Making Chocolate Truffles

We started this week at the factory making chocolate truffles

We started the week at the factory making chocolate truffles. I love chocolate truffles so I knew that my diet would be out the window right from the word go. Lisa came in early to put the machines on so that the chocolate was ready (tempered – at the correct working temperature) for when the rest of the staff arrived for work.

She started to "cast" (fill) the truffle moulds with the tempered milk chocolate at around 9.00a.m. So how did Lisa do this? Well, she flooded the mould with chocolate and turned it over whilst holding it onto the vibrator so that just an empty casing was made. After leaving them to set for a few minutes she scraped the mould of any excess chocolate (this process allows the cases to drop out easily when they have cooled.) By 10.00a.m all the moulds were in the fridge "going off" (chilling to reach that all important 'snap' stage. When chocolate has cooled and "gone off" the mould becomes opaque. It takes up to 15 minutes in the fridge for a mould to "go off".)

Meanwhile, Carol who was on piping duty had already made up the chocolate truffle mix in the mixer using our delicious Hamiltons chocolate truffles recipe which Andrew has spent many years perfecting. Piping is a job for the experts. You can't overfill the mould or the mix will 'weep' into the base when it is "capped off" (i.e. the chocolate base is made) and you can't under fill the mould because this will mean that the chocolate base will end up being too thick. We want it just right and done as quickly as possible. Not too much to ask is it?

Once all the moulds had been filled with the chocolate truffle mix (it takes about 1½ hour to fill 100 moulds), Carol passed them back to Lisa for them to be "capped off". (This process entails running the mould under the milk chocolate fountain and scraping off the excess chocolate.) The moulds were then left on the side to cool. By this time it was 12.15p.m. Once the capped off chocolates had cooled sufficiently, Senita had the job of knocking them out of the moulds. (No-one in the factory has any one particular job. Everyone can do all the jobs. The staff are all trained chocolatiers.)

"Knocking out" took about ½ hour. Meanwhile, the enrobing belt was set up on the milk chocolate machine. The enrobing belt is, in effect, a short conveyor belt which feeds the chocolates under a thin curtain of chocolate, coating them with a thin layer of chocolate. Time for lunch. Today, the chocolates were fed onto the "Enrober" by Angela.

Once the chocolates had been enrobed with the thin layer of chocolate, they fell off the conveyor belt onto a metal tray containing milk chocolate flake. Becky, who is waiting for them to fall onto the tray, then "tosses" the enrobed chocolate with the flake covering it completely. It's harder than it looks. The finished truffle needs to be round and roughly the same size. Becky makes this job look a darned sight easier than it really is. This process took a good hour and half to complete. By which time it was 3.30p.m. Debbie was ready to pack the chocolates into outers (2 kilo boxes)Once they were packed they needed to be labelled and shrink wrapped.

The chocolate truffles were ready for dispatch at 4.00p.m. Delicious, fresh, creamy, chocolate truffles. Most of them made it into the "outers". Just one or two or maybe three never quite made it. I don't know what happened to them....!

Date: 25/01/2011