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by Lis Armstrong
It’s time for our favourite part of this in-depth look at how chocolate is grown and produced. This part is all about chocolatiers like those at Treat Dreams!
It’s a steady, gentle hand that pours, thick rich chocolate, gracefully decorates moulds, and carefully assembles intricate chocolate products. It’s a sharp eye that checks for the correct colours, consistency and shape, and it’s a keen, trained nose that is well accustomed to smelling chocolate all day but no less perceptive to the most subtle of aromas.
Being a chocolatier requires the use of every one of the fives senses, not least of all taste, and it’s no wonder why. A chocolatier’s job is to turn the chocolate makers’ basic chocolate products into incredible confections. Chocolatiers are qualified chefs, a specialisation of pastry chefs, and use their skills and experience to create a unique and balanced flavour profile within chocolate products.
For the chocolate base, some chocolatiers will choose to work with single-origin chocolates and others will blend their own mixes to get a perfect flavour profile. This is exactly what we do at Treat Dreams, using a mix of organic fair trade and direct trade chocolate to produce the best flavour while also taking care of farmers and our earth.
Once our expert chocolatiers have selected the perfect chocolate to work with, they begin to prepare their moulds. First, the moulds are polished, then skilfully painted with tempered cocoa butter colours. This is what creates the iconic splash effects that decorate many Treat Dreams chocolates - and give chocolate-lovers a little clue to the flavours on the inside.
Next, the chocolate has to be tempered. This is the process of melting and cooling the chocolate to the correct temperature to ensure the chocolate retains its silky mouthfeel while also creating the shine and snap associated with good quality chocolate.
Tempering chocolate is both an art and a science. The science requires temperature accuracy within just 1-1.5 Celsius for the chocolate to reach, and stay, in temper. The art is knowing how and when to adjust for environmental factors like humidity, room temperature, and different tools.
You can spot untempered chocolate by the white spots that will 'bloom' on them, looking similar to mould. These fat blooms occur when the chocolate has been tempered incorrectly, or if the chocolate melts and then resets when the temperature has cooled (don’t leave chocolates in your car or handbag!).
Chocolate that has bloomed is still fine to eat, it will just have a less silky mouthfeel, be a little chalky in texture, and won’t melt as easily in your mouth. In fact, if you have the skills to temper you can remelt a bloomed chocolate bar and remould it. If you'd like to learn how to temper chocolate yourself, check out one of our chocolate classes.
After tempering, our chocolatiers mould the chocolate shells ready to carry our tasty fillings. Treat Dreams’ retail chocolate fillings are created to maximise taste and nostalgia, transporting you back to the flavours of your childhood, but in an ethical, high-end format for adult palates.
The bonbons we create for special occasions, such as weddings and corporate events, often have multiple layers of filling, with each taste and texture designed to complement the others. The more layers, the more challenging the process.
After the shells are filled, Treat Dreams chocolatiers let the fillings set for up to 24 hours, and then seal the chocolates with more tempered chocolate.
Next, our chocolatiers stand the moulds up on their sides and give them a gentle push down the bench where the mould crashes with a bang and releases the chocolates. Despite the quite forceful demoulding process, most chocolates emerge perfectly unharmed, shiny and delicious.
The finished chocolates now need to be packaged. Every Treat Dreams chocolate you eat has been hand-packed in our Sydney factory. We love our little spotty package designs which show you with bright, fun colours which flavour you’re grabbing so you can find those Pineapple Bears or that PB&J bar quickly on the shelf.
The next part is everyone’s favourite part – from our chocolatiers to our customer. The chocolates are now ready to be enjoyed.
At Treat Dreams, our goal is to ensure chocolate consumers are mindful of the countless people involved in the growing, transport, making, and crafting processes of their favourite treats.
Our knowledge about the darker side of the chocolate industry and the exploitation of growers makes us proud to create fair trade chocolate treats which are accessible to so many Australians. While the fair trade system is not perfect, it is still one of the best ways that individual consumers can vote with their dollar. Every time consumers enjoy chocolate, by buying fair trade, they are helping to ensure that the people at the beginning of the chocolate creation process are paid fairly for their labour and have the power to negotiate with chocolate buyers on a more even playing field.
In our next post, we’re going to explore what exactly fair trade chocolate is and how it helps to empower cacao farmers around the world.
Keep an eye out for Part 4, What Does “Fair Trade Certified Chocolate” Really Mean?
Lisette is the Founder of Treat Dreams, making it her fault that you've discovered treats you can't stop eating. She's highly distractible... so naturally the search for *proper* vegan chocolate took her away from the corporate marketing future she'd planned. Originally the TD Chocolatier, these days Lis plans the things and is grateful for her amazing team who make/do the things! Originally from Queensland's Sunshine Coast hinterland, Lis grew up surrounded by mountains, strawberry fields and beaches, and now calls Sydney's (much busier) inner west home. She's step mum to an almost fully grown human, plus cat mum to Knuckles (the actual definition of a scaredy-cat) and Cali.
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by Lisette Armstrong
Move over dairy, it's over...
Treat Dreams received a huge 27 medal mentions from the International Chocolate Salon. And not just in the vegan competition... in the overall chocolate competition too.
Could your new favourite have been voted among the worlds best?
by Lis Armstrong
Life has looked a whole lot different for all of us lately, but right now it’s Victoria that is really doing it tough. Coronavirus has hit our Victorian friends pretty hard, with the latest restrictions bringing curfews, more business closures, and a whole lot of isolation and uncertainty.
The good news is, despite being hundreds – or thousands – of kilometres away, there’s still things we all can do to help our Victorian friends through the next few weeks and months. Now more than ever it’s important we remind them this won’t last forever, that they’re not alone, and, most importantly, that they’re loved. So how can we do that?
by Lis Armstrong
This October we're celebrating LGBT History Month with the latest Bar of the Month.
We're tipping our chefs hats to community icon Harvey Milk, with a limited edition bar.
Learn more about Harvey Milk in our profile of this community icon.
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