Marjory and her chocolate-making process

Marjory shares more about her chocolate-making process: “I'm a self-taught chocolate maker and did a lot of reading on John Nanci's website when I was first starting out, so the length of the first roast of a new bean is dependent on what I smell. I normally try to let everything cool overnight so the cocoa butter resolidifies in the beans before I sort and crack.

“I crack with a Champion Juicer into a bowl with a towel over it so the nibs don't fly everywhere.

“I have a homemade winnower, once again from the plans on the Chocolate Alchemy website, that consists of PVC pipe attached to a little shop-vac with two different ends going into two different buckets. I normally winnow once, then rewinnow the husks one to three more times depending on how many nibs are lost.

“My conching and grinding are one and the same right now since I use a melanger to grind. I currently have three countertop Premier Chocolate Refiners, two 10 pound machines and one 8 pound machine. By the time October rolls around, most of my equipment will have been scaled up including these little guys.

“I'm switching to three Diamond Custom Machine Melanger 20 Mark 2. Right now, I start with my melted cocoa butter in my melanger, then gradually add my nibs. If it's winter, I warm up my nibs a little before adding them just to get the cocoa butter a little soft. I gradually add my sugar.

“I generally leave the top of the melanger off for three hours, then tighten the wheels and put on the top for the remainder of the grind, scraping the sides and the middle periodically. I check at 24 hours from the start for smoothness and I do this just by tasting it. From there, I like to temper right away, if possible. If it's not possible, then I pour the liquid chocolate into ice cube trays for easy popping out and then melting (the less chopping of big blocks, the better in my opinion).

“For the past three years, I've been tempering either by hand on a marble slab or in my Chocovision Rev 2. My first piece of "big girl" equipment that should arrive on Monday is a continuous flow tempering machine (Gami Diva 12) and I am SO excited to get it.

“Tempering by hand can actually be kind of relaxing but the Chocovision seems to be temperamental with some of my chocolates and when something isn't tempered right, having to remelt it is a huge loss of time. From there, everything goes into the fridge with desiccant packets to absorb any moisture (it's really humid here in the summer). Chocolate bars are popped out of their molds, hand wrapped in foil, then in paper.

“The thing I most enjoy about the chocolate-making processes is the creativity aspect. New varieties are always fun to come up with, although challenging, and I have a slew of things I want to try. It has been a one-woman show (with help here and there from friends and family) up until now, which really limits how much I can experiment while still having to keep up with regular orders. Moving to my own space and hiring other creative culinarians definitely help Conjure grow and allow for more experimentation!”

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