Need tour help!!!

Joined Apr 8, 2002
I'm a french student in modern languages and i have to do a translation work on chocolate in cakes.
I look for the definition of "chocolate strands", "curls" and the decorations you can make with chocolate.
Thank you very much for your help.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Why don't you just consult Larousse Gastronomique? Get the English version for the english translation of culinary terms. Its available at and Just type the name in the search box. Easy as pie. ;)
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Funny answer from someone who has posed many questions and received many answers ...

Hi Gwen!

Welcome to Chef Talk

Someone of the pastry chefs will answer your question, Have some patience!Otherwise I will check it for you

Joined May 26, 2001
I'm sure the Pastry Chefs among us can do a much better job of answering, but since I can only do very basic decorating, I'll try to give very basic definitions:

In making many kinds of chocolate decorations, the first step is to melt the chocolate, stir it to cool it down, then re-heat it to a specific temperature. This is called tempering, and is done to keep the finished chocolate product looking shiny and beautiful. While the choc. is still warm, spread it on a work surface. For curls, use a vegetable peeler or knive to scrape off a thin layer -- it will curve back on itself, like ribbon pulled across a scissor blade. The edges of the curl might be a little rough, but that is all right.

For leaves (feuilles?), spread the tempered chocolate on clean unsprayed leaves (yes, real ones from plants!) and let it harden. When you gently separate them, you will have the pattern of the leaf's veins on the chocolate.

I'm not completely sure about strands, but my guess is that you mean this: put the warm, liquid chocolate in a pastry bag or parchment cone with a very very small opening. Squeeze it out in a thin line onto a flat surface. You can write with it, make shapes, even draw with it. After you let it cool and harden, you can lift it off and place it where you want it.

Hope this helps.
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Jeez Athaeneus! I just got the book.......I personally don't use the technical terms when baking, I just make the stuff. :rolleyes: Who knows Gwen may already have the durn book. Anyway, Ill look it up and be back later with my findings. Ive never been virtually spanked before. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

(Maybe Im being sensitive but I can't find anything wrong with my previous statement. Isn't Larousse Gastronomique supposed to be a culinary encyclopedia?? :confused: Ive had other posters here recommend books to me. sigh I am most definately awake now.)

As for the Chocolate Curls definition question:

Chocolate Curls are also known as chocolate shavings or shaved chocolate which can be made by warming a block of chocolate (whichever one you want) and "shaving" curls off with a vegetable peeler. At least, that's the way I was taught to do it. Melting chocolate onto a marble slab then chilling the slab and shaving off the curls, I unfortunately, have never mastered. But Im working on it.

Ill check my Pro. Pastry Chef and see what I can find about chocolate. I know there is a whole chapter on the stuff.


What do you want to know about the other chocolate decorations? There are so many of them you know. Beetles, butterflies, leaves to name a few.

Joined Feb 6, 2002
Chocolate Decorations

Chocolate Bettles, Rabbits etc.
Chocolate Cigars or Curls (can be made using coating chocolate or tempered chocolate)
Chocolate Cutouts (pour coating or tempered chocolate onto baking sheet and let set partially then cut into squares, rectangles, etc.)
Chocolate Fans or Ruffles
Chocolate Goblets (made by dipping inflated balloons into chocolate. Thank you Martha Stewart. :) )
Chocolate Leaves (see Suzanne's post)
Chocolate Shavings (made by scraping a piece of chocolate with a small knife)

Piped Chocolate Decorations

Chocolate Cages (using piping chocolate and a pastry bag to pipe chocolate over inflated balloons. Oil balloons with a little veggie oil first)
Chocolate Figurines (using parchment paper and an outline, pipe chocolate onto the reverse side of parchment paper rather than the side where the image is drawn)
Chocolate Butterflies

Molded Chocolate Strips

Chocolate Twirls
Chocolate Ribbons

Chocolate Painting, Casting and Molded Figures are other things you can do with chocolate.

Joined Apr 8, 2002
Thank you very much for tour help but I need some more explanation....:blush:
What is exactly the difference between a curl and shavings and cigars?? Is "curl" the general word that include cigars and shavings?
What is exactly a twirl and a ribbon????
The thing is that it is quite difficult to find teh exact translation in french and Spanish and i need complete information to avoid a false translation!!!!
Thank you for your help
Joined Feb 6, 2002
Let's see if I can explain the difference between a curl, shaving and cigar.

A curl is thin and curved like the letter "C". Made using a veggie peeler. It's easier for me to pull the peeler across the chocolate towards myself.

Shaving - resembles pencil shavings. Made using a small knife, like a paring knife. You don't always have to though.

A cigar is wider and I guess longer than a curl. You can make these with a palette knife and using tempered chocolate poured onto a baking sheet. When you are done shaving (probably not the best word to use) it off it rolls up and looks like one of those thin brown cigars.

Ill have to get back to you on the twirls and ribbons.



Hey! Can someone tell me how to add pics so I can show what Im describing? A pic can explain a lot.

Joined Mar 6, 2001
I just stumbled across this seems to me that the most clear way to understand exact terms would be from books like ShawtyCat recomended. Considering you read English so well..., then there would be very little room for mistakes. I also think you'd be best to learn the exact shapes of these items looking through catalogs from the companies that supply those types of chocolate products. You use these same items in France so once you see them you'll know instantly what the translation should be, I think.

For pictures, I think Albert Usters catalog should do. I'll have to look up their web address, I'll be back later and post it.

Then if you want to know technique, I'd be happy to contribute if needed (but you got great info. already on this thread).

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