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Chocolate Presentation
October 17, 2006
4:27 am
deb
Calgary, Canada
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I have been invited to be a guest speaker at a financial planning seminar in which I am the “fun Act”!! I will be doing a chocolate presentation. I am looking for ideas. My audience is approximately 200 people and they are high net worth clients..CEO’s and VP’s of companies. I am thinking about doing a chocolate sampling of 3 different darks from different parts of the world, and a sampling of white..deoderized vs non-deoderized. Plus I will hae some of my moulded chocolates included. Does anyone have any other ideas? What do people typically like to hear about? What is interesting to them? Any ideas are welcome.
Thanks,
deb.

October 17, 2006
6:29 am
aguynamedrobert
California, USA
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Hey Deb,
I would think that throwing in some history as well would be interesting to many….Here is a link to my history timeline on my website…. http://www.chocolateguild.com/page2.html
I like the idea of sampling different dark chocolates…You could even get sampler packs from different manufacurers and go through one of those…
The More fun little facts you can put in I think the better and more entertaining it will be….
well have fun and tell us how it goes…

-Robert
http://www.chocolateguild.com

Some Chocolate Guy http://www.chocolateguild.com
October 23, 2006
1:54 pm
deb
Calgary, Canada
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Hey, Come on everyone, there must be more input. Please make suggestions.
Thanks Robert.
Deb.

October 23, 2006
5:48 pm
Sebastian
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The outrageous aspects of the history are always interesting. That the Mayans would drink it from a gold cup and throw the cup into a lake after a single use. That chocolate was believed to endow the consumer with super powers. That it had a medicinal use for a number of things (sex life to tape worms to ingested metal)…

October 23, 2006
7:00 pm
patsikes
Tampa Bay Area, FL, USA
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November 17, 2005
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Deb,

I was just at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival this Saturday. They had a tasting with a chef from Barry Callebaut. He did a nice powerpoint presentation on on the history of chocolate, the main varieties of cocoa plants, and then the proper way to taste chocolate.

We sampled 4 bars. The first was a milk, next a blended 70%, then a region specific 70% and then a region specific 75%. I can’t remember the regions and the wrappers are at home.

Patrick Sikes
P.S. I Love You Fine Chocolates
http://www.psiloveyouchocolates.com

Patrick Sikes www.MyChocolateJournal.com
October 23, 2006
11:48 pm
gap
Melbourne, Australia
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I would second the notion of introducing some tasting techniques before the actual tasting – just a nice brief explanation of what to look for in a good chocolate.

Also, for those more knowledgable out there – is there a “better” order for tasting chocolates ie., should you taste white, then milk and finally dark chocolates? What about water, bread inbetween to cleanse the taste?

Something I have seen done before as well (if you wanted to put a lot of pressure on yourself) was by a local chocolatier at a food show. He actually had some ingredients ready and:
1. filled his mould with chocolate (ie., filled, emptied and left to dry)
2. Took a previously done one out of the fridge
3. Whipped up some ganache
4. Piped it in
5. Put the bottoms on the moulds
6. Back in the fridge
7. Took out another set he had previously finished and banged them out on the table

He actually went through all the steps of making moulded chocolates in about 8 minutes (in an area of 1.5m x 1.0m) and then let us all eat them. It really was impressive to watch him at work – so efficient and quick.

October 24, 2006
7:43 pm
limor
Israel
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August 11, 2006
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I often do this kind of presentation. It all depends on the time you have. If I only have around an hour then I just talk about the history, different types,and the manufacturing of chocolate from bean to bar. People like most to hear interesting facts , things like: who eats the most chocolate, how to store the chocolate. When I start with the tasting, I usually start with the white . I usually offer either water or tea to drink so it doesnt take from the taste. I dont tell them which chocolate it is or cacao percentage…and ask them to guess. They also like to hear about personal experiences. If I have more time I will also do a demonstration of how the pralines are made. With smaller groups and more time then everyone makes truffles together and also pralines. Of course they love that the most.
I hope this helped you!!

LIMOR

LIMOR
October 25, 2006
5:54 pm
seneca
USA
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If you do a tasting, check this prior discussion for some opinions:
http://www.seventypercent.com/…..PIC_ID=428

Whatever else you decide, leave milks, whites and flavored chocolates until the end–the dairy and/or other flavorings will coat your palate and conceal the more delicate flavors of the darks.

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
October 25, 2006
5:57 pm
seneca
USA
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May 22, 2005
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Just to confuse the issue more :-) …here’s an older link from our blog on tasting:
http://bittersweetcafe.blogspo…..sting.html

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com

http://bittersweetcafe.blogspot.com http://www.bittersweetcafe.com
October 26, 2006
3:16 pm
rrmc55
hayward, USA
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Hi Deb,
I hope I’m not to late to give you a suggestion. I have read the book ‘Chocolate-A bittersweet Sage of Dark and Light’ by Mort Roseblum and he gives alot of history in his book. It’s actually quite a good reading. You might pick up some things to say regarding history of chocolate.
Hope this helps and good luck.

Rena

October 27, 2006
1:09 am
gap
Melbourne, Australia
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So Deb, how did it go?

November 1, 2006
2:12 am
deb
Calgary, Canada
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Gap and all,
I will be doing the presentation at the end of november. I am using El Rey 61%, Vintage Chocolate 65%, and Guayaquil (cocoa barry) 64%. These 3 represent 3 different types of Cocoa beans from different regions of the world. We will also have deodorized and non-deodorized white chocolate, plus 2 samples of my moulded chocolates. I will most likely speak about bean to bar so that the audience can understand and appreciate each chocolate they will try.
Deb.

November 2, 2006
1:06 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by deb

Gap and all,
I will be doing the presentation at the end of november. I am using El Rey 61%, Vintage Chocolate 65%, and Guayaquil (cocoa barry) 64%. These 3 represent 3 different types of Cocoa beans from different regions of the world. We will also have deodorized and non-deodorized white chocolate, plus 2 samples of my moulded chocolates. I will most likely speak about bean to bar so that the audience can understand and appreciate each chocolate they will try.
Deb.


I hope this doesn’t come too late. On tastings, it really does depend a good deal on what your audience prefers. Is there a specific reason you’re including white chocolate? If not, I would advise leaving it out and replacing with dark chocolate because tasting different categories of chocolate in a session is generally difficult and makes appreciation of each more blurred. It’s OK to bring moulded chocolates, but I would pass them around for general consumption after the tasting, rather than including them in the tasting, for exactly the same reason.

Is there a reason, likewise, that you’re aiming for 60-65%? If you’re afraid that anything stronger might be overwhelming, don’t be. My experience with most audiences is that they are happy – indeed more pleased, generally, if you include 70% and above. Don’t forget also that wider media visibility of chocolate has made the magic 70% figure stick out in peoples’ minds as the mark of a quality chocolate. The name of this site is no accident!

The chocolates you’re picking are all rather medium-grade. There are no standouts here and in fact even, arguably, the best of them (Mijao) is nothing special. If anything these might serve to turn people *off* chocolate – under the “is that as good as it gets?” rubric. Worse, however, there’s little to distinguish each – not, at least, if you’re doing this in front of a relatively novice audience – and if it were a knowledgeable audience your choice of chocolates would immediately be questioned!

If you replaced the white chocolates with 2 better 60-65% grades, say, Guittard Ecuador Nacional and Valrhona Gran Couva – it would make the different levels immediately more obvious, and then I’d delete probably the Guayaquil which has a very generic taste and replace that with something like Cluizel Mangaro. This would give you an interesting range of qualities and manufacturers.

If you want to showcase varietals, another, preferred, route would be to up the percentage to 70% where your choices are immensely greater. It’s fairest, when comparing varietals, to use the same manufacturer, so you’d want to use one which produces many such as Cluizel or Pralus or Amedei or Guittard. The other thing you want to do is pick varietals that are starkly different from each other. For instance, Sur Del Lago and Porcelana are distinctly red-fruity, Rio Caribe and Madagascar tend towards spices, (Madagascar also having a signature citrus note), Ocumare and Maracaibo are generally rather earthy, and Arriba and Chuao are blue-fruity and molasses dominated.

In a full formal tasting I sample 50g of chocolate, which if you aim for 5 chocolates in your tasting is probably impossible – not many people can stomach 250g – but push the quantity per person as high as you can manage. The reason is that, when tasting chocolate, it’s best especially with the first bite to get a lot in your mouth so that you capture all the flavours – not just the strongest ones. If you want to instruct your audience, do tell them that because it tends to run contrary to ideas of refinement and grace which make people imagine that one should taste a small amount at a time. Between chocolates, have them take a palate-cleanser. Water isn’t really the best choice -
if you can arrange it, the best palate-cleanser is a mug of warm, extremely soupy hominy grits or polenta. It should be fluid enough to drink. This works wonders. Do NOT serve wine with the tasting. It ruins the taste both of chocolate and wine. Alcohol in general is a bad idea, in fact.

Blurbs on the history of chocolate usually sound very canned. Avoid this kind of speech. Sometimes a talk about varietals and what they taste like – if you’re experienced in that – can be OK but again it risks the canned-speech impression. Usually people want to know practical details – like, where do I buy? What are the good brands? What do I look for on the wrapper? What percentage of cacao is good? Of course the problem with all these questions is that the *real* answers to them are complex and usually quite specific. It’s best, therefore, to talk mostly of your own experiences working with and around chocolate – and if you had a “moment of conversion” do tell them about it. People are always going to be more fascinated with *your* story than a bunch of dry facts.

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
November 4, 2006
2:12 am
deb
Calgary, Canada
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Thanks to everyone for their postings. If you have more thoughts or ideas please let me know. All the replies have been very helpful.
Alex,the audience will be large (between 200- 240 people) and I only have about 20 minutes. Because it is not a small enough audience it is difficult to make it intimate. The main thrust is a financial seminar by their financial planner. Calgary does not have a specialized chocolatier who does or uses a variety of chocolate from all over the world. When I open my shop I will specialize in high grade world class variety. My audience will be very novice in the world of chocolates as their only experience has been with Bernard Callebaut who only offers Callebaut chocolate (which uses only African beans). My main goal is to introduce the audience to the world of chocolate. We will sample the dark, explain the white and encourage them to take all the samples home with them. My objectives for the evening is to entertain and educate the audience and also to sell myself for further business. The audience should be fairly receptive and also very affluent.

November 6, 2006
12:22 am
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by deb

Thanks to everyone for their postings. If you have more thoughts or ideas please let me know. All the replies have been very helpful.
Alex,the audience will be large (between 200- 240 people) and I only have about 20 minutes. … Calgary does not have a specialized chocolatier who does or uses a variety of chocolate from all over the world…. My main goal is to introduce the audience to the world of chocolate. We will sample the dark, explain the white and encourage them to take all the samples home with them…


Audience size is really mostly a factor when it comes to materials costs. With more participants, you usually have to choose more economical brands unless your presentation budget is enormous.

The time budget is, however, a major factor. With only 20 minutes that gives you little time to say much. Bearing that in mind 5 chocolates of any type plus confections is much too ambitious. A more focussed presentation is necessary – 2 or at most 3 chocolates. 2 chocolates make for the easiest presentation. Choose 1 excellent and 1 not-as-excellent chocolate. #2 doesn’t have to be bad, but it shouldn’t be wonderful. If you want to do varietals then the 2 should preferably be the same one. A better bet with the 2-chocolate situation though is 2 blends. If you want to cut your timing with a razor, you can try to fit in 3 chocolates – and here you have some interesting choices – a Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario, for example, or 60%-60%-80%-grade dark chocolates, but again the easiest choice will most likely be average-good-superb chocolate.

You will minimize the logistical challenge, btw, if you stick to chocolates available in wrapped squares. I’m not a fan of these in general situations but here it could be a life-saver.

Once again, with only 20 minutes, it would be a hopeless task to explain the history of chocolate, go into details on the manufacturing, attempt to describe varietals, or anything reasonably involved. Once again your *personal* story with chocolate will make for the best presentation, and by far the most persuasive one if you’re trying to sell yourself. I will reemphasize that your audience will then want to know about you, not dry facts about e.g. the history and/or characteristics of chocolate.

Similarly, given the time frame, the idea of introducing white chocolate *must* be jettisoned unless again, you have a specific reason for including it. Do you have such a specific reason and if so, what is it?

Do I take it from your response that the reason you chose the chocolates you did is because that what you can find in Calgary? If so it seems to me that it sort of defeats the purpose to try to suggest that you can get better chocolate that what is available in Calgary if you stick with brands that you can source locally. I think the Internet here is your friend. Use http://www.chocolatesource.com. SeventyPercent ships to Canada as well, but Martin, correct me if I’m wrong, only in small qty’s yes?

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
December 2, 2006
7:09 am
deb
Calgary, Canada
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Well, last Wednesday I did the presentation. It went quite well. A few weeks ago I was taking a 2 day class at the University and we had to do a presentation. I did the bean to bar and my classmates brutally critiqued me!! The presentation was far too technical for them and they said if this was suppose to be a fun chocolate tasting presentation…I was for from it!! I could have crawled out of class!!! Anyhow, I needed to hear the brutal truth and totally revamped the presentation. Last Wednesday went extremely well and on Thursday morning I had an oil company call and asked me to do the exact same presentation for their group, as the boss really enjoyed my presentation. Oh, I had about 170 people!!
I do agree with Alex about going into the 70% range. I realize that in a tasting, the higher the paste content, the closer you get to the true flavour of the bean. I will consider this for my next tasting.
Deb.
Oh,
I am very good at thin shell moulding and not as experienced with hollow moulding. I need to make 22 yule logs and does anyone have any suggestions about moulding larger objects such as the yule logs. I did a quick run thru yesterday and the chocolate in the mould had cracks. Was the chocolate layer to thick?
Deb.

December 2, 2006
11:39 pm
Alex Rast
Manchester, United Kingdom
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quote:


Originally posted by deb

Well, last Wednesday I did the presentation. It went quite well. A few weeks ago I was taking a 2 day class at the University and we had to do a presentation. I did the bean to bar and my classmates brutally critiqued me!! … Anyhow, I needed to hear the brutal truth and totally revamped the presentation.


So what subject did you end up choosing in the end?

Alex Rast
Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com

Alex Rast Alex_Rast_Alternate@hushmail.com
December 3, 2006
12:32 am
deb
Calgary, Canada
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I did a quick run thru of some pictures that showed cocoa fruit on the tree, pods cut open, and then the fermentation stage. From there I went into reasons why dark chocolate is healthy and not junk food. I gave several reasons and they appeared very interested. After that we went into the chocolate tasting and I explained the chocolate from the different regions and why it tastes the way it does. The crowd was quite large and it is hard to be intimate, but it did go over very well. So I am lined up to do exactly the same presentation for an oil company plus they want me to make some chocolates for them in addition to the tasting. I am thinking of using some cluizel or chocovic for it from the trinitario bean.
Deb.