trrough, Felchlin senior was a freemason; Felchlin junior was an untameable free spirit. He celebrated his independence by taking off on numerous study trips abroad. In January 1962, he took over the directorship of the company and, in the summer of that year, spent three months studying at the Harverd Graduate School of Business Administration in Boston. The company continued to flourish in Schwyz, mainly thanks to the established management team with Robert Lumpert (finance, sales), Felix Lappert (development, production) and Lilly Volpi (purchasing). Speaking of his extensive travels, Max Felchlin joked: “My company never does better than when I’m away.” This was meant aa a compliment to his executive employees.

Perhaps Felchlin needed the freedom afforded him by his travels to Chili, India, Italy and the USA to continue to supply his tremendous wealt of ideas. On thing is certain: when abroad he always looked for new sales markets for his products. An extended trip to Japan opened up a new market there that soon became the most important export destination for Felchlin products.   Whichever way you look at it, Max Felchlin was an unconventional company director. He once asked his employees about their hobbies. He urged those who did not have any to take one up. He believed it was important that his employees had something else in life apart from work and that, should the need arise, they would be able to find solace in this is something bad were to happen to them. He also believed in emplyee training. In fact, so committed to this was he that his head of finance, Robert Lumpert, once asked teasingly, ‘What is actually the purpose of our company: to train employees or to generate profits?” Max Felchlin even wrote vocational training brochures entitled “Werni Wild wird Beck-Konditor”, thus demonstrating his talent for making less attractive areas seem more appealing to specific target groups. He was a talented marketing man. He had a quatation from Goethe mounted above the entrance to the company headquarters: “The spirit out of which we act is the highest.”   However, Max Felchlin did not always displays this fine spirit himself: he could be very loud and overbearing. He burst into offices, forcing people who were talkng on the telephone to put down the receiver because he had something to say to them. If he didn’t like someone, he made it quite obvious, once he had made up his mind, there was no changing it. On the other hand, he was both loyal and generous to those people he held in high esteem.  

There is no doubt that Max Felchlin had a complex personality. He was an enigmatic figure: eccentric, with a touch of genius. His never-ending wealth of ideas was of tremendous benefit to the company. As competition increased and the domestic market became smaller, brilliant ideas were required and it was necessary to open new markets. In Swizerland, Felchlin tool pains to develop relationships with pastry chefs but was unsuccessful in this. However, he strengthened realtionships with wholesalers and the food service industry and cultivated commercial customers with sales promotions. He also developed the world-wide export side of the business; Felchlin headed the export department, after all, he was the most widely-travelled person in the company. He opened up the markets in America and Japan, accompanied by his American wife, Suzanne Felchlin-Eppes.

Felchlin acted with foresight and, in 1963, purchased a large area ol land in Ibach. In 1964, he opened a new warehouse on this land and, ten years later, it became the manufacturing site for all non-chocolate products. Nevertheless, however well-versed in the ways of the world, Max Felchlin kept his feet firmly on the ground and remained true to his roots. He commissioned a historian to research the history of the Felchlin family in the Middle Ages. He had a strong interest in local traditions, which he encouraged as well as he could. He supported the “Chlefelen”, a type of Swiss castanet, as well as the “Geissechlepfe”, the crack of the whip, by financing courses and offering prizes. Felchlin not only researched but also promoted, with a scientific meticulousness, “Trentnen”, the almost forgotten card game from Muotathal.

New training centre   Since training was a subject so close to his heart, in the warehouse where the “Sowiso” cream powder was manufactured, Felchlin established “Condirama”, the industry’s first training centre for pastry chefs and confectioners; this became an outstanding customerloyalty tool. At the opening in 1987, Max Felchlin again showed his unconventional side by dressing up as a radio reporter in order to find out what the public really thought of the new venture.   Felchlin was just as singular when choosing a successor. In 1990, he founded the “Verein zur Förderung der Wirtschaft und des Kulturschaffens” (an association to promote the economy and cultural works), issuing the majority of votes to Max Felchlin AG and thus separating capital and decision-making authority.   Since then, the company has experienced a very positive development. Max Felchlin appointed Christian Aschwanden as his successor; a food engineer and former Lindt manager, Aschwanden is a specialist in his field and, born in Schwyz, also completely conversant with local customs.

 Condirama in Schwyz is a training centre for confectioners and pastry chefs.

“We wish to earn money by providing services – freely, honestly, cheerfully and optimistically,” Max Felchlin remained true to this belief until his death in 1992. However, his successor had a long way to go before he could even start to think about making money again. The economy faltered, fey customers bailed out, small customers had to fight to survive and, in the midst of all this, the cantonal authorities for food control threatened to shut down chocolate production because it was housed in a simple wooden building in Seewen. The company was in the red.

New strategy   In two closed meetings, the company management under Christian Aschwanden  decided to tackle the problem head on. After all, previous company directors had demonstrated tremendous reserves of strength and the new management endeavoured to reinforce and develop the strengths of both production and sales. Management became a powerful team of specialists who knew how best to employ their strengths. By means of clever marketing, it was possible to win back customers and the new management also finally succeeded in securing a foothold with confectioners. Furthermore, production was made as flexible as possible, and this set Felchlin apart from larger suppliers.   Finally, the most important step was the decision to concentrate production on high-quality goods. Felchlin wanted to control production quality from start to finish. This meant selection cocoa at source, transporting it over long distances and processing it with tremendous care. In 1999, in order to underline the high quality claim and standard, this fine flavour chocolate was named “Grand Cru”. One year later, the new factory was built on the plotof land bought by Max Felchlin in Ibach and this became the manufacturing site for all products.   The success of new strategy was not long in coming. Customers were delighted and, in 2004, so was the strict jury: at the blindtasting of the famous “Accademia Maestri Pasticceri Italiani”, “Maracaibo Clasificado 65%” was crowned the best fine flavour chocolate in the world – a great honour for the chocolatiers from Schwyz! This succes was all the sweeter in view of fact that Felchlin hadn’t even entered the chocolate in the competition in the first place; the Italian importer had seen to that.   Fechlin thus built on the succes of a previous award; at a blind tasting by bakers and pastry chefs in 1968, the outstanding qualities of dark couverture from Schwyz secured it first prize in the overall ranking !      Whereas Max Felchlin senior’s unconventional nature manifested itself in trying out new recipes, Max Felchlin junior was a man of unusual actions who liked to push through original ideas. Today, the unconventional is firmly anchored in the company strategy. Felchlin is not interested in compromise and believes in high quality in all stages of production, always translating its beliefs into actions. Customers appreciate this; they know where they are with Felchlin. As in the early days of the comapny, the majority of Swiss customers are still small traders and products are still predominantly semi-finished goods for confectionery and bakery products.

Today, 104 years since the foundations of the company, people no longer wear crinolines and sport twirled moustaches. Howevern they still love the exquisite confectionery that is produced using Max Felchlin AG products – and today they also benefit from the added experience and expertise that has been developed over the last 100 years !

Hygiene und Idylle Felchlin in Schwyz

 

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The Art of Chocolate. From the Finest Cocoa to Exquisite Chocolate. part 10

Published by Max Felchlin AG, Schwyz, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. (2008)

A mellow sensation, marvellous aromas. 

A luxury foodstuff with chocolate’s vast arry of aroma’s really ought to be suitable ingredients for use in complex dishes. However, in reality, its powerful flavour makes it a difficult spice that can only be used selectively, and certainly not in coùbination with just anything. Chocolate is a good complement to olives, olive oil, liver and roasted products and its outstanding in combination with fruits ans some herbs.   For a long time, cocoa mass has been a vital ingredient in the Mexican dish, mole poblamo. The sauce that is served with chicken and turkey contains traditional crumbled cocoa mass, as well as onions, garlic, tomatoes, plantains, sesame, almonds, peanuts, raisins and prunes, coriander seeds, cinnamon, stale white bread, tortilla, chicken stock and a cocktail of four types of chilli and sugar.

The Spanish later adopted chocolate as an ingredient for sauces to complement game, for example, since the brown paste made the sauce go further. The Costa Brava is famous for its Catalan hare with almonds and chocolate (Ilebre amb xocolata). French cuisine also offers a dish of hare stewed in chocolate sauce (lièvre au chocolat) with a marinade of red wine, onions, garlic, carrots, leeks, thyme, bay leaves, nutmeg, pepper, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon and cloves, which is thickened with dark chocolate, butter and chicken’s blood.

 Lapin au chocolat

Italy has a dish comprising veal tongue in chocolate sauce (lingua in dolce forte), which is made of dark chocolate, sultanas, pine nuts and whit-wine vinegar, as well as hare in chocolate sauce (lepre dolce forte), which is less coplicated than the French version. In view of all the exquisite dishes featuring hare in chocolate, we could well ask ourselves whether the now traditional chocolate Easter bunny is perhaps the dessert version…

FOR HEALTH AND WELL-BEING In his book of herbs “Theatrum botanicum” published in 1696, Theodor Zwinger wrote that cocoa was both a food and a medication. Basel-born Zwinger (1658-1724) was regarded as one of the first real physicians and we can thus take seriously the healing properties he attributed to chocolate as used in the treatment of all kinds of illnesses and ailments.   For example, to treat coughs and to strengthen the heart, to protect against stomach complaints, respiratory problems and phlegm, as well as diarrhoea and dysentery. When combined with nutmeg and almonds, he attributed aphrodisiac properties to chocolate, writing that it roused the libido and was given by wives as a love potion to their husbands.

The art of the confectioner So, when did solid chocolate appear on the scene? The chocolate  bar? The chocolate that is not dissolved in a beverage or used in a sauce but that is enjoyed as a compact piece? The answer is at the beginning of the machine age when more and more work was rationalised and when processes that either difficult or impossible to carry out manually could be performed by machine.

Today, we have couvertures, the raw material of the chocolatier and the confectioner. We also have chocolate bars with just a few ingredients, such as sugar, vanilla and milk, as well as those with a greater range of ingredients, such as nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, macadamia), pieces of fruit, fruit aromas or fruit jellies (oranges, apricots, raspberries, grapes), or flavour combinations with coffee, nougat or caramel. Chocolate can take a lot of added ingredients. At the start of the new millennium, new combinations were launched on the market, mainly dark chocolate with lemon or grapefruit oil, fleur de sel, rosemary powder, cardamon and cinnamom, lavander and mint of curry spices from India, Thai curry, pink pepper or chilli.

Today’s vast arry of confectionery and cakes would be inconceivable without chocolate. Originally, sweets did not contain any chocolate at all and were instead based primarly on oriental recipes perfected in the Viennese court. Pralines in the form of sugared covered in chocolate were first available in France in the 17th century. There are no known recipes for chocolate cakes dating back to before the 19th century.   In 1832, a 16 year-old apprentice called Franz Sacher invented the now famous Sacher-torte. This features chocolate as a glaze and the method has since become indispensable for lots of exquisite sweets. The development of ice-cream-on-a-stick saw chocolate used as a solid covering that held the ice-cream together, for a while at least.   The pâtissier continues to make black-forest gateau and, of course, mousse au chocolate. The specialist are the chocolatiers and confectioners working only with chocolate. “On n’est pas dans la farine” is their motto.

Danta Rosa de Jamaica & 75% Ujuxtes

Top chefs experiment   In top restaurants, chefs experiment with chocolate and traditional recipes in order to create something new. The following dishes that were developed by a small selection of creative chefs sound simply divine: mousse au chocolate with olive oil (Martin Dalsass, Sorengo); terrine of goose liver in Riesling jelly with chocolate brioche (Hans-Peter Hussong, Uetikon); blood sausage with black chocolate, olives and hay-chocolatemousse (wuth aftermath, full cream and white chocolate; Stefan Wiesner, the “Sorcerer” of Escholzmatt); pamplemousse confits entiers avec gâteau au chocolate noir coulant (Nicolas Le Bec, Lyon).

Franz Wiget from Adelboden restaurant in Steinen near Schwyz has devoted a lot time to the use of chocolate in the kitchen. This is partly at Felcjlin’s request since the company is keen to showcase the whole range of its aroma wheel of Grand Cru varieties in a top restaurant such as the Adelboden, which is situated near its manufacturing facilities. Its quickly became clear that working with chocolate and its characteristic range of flavours is a complex tast and that chocolate cannot simply be randomly combined with absolutely everything. The biggest obstacle is the sugar, explains Franz Wiget, which is why he works with finely-rolled Grand Cru cocoa mass that not contain sugar and, thanks to the skilled, restrained use of cocoa mass, has created some amazing and harmonious disches. The unsweetened, dark chocolate is particularly delicious in combination with olives, red meat and crustaceans.   The folowing is a selection from the chocolate menu featuring the Arriba, Maracaibo and Cru Sauvage varities created by Franz Wiget for Felchlin: Croustillant with green-olive tapenade and chocolate ( a tapenade is a spread over a thin triangular pastry base, a second piece of pastry is placed on top and the whole thing is baked until crispy; the tip of the triangle in then dipped in chocolate and croustillant is left to cool).   Cappuccino with potato puree and chocolate (potato stock in a glass with cubes of chocolate, covered in foamed milk and with cocoa powder scattred over the top).   Lobster soup with chocolate (made in the traditional way, thanks to the roast aromas that unfold during cooking, the lobster soup already tastes of chocolate; Franz Wiget simply adds two or three pieces of chocolate to the soup).   Foie gras with chocolate and orange marmalade ( the foie gras contains wafer-thin slices of Arriba cocoa mass that appear as black stripes when the foie gras is cut; the bitter-sweet marmalade goes with both the liver and the chocolate, the opulent aromas complement each other to perfection).

Beverage matching It only now remains to look at which can be enjoyed with chocolate.

Pairing Wines & Chocolate In Marseille, it is the custom to break off a piece of pure, non-sweetened, hard cocoa mass and enjoy it with a little olive oil and an aperitif. Sweet wines in particular are a good complement to chocolate, for example, wines containing grape varieties such as Syrah, Rousanne or Grenache, wines such as Côte du Rhône, Banyuls, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Bandol, as well as heavy Sicilian and other Southern Italian wines that often reveal “chocolate” on the palate during tastings.

 The volatile aromas of distillates, such as Cognac, Armagnac or single-malt whisky, are simply superb in combination with the aroma and flavour of chocolate and can be enjoyed, for example, when unwinding at the end of a long day, to finish a delicious meal or simply on their own, since this is the union of two highly compatible partners, a marriage with fine prospects for a long, lasting finish. The reserve is also just as effective: chocolate containing spirits or liqueurs, for example, kirsch or absinth, cognac or whisky chocolate bars. Then, of course, there are alcohol-filled chocolates (canache).

 Chocolate has the reputation for being an aphrodisiac and is a subject of heated discussion. However, if this is true, then the effect must be more in our minds than the result of any physical reaction since chocolate has not been scientifically proven to contain large quantities of any arousing substances.

There’s no doubt that, two to three hunderd years ago, the healing power of chocolate was much more pronounced than it is today. However, if we consider the number of chemicals the human body is subjected to today in the 21th century compared with the 17th century, how many substances modern man takes on a daily basis, such as vitamin pills and contraaceptive pill, then the little bit of magic present in chocolate is really not going to make that much of a difference, either to the invalid or to the lover.

However, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that chocolate is uplifting, that it is a quiet pleasure containing essence that help us to overcome life’s bitter disappointments, reinforcing what the infant realises the first time it suckles at its mother’s breast, namely sugar means love and a feeling of security.   This first formative experience of taste is the most important and remains with us throughout our lives, even if, in adulthood, we have to learn self-denial and prefer to eat something savoury rather than chocolate. “Self-denial” has been the enemy of chocolate for years, ever since the ideal beauty has been that of the ultra-slim model, dictating fashions and setting the tone of society in which we live.

Wherever self-denial is involved, quality of life inevitably suffers. However, a specific pleasure is a way out of dilemma we experience when caught between the opposing states of joy, frustation and desire for good healt: we don’t want just anything; we want the best. For example, chocolate that has been manufactured with the utmost care and devotion to detail, every step of the way — as at Felchlin. In short, we want a superior chocolate. Our own small piece of luxury.

next time final episode: The Innovators   In Pursuit of the New for 100 Years (the history of Felchlin)

 

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The Art of Chocolate. From the Finest Cocoa to Exquisite Chocolate. part 7

Published by Max Felchlin AG, Schwyz, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. (2008)

The Transformation

From Bean to Chocolate

 

The fermented and dried cocoa beans are packed in sacks made of coarse jute and shipped across the ocean. They are then transported along the Rhine and unloaded at the port in Basel and put into storage. The chocolate manufacturer’s small warehouse in Schwyz only has the capacity to hold the quantity of beans that are used on a daily or weekly basis and that will be processed in the near future. Howover, before storing, Felchlin carries out one final, quasi inhouse grading of the delivered goods, separating them into two groups: those that are to be processed into Grand Cru chocolate and those that will become a blend of various origins.

Cleaning The daily quota is stored on pallets next to the cleaning machine. In industry, the cleaning process is fully automated, however, with a small producer of top-quality chocolate such as Felchlin, a single individual performs the first step in the cleaning process, which takes place in four stages, using three machines. This individual cuts open the sacks and casts a watchful eye over the contents as they are poured into the cleaning facility. This inspection is the last control before processing; after all, the cocoa beans could have become mouldy during the long sea passage in the ship’s hold. If the sacks were emptied automatically, this deterioration would go unnoticed with disastrous consequences for the final quality.

During cleaning, a magnet first removes any bits of metal. A blower then extracts dust and dirt, wood and fragmented beans. Finally, using a combination of gravity and vibration process, everything thats heavier than the cocoa beans is removed from the machine, for example, small stones. The cleaned beans are then transferred to a funnel-shaped silo and, from there, fed via an intermediate silo into the “reactor” below, where they are sterilised: pressurised, hot steam at a temperature of 150-170°C kills all germs in just three to five seconds.

Roasting In the production of first-class chocolate, roasting the cocoa beans is equally as importants as fermentation. Roasting reduces the water content of the beans from about 6.5 percent to about 2 percent; the shells loosen, the colour darkens and the roasting aromas develop. Traditional drum roasters, such as are used at Felchlin, may appear outdated but thanks to their size, they are easy to monitor and handle; this enables rapid intervention in the roasting process. These traditional drum roasters are gas powered (of course, everyone is familiar with the immediate respones time of gas to simple manual adjustments from experience in a domestic kitchen). In order to achieve a uniform roasting, the beans are turned and mixed continuously in the drum and then discharged and fed into the cooler below. At this stage, a cocoa bean would not taste very different to a coffee bean – to a certain exent, coffee and chocolate contain the same active ingredients; on account of its 50 percent cocoa butter conten, the cocoa bean is softer and without aroma.

More on Roasting:

Roasting pan: Open metal container that is heated over fire. This method is sometimes still used in the countries of origin when roasting cocoa beans for local consumption. (use: domestic)

Drum roaster: Large, rotating, gas-powered metal drum. The cocoa beans inside are moved and turned continuously for gentle, uniform roasting. This roasting in portions enables the roasting master to monitor the process and to quickly adjust the process to the different properties of cocoa beans depending on harvest and origin). (use; manufacturing)

Continuous roaster: Long, ventilated channels through which, from the left and right, hot air is blown. The channel is filled with cocoa beans or nibs, which slowly move from top to bottom and are thus heated continuously. The method is suitable for fully automated roasting of large, homogeneous quantities (mass production), but not if small quantities of different vareties have to be roasted. (use: industrial)

picture source: Vera Hofman.

Cracking The roasted, cooled beans are then fed through pipes into the winnower, where they are cracked and shelles removed: two rollers with blades attached rotating in opposite direction break down the beans. This is followed by separation: the shells are then removed by suction and the cracked beans, now called “nibs”, are sorted on a vibrating screen in stages, starting with the first fraction (very coarse), then the second to fourth fractions (increasingly fine), all of wich are further processed into high-quality chocolate; the fifth fraction (1-3 percent of the total cracked volume; very fine, almost dust-like, with remaining residu of shells and foreign matter) is discarded and can be processed into animal feed. The nibs are then directed into a silo using a jet of air.

Grinding  The stone mill has round, rotating, horizontal stone plate, which grinds the nibs to a particle size of 100 microns, without any loss of aroma (in contrast to high-performance machines). The heat generated melts the cocoa butter. Tasting the warm, liquid cocoa mass would now reveal coffee and roasted flavours, as well as very fine, barely perceptible hints of fruit (minimum acid).  In the ball mill, the mass becomes even more liquid. All small particles of cocoa have been ground and the cells have unlocked their flavours and aromas. The fruit notes are now stronger on the palate; there is an earthy aroma and a long finish. The desired complexity gradually starts to unfold in the cocoa mass. With industrial production, the next step is neutralisation, which involves water vapour releasing acids and bitter substances from the cocoa mass; for most Grand Cru qualities, this intermediate step is unnecessary. After fine grinding, the pure cocoa mass is ready.

Mixing  Transformation of the cocoa mass into chocolate starts in the mixer: additives such as granulated or raw sugar, vanilla powder (not vanillin but ground vanilla pods), milk and/or cream powder and cocoa butter are blended with the freshly made cocoa pass. Sugar enhances the aromas; vanilla does not taste like vanilla but actually makes the chocolate smoother. Although as it often conceals any flaws in the flavour. If the cocoa mass is further processed into Grand Cru quality, in order to maintain the pure character of cocoa, vanilla is often omitted.

picture source: Vera Hofman.

Rolling  The additives have transformed the cocoa mass into a chocolate mass, which is ground in the two-roll refiner to a particle size of about 120 micron; any sugar cristals still present in the mass after mixing are pulverised; the mouthfeel of the mass is dry and coarse. The five-roll refiner determines the fineness of the future couverture: for a Grand Cru, this should be between 12 and 15 micron. The human tongue cannot detect particles finer than 20 micron; any grittiness has disappeared. The chocolate mass is transferred to a trough, where the first roll picks it up and draws it into the rolling system, which now rolls the mass with an upward motion until it is wafer thin: on the uppermost roll, the chocolate mass has the appearance of a thin, brown, almost transparent film covering the metal. The cooled mass then flakes of and the flakes enter the conching process.

Conching  This is the key process in refining chocolate; it was invented in 1879 by Rodolphe Lindt from Bern. Conching releases the very finest aromas in the mass and takes place in three stages: dry conching, plasticising and liquefying.  Depending on the recipe and the machine, conching can take anything from a few to more than 70 hours. The temperature and frictional effect are generated by a type of agitator or mixer or by rolling in the longitudal conch. The most delicate couverture has to be monirated carefully; it’s often the worker at the machine who decides when a process is finished and when to intervene.  Today, state-of-the-art, fully automatic conches are generally used. However, the best flavour is still achieved with longitudinal conches similar to those used in the nineteenth century.   With dry conching, the flakes of chocolate mass are heated frictionally to between 60 and 90°C. The dark brown, rather dry mass is turned and sirred. The rise in temperature causes the water to evaporate and this rising water vapour removes any volatile substances, such as acetic acid produced during fermentation. The mass has an initial water content of approx. 1.7 percent; this is reduced to just 0.6 to 0.7 percent.

During plasticising, the dry particles are covered in cocoa butter during constant stirring; the mass takes on a silky gloss. The senses now come into play with thr eyes making visual assessment of mixture. The aromas should unfold and merge; this is checked every three to six hours. The fine gloss starts to from. Once the desired gloss has been attained, liquid cocoa butter is added to liquefy the mixture. Before further processing, the warm couverture is then poured into heated tanks and stored for a maximum of two days.

The longitudinal conch   In simple terms, conching transforms chocolate mass into a gorgeous product. The longitudinal conch is the most effective conching tool and, with its gentle action, it allows the most delicious flavours to develop.   Felchlin still uses three longitudinal conches, each with four troughs and rollers, manufactured in the 1930s by U. Ammann in Langenthal. Thise conch looks rather like a paddle steamer and operates in much the same way: the wheel moves two horizontal connecting rods, one in front and one behind. The wheel rotates in the centre of the machine; the cast-iron troughs are located on either side. The lids used to cover the troughs are curved and painted a milk-chocolate brown. A steel roller is attached to the end of the connecting rod and this rolls the chocolate mass eveny backward and forward over a granite bed. The troughs are not heated; the intense heat that, depending on the duration of conching, is generated at the pedestal is the result of this motion, the constant friction and rolling action. Crashes and bangs can be heard as the mass smacks into the corners under the lid. However, the roller must never jump or knock. It is crucial that the right temperature is attained and this is no mean feat. There is no skill in simply pushing a button to start the heating process, however, there is an art to generating heat by applying just the right amount of friction. With longitudinal conches, it is possible to generate a temperature of 75°C or more; 60-70°C is the minimum. A certain temperature must be reached after 24 houres; if this does not happen, it cannot be corrected.

More on conching:

The conching machine is a special agitator for refining chocolate. Both physical and flavour-forming processes take place that are extremely important for glaze and aroma of the chocolate.

Slow conching: in the mechanical longitudinal conch, the chocolate mass is slowly rolled and aerated between granite stone and steel rollers for two to three says. The frictional heat has liquefying effect without any loss of the delicate aromas and fruit acids (see figures above).

Rapid conching: modern method that prepares liquid chocolate in just a few hours. Agitators with large shearing forces and rotational speeds can be used for rapid stirring, heating and the cooling of the mass.

Summer of 2011 visiting Fechlin and admire the longitudinal conching, thanks to Sepp and his wonderfull team.

Tempering   The finished couverture to be moulded is cooled from 45-50°C to 26-28°C in a tempering unit and then re-heated to 29-32°C. This produces uniform crystals in the couverture, which give the chocolate the desired texture and appearance.

Moulding, cooling and packaging   The liquid, tempered chocolate is poured into the mould, cooled, knocked out of the mould and wrapped in compound foil or put into bags and then packed in cardboard boxes.

next part: The Composition  Every Detail Counts.

 

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The Art of Chocolate. From the Finest Cocoa to Exquisite Chocolate. part1

Published by Max Felchlin AG, Schwyz, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary. (2008)

Since my visit at Felchlin last summer 2010 and again this summer I must admit I’m addicted to there chocolate and there philosophy. This book is to interesting not to blog, so I must share this on my blog.

Foreword(Christian Aschwanden CEO Max Felchlin AG)

Welcome!

Everyone knows chocolate, and just about everyone loves it, but only a few people know how it ia actually made. In this book, we discribe the long journey “From the Finest Cocoa to Exquisite Chocolate”: each individual stage, from cultivation and fermantation to the journey and production, requires consummate skill and expertise. We invest a great deal of care, experience and time in transforming the seeds of these fruits from the tropical Rain Forest into melt-in-the-mouth chocolate.

Chocolate is more than just chocolate – the consumer is often uncritical in its selection and simply eats it without giving it a second thought. This book communicates knowledge about chocolate in order to increase th pleasure in its consumption and to enable a critical appreciation. We are passionate about production fine flavour chocolate, wich is the product of a variety of specialist processes tailored to achieve maximum pleasure.

Troughout its 100-year history and despite the incredible amount of change that has taken place during this period, our company has been consistently dedicated to pleasure. We produce chocolate in our small factory in Schwyz and are happy to share the secrets of its wonderfull flavours with those who really appreciate it. If this book transforms you from a chocolate eater to a chocolate connoisseur, then we have succeeded in what we set out to do.

A Gem Among Culinary Delights

Full Circle – Back to the Roots

The hunger for food and riches has changed the world. The voyages of discovery were inspired by the need for culinary treasures worth their weight in gold, namely by the search for spices that, 600 years ago, were precious and hugely valuable commodity available only in small quantities. However, the value of these spices went beyond the coffers of traders and princes and they unexpectedly infiltrated all levels of society. After Colombus landed on a Caribbean island in the New World in 1492, new foods started to enrich the menus of Europe.

Although the Spanish conquistadors were mainly interested in plundering the riches of the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas, they happened upon a veritable treasure trove of foods previously unknown in Europe and that are now integral part of our everyday diet. A small group of the most important South American products now account for a tremendous amount of the expenditure spent on groceries: potatoes, maize, tomatoes, beans, pineapple, avocado, papaya, peanuts, pumpin, turkeys, vanilla, tobacco — and cocoa. The tomato, although initially not even eaten in Europe but exhibited as an ornamental plant, is today the world’s most important vegetable.

The cocoa bean will never attain this status. However, it doesn’t have to, since it is already the undisputed number one in a very different ranking. Cocoa is one of the most valuable agricultural crops, the embodiment of luxury in its finest form: the luxury of time and pleasure.

The most wonderful luxury is time, perceived as a gift to be enjoyed. Not the time that is taken up with day-to-day choces but those truly precious moments when, freed from the demands of everyday life, we can sit back and indulge in a feeling of relaxation and calm, as well as look forward to forthcoming events, either with excitements or even with a certain trepidation.

Enjoyed in these circumstances, a pleasure is a truly precious and remerkable thing, especially if we allow it the time to develop its character, to reveal its complexity and uniqueness.

This is indeed, a pleasure, of course, chocolate. It is unique. Not only because its aromas beguile the senses but also because it demands that we make sacrifices. Sacrifices in terms of time, patience and also discipline. Chocolate denies greed, punishing exess with the heavy feeling of being sated. It only reveals its riches to those who are prepared to taste small pieces and to savour its hunderds of individual aromas.

Chocolate is something precious. A true gem amongst the culinary delights of the world, not only because the desire for a slim figure and fit body means that the comsumption of chocolate has come to be regarded as e reward; forgoing the devouring of chocolate with reckless abandon has paved the way for a more delicate enjoyment. We only eat a little chocolate, but what we eat, we eat selectively. We are not happy to settle for mass products and only want the very best. The bonus lies in enjoying the moment, a rare pleasure.

And so the circle closes. When, at the turn of the 16th century, the Spanish conquistadors first tasted chocolate in the New World, Columbus with little enthusiasm bur Cortés, who conquered Mexico, with the astute eye of the businessman, it was the drink of nobility and of ritual. And so, too, it was in Spain, at least for a century. The Portuguese then happened upon cocoa in Barzil and soon after planted the tree on the islands of Sao Tomé and Principe on the West African coast. Two daughters of the Spanish royal family took chocolate to France when they married into the French royal family. The new miracle drink spread via Italy, parts of which were under Spanish rule, to the Mediterranean. During the Rococo period, chocolate trickled down to the middle classes and, with the introduction of vital processing technologies, such as mechanical mills, cocoa-butter presses and conches, the end of the nineteenth century saw its transformation into solid chocolate, a rational, industrial product that became less and less expensuve and more affordable for all.

Chocolate was democratised and socialised. With the upturn in the economy after the Second World War, it became a mass product and lost its exclusive character.

Until, that is, high-handed fashion dictators declared war on thunder thighs and potbellies, forcing larger individuals into uncomfortable clothes and subjecting them to mockery and social ostracism. Chocolate and other rich foods were demonised and vilified as contributors to exess weight. However, the longing for the incorparable, unique flavour of cocoa cannot simply be excluded from our sensory life and relegated to a list of forbidden pleasures Certainly, we can accept the need for self-denial, but only in moderation. Chocolate should remain a carefully considered exception, a very precious gem The community of epicures has found its way back to the beginning, back to cocoa in its unadulterated form. Back to Criollo, the highest quality bean that, half a millennium ago, so amazed and delighted the palates of the Europeans.

However, this chocolate is not without its demands. It refuses to be simply devoured. It keeps its aromas locked away until the palate is ready to allow the heavenly pleasure to melt on the tongue.

So it’s not surprising that the natural scientist Carl von Linné gave the cocoa plant the botanical name Theobroma cacao, meaning “food of the gods”. The Swedish natural scientist who also fell under the spell of chocolate, was not just allowing his imagination free reign, he was also alluding to the traditions of the Mexican Indians who glorified the consumption of the fruit of the cacao tree a s a privilege enjoyed by the gods.

 

 

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