Thanks to breadster who told me about these happenings, otherwise I would have never known about them!! In Chicago the pastry chefs are busy holding demos ($20.00, 10. for students) with really great pastry chefs. These are my notes and thoughts from the one I attended on chocolates. There were about 40 to 45 people in attendance in the back room of a large bakery. Normans' assistant was Jackie Pfieffer from Chicagos' French Pastry School. Norman buys his chocolate molds either from Chocolate World or Chocolate chocolate companies. He likes the type that have magnetic closures. If you've noticed there are clear molds and opaque pro molds. After much experimenting he insists that the clear mold do provide a better shine on your chocolates (even thought no one can figure out why). He thinks American consumers buy first by the visual appeal and to make his line of chocolates different he's using color and transfer sheets for appeal. They really like PCB Creations (buy from European Imports) chocolate fat soluble colors and dusts. He heated some up in the micro to 98F and with a gloved hand first spread red into his mold. Then came back with orange and then a light dust of gold powder. When he unmolded these they were INCREDIABLE. He used dark chocolate to mold and the gold made the two colors glow on top of the chocolate! Before he molded any chocolate he tempered it, etc... and talked abit about crystalization. There's 7 forms of crystal in melted chocolate and the good one (for tempering). He didn't have any really tricks or short cuts on tempering and holding. Just mentioned how you need to keep adding your warm chocolate to your tempered bowl (and agitate) to keep what your working from warm. He thinks most people under-heat and under agitate their chocolate while tempering. Don't be scared and you MUST move around your chocolate to develop the good crystal. He mentioned that when he rubs the color into his molds with his finger that that process actually over crystalizes the chocolate and that makes the chocolate shinier. Another technique he showed us was airbrushing color into his molds. He uses "Mini Spray Gun Set 250-4" made by Badger company. It's the cheapest air brush out there. He hooked up to a can of air instead of a compressor. This cheap air brush lets you spray thick liquids (chocolate) and has easy clean up and no cloging. He mentioned plumpers use this type of brush... Oh, the can of air gets very cold while using and can freeze up. So he places it in a warm pot of h2o to prevent that from slowing him down. It also can be hooked up to a compressor, of course. The last technique was using transfer sheets in a magnetic mold. That's to basic for any notes. Then for his fillings (ganche) he really really talked about technique. Comparing it to making mayo it's an emulsion and you must stir from the center out, infusing your cream slowly using a spoon NEVER a whisk (that brings air into it). He adds his butter last (usually) and waits until his ganche is 95F before filling his molds 3/4 full. Any hotter temp. melts your molded chocolate shell. He made a lavender ganche. Bought organic lavender from Purple Haze Co. in Oregon. He always infused his flavors (cinnamon or lemon etc..) in the warm cream and strained into his ganche. He insists you should never push down on your herbs because that releases too much oil and unfavorable flavor, while straining. I have to run, but you can find him at www.ganchechocolate.com and he organizes and promotes www.pastrychampionship.com too. Oh, one last tip. When making fans using the heated pan technique (where you chill in the cooler then bring to room temp. and scrap) he said add 5% oil to your chocolate and it gives it more elasticisty while scrapping. Hope you found this interesting.