Chocolate demo by Norman Love

Joined Mar 6, 2001
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 and he organizes and promotes 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.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
I'm glad you took a lot of notes, Wendy. Thank you for sharing them with us. He has lots of good ideas. I like the use of gold to bring out the colors on top. It must look beautiful. Also the fact that the plastic molds yield a shinier product is interesting.

I must say, though, you say that using transfer sheets in a mold is too basic to write about. I just can't picture how one would shape a transfer sheet to the contours of a mold without it wrinkling. What am I missing?

Did he go over what the 7 types of crystals are? This is something I've never heard.

Do you feel more confident in your own attitude toward working with chocolate?

ps- I always lightly whisk my ganache (shh, don't tell anyone). I find that it really emulsifies the mixture better, and any air bubbles that are introduced are gone by the next day, which is generally when I use it, if not later than that.

I saw a demo a few years ago with Jacquy Pfeiffer, and he is also very knowledgeable. How many people attended this demo? I wish there was something like that going on here. But at least you were generous enough to share what you learned.

The first link you gave us doesn't seem to work, but I'm looking frorward to checking out the other one.

Thanks so much!

Joined Mar 13, 2001
Just took a refresher course with Alice Medrich last week (on videotape) where she was demonstrating her technique for fans.

Thanks for sharing Norman Love's techniques. I will try adding oil to the chocolate next time.

Momo: I also lightly whisk. That will be our little secret! ;)
Joined Feb 21, 2001
There's an explanation of the crystals in chocolate in The Art of The Cake by Healy and Bugat. I didn't know that about ganache, that a spoon is better, always use a whip, but I've read in Pierre Herme to always go from the center out. I had to make some today, a thin one that needs to melt and ooze out of phyllo dough, and I whisked it to no apparent problem. And I do find that chocolate tempers better if you stir it. You can actually see it separated in the right light.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
His point to preparing your ganche SLOWLY is about SHINE plus how soft the center of his candy remains as it sits on the shelf. He didn't heat his cream to a boil, so it barely melted the chocolate. In fact the white choc. ganche had to be microwaved to finish melting the choc.. His ganche was very shinie and the consistancy of mayo. He didn't need to refridgerate it (just let it sit while talking) before it cooled enough to use in his shells (which meant it was under 95f). SOoooo he's really not taking the store bought choc. out of temper (just barely melting it), or very close to it.

Momo the way they get the transfer sheet patterns on the top of the chocolate is totally about the molds. There are specific molds designed for these. You just cut a strip and place flat in the bottom of the mold. The bottom becomes the top of these candies and are always flat with the pattern.

Sorry the first link didn't go thru, that's the name of his company, perhaps a search would work to find him. He didn't go into too much detail about the crystals.

Oh, also the thing that REALLY impressed me was he opened my narrow mind! I've been shy about many of the new flavor pairing I see. But my favorite mixture was his lime dark chocolate ganche, with cinnamon choc. following closely. So now I'm thinking it's time to let go of my old fashioned pairings and really use my contemporary French cookbooks.

Other points: (I mentioned this on another thread here) But he freezes his truffles and swears it work great (I'll be using that technique). He holds multiple pcb colors in a multi compartmented yogurt maker so their useable all day.

I saw a article on foodtv with Alice M. , it was like she was just another housewife writing cookbooks in her home kitchen. But we all know she's not just a housewife! I have all of her books.
Joined Mar 13, 2001

You sound ripe for a visit at Vosges-Haut-Chocolat (Chicagoland).

Here's a few of their most daring offerings:

Black Pearl
Ginger and wasabi infuse fresh cream and combine with premium dark chocolate, and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.

Mint Julep
A sweet ol’ Southern treat, named after the famous cocktail. Natural mint extract infuses cream and combines with Belgian dark chocolate. On the Crown of the truffle rests a thin tear of silver leaf.

Named after the tribes of Northeast India, we’ve combined natural coconut extract, milk chocolate, and a pinch of curry powder. Dipped in milk chocolate and finished with a sprinkling of northern Indian curry, this truffle creates a beautiful balance in spiciness, sweetness, and color. A must try for the adventurous sort!

Influences from Hungary bring about this dark chocolate truffle. A combination of Premium Belgian dark chocolate and fresh cream is finished with a dusting of sweet Hungarian paprika. The perfect compliment to a spicy Cuban cigar.

Like the fashionable drink of the late 1800's, this truffle is based on the flavors of aniseed. Through infusions of fennel combined with the finest dark chocolate, a splash of Pastis, and a sprinkle of star anise powder. We present you a truffle in remembrance of this infamous drink.

My favs: Black Pearl and Naga!
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Mmmmm:lips: They all sound yum-a-licious, Kimmie. I have seen those chocs. in the market, but never bought them.

Thanks for the clarification, Wendy.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Just out of curiosity how much do their truffles cost? Their store rent must be alot!

I figure I probably sampled 30.00 worth of chocolate from Norman.

Oh I learned a secret too, I can't read his signature on my reciept but the name in the middle was Love not his last name.:cool:
Joined Mar 13, 2001
You should sample them at your next opportunity, Momoreg. BTW, the recipe for Black Pearl was published a few years ago in
Pastry & Arts magazine. It's also somewhere on Cheftalk, if you do a search you should find it.

Wendy, the price range for their exotic truffles is

2 for $4.50
4 for $9.00
9 for $21.00
16 for $35.00

It's expensive but well worth it for a special occasion.

You can find out more about them on their website


Joined Aug 31, 2001
Wendy, can you provide a link to where Norman buys his molds? I was thinking it was perhaps, but couldn't find a discription that you provided.
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Oli I'm certainly not much of a computor wiz, maybe someone else can help.? I just learned from who, not how to find them.

But as I recall JBPrince had the same looking ones.....their just regular professional molds. I'm pretty sure most place carry them.

He did mention that he has a debate with others about whether not not you should clean your molds between uses. Dirty molds gross him out so they wash they daily and always hand dry and use cotton balls to buff.
I've always washed and buffed with towels but cotton balls should reach those tiny crevices better then my fingers.

Just thought of another thing...he lectured us Americans for paying for imported chocolates that contain sugar (like semi sweet). Because were wasting our money paying for the sugar when instead we should be adding sugar to our recipe and not paying the chocolate companies for sugar. It makes alot of sense, so now I feel guilty I'm not willing to sit down and adjusting each of my recipes.
Joined Aug 27, 2002
The crucial elements that Norman is trying to preserve in his ganache recipes is texture and mouthfeel. Hence the analogy to a mayonaisse. If anything, ganache can be less stable an emulsion than a mayonaisse. Or is "shine" meant to imply "not broken"? I'm surprised he did not mention his technique of breaking up the fat molecules with an immersion blender. Sort of runs counter to the anti-whisk stance on the surface, but there is a way to blend a ganache without incorporating air. While I don't practice it, I'm aware of other chefs who utilize the immersion blender in tandem with the "seeding" method of tempering chocolate.

As for washing molds, I've read that Jacques Torres has a reverse-osmosis de-ionizing (?) filter on his dishwasher that eliminates mineral deposits on the molds and hence, no buffing! Perhaps someone else can better explain or confirm?

In addition to 'paying for the sugar', one uses less of a higher cacao % couverture, not to mention it is invariably going to taste better!

One of my favorite PCB products is the range of textured transfer sheets they developed. JB Prince has begun offering a limited number patterns (whether PCB or not, I'm unsure). I would strongly suggest getting the PCB catalog- apart from some of the silly 'kits', they offer some amazing products, many exclusive and developed by French MOFs.

W. DeBord, I'm curious to hear and discuss what you consider to be "contemporary" ganache flavors. Have you seen Frederic Bau's Au Coeur des Saveurs? Beatiful book giving equal treatment to entremets, plated desserts, and chocolates. The technical information alone is worth the price. I recently visited Paris, and Philippe Conticini is doing some of the most interesting flavors and design in chocolate there, not to mention Pierre Hermé.
Joined Apr 3, 2002
Black Pearl - A taste of Japan...
Ginger and Wasabi infuse fresh cream and combine with premium dark chocolate, and sprinkled with black sesame seeds.

Here is the recipe:

Black Pearl
Yield: about 28 truffles

8 oz/227 g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ teaspoon powdered ginger, plus additional to taste
3/8 teaspoon wasabi powder, plus additional to taste
4.5 liq. oz/133 ml heavy cream
1 oz/28 g corn syrup
1 oz/28 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz/227 g bittersweet couverture, melted and tempered
.5 oz/14 g black sesame seeds

1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of hot, not simmering, water.

2. Place the ginger and wasabi powders in a small bowl. Bring cream to a boil; then wisk a small amount of hot cream into the powders to make a smooth paste. Slowly pour the remaining cream into the paste, whisking very gently, so as not to incorporate unwanted air.

3. Combine the cream mixture with the melted chocolate, stirring very gently until smooth and well-blended. Allow the ganache to reach room temperature; then mix in the corn syrup and butter.

4. Chill the truffle mixture, checking at 3 minute intervals, until the mixture is firm enough to roll into balls.

5. Using a 1” ice cream scoop, scoop out the ganache and roll into balls. Place the balls on a parchment-lined sheet pan and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and very firm.

6. Using a dipping fork, completely submerge a truffle into the tempered chocolate; then lift it upward, shaking gently to allow excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl of tempered chocolate.

7. Deposit the truffle onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and immediately sprinkle black sesame seeds over the top. Allow to set completely at room temperature.

Serve on black tray or in bento boxes and make sure to have 28 pairs of Black Lacquered Japanese Chopsticks!!!

Vosges Haut Chocolat
2105 West Armitage
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Welcome chef mlaiskonis, I'm delighted to read your imput. Forgive my vagueness or mis-writings, I'm usually posting when I'm half sleep. Yes, your point on the ganche emlusion is correct, I didn't phrase my wording very well there.

I do own Au Coeur Des Saveurs. I think it's a great book, although I have others I favor even more. (I do more pastries then candy making)

Mr. Love did briefly mention the imersion blender technique ever so briefly (he kept his demo at a learning curve to include all levels). I had learned of this previously and hope to one day work in a kitchen where I have a stick that isn't 3 plus feet long (that's too hard to manage).

Once you mentioned the transfer sheets from PCB I realized I have their catalog. I copied the design of their chocolate purse one year for my Mothers day buffet (someone actually picked the darn thing up by the handle thinking it was real, what a goof!). I don't read French so it's a challenge for me to understand some of the items and techniques using them. (Yes, the kits for the most part are dumbed down...not to Americans sense of graphic design)

As far as flavoring and truffles I haven't done anything interesting. The places I've worked even though the clients are very wealthy and world travelers, they really never bought anything too daring...and I know I need to make money to justify my position.

I love to read what you saw in Europe and what these top men are doing with their truffles? Would you share, please?

Joni, they had me until you mentioned the black sesame seeds on top, BIG YUCK, NO WAY! Have you eaten these?
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