In today’s blog we’re putting the spotlight on another wonderful local business, one who is passionate about all things chocolate. After a Thermapen team member saw Charlene’s Chocolate Factory at the Shoreham Farmers Market they recommended them to everyone in the office. So, we decided to discover more about this lovely local business and how they temper their chocolate so beautifully. Of course someone had to go along, see the process and try some of their goodies (what a hard job!).
Richard and Sophie at Charlene’s Chocolate Factory welcomed us with open arms (and handfuls of chocolate). They not only allowed us to see how they create their delicious chocolate bars but also how the tempering process is so crucial to their production. So, without further ado over to Richard…
When did you start Charlene’s Chocolate Factory and why? What was your motivation behind it?
Charlene’s Chocolate Factory started in 2014 just after my daughter was born. Named after her and my love of the film Charlie and the Chocolate factory I decided to try a few different flavours I’d never seen anyone else do before. Marmite (Love it or Hate it) being the very first I tried, I instantly fell in love with it and it still remains one of my firm favourites. My motivation comes from Charlene and wanting to hopefully grow a little nest egg for her. Who knows maybe one day she will take over the business!
Charlene’s Chocolate Factory attends a lot of local festivals and is in a few local stores, do you plan to open a shop front yourselves?
We would love to open our own little shop. We like the idea of having a factory attached so customers can come to the shop and see where its all made too! At the moment we are concentrating on wholesale and getting our name out there.
What are your most popular flavours of chocolate?
Tricky question! It depends on the season but Caramel Salt & Smoke seems to sell out all year round. We released our Lotus Biscoff & Salted Caramel bar recently and that seems to be everyone’s favourite at the moment.
*The entire marketing office at Thermapen absolutely loved the Caramel Salt & Smoke!
What is your favourite flavour of chocolate?
Richard’s are Love it or Hate it, Apple & Rhubarb Crumble and Cookies & Cream.
Sophie’s are Lotus Biscoff & Salted Caramel, Milk Orange and Chocolate Fudge Brownie. (Its hard to only choose one!)
How important is temperature for tempering chocolate?
Temperature is very important when tempering chocolate. A few degrees out will sometimes be the difference between lovely shiny chocolate with a great snap and dull chocolate with a soft almost bendy consistency.
Thermapen guideline technique:
- Bring a saucepan with a couple inches of water to a simmer over a medium low heat.
- Place a bowl onto the pan, making sure its base doesn’t touch the water.
- Place 3/4 of your finely chopped chocolate into the bowl. Stirring regularly, melt the chocolate until your Thermapen reads between 45/48°C for milk and white chocolate or 53/55°C for dark chocolate.
- Remove the bowl from the heat and add the remaining chocolate.
- Stir vigorously, breaking the chocolate down with the spatula until all the chocolate has melted and your Thermapen reads between 27/28°C for milk and white chocolate or 28/29°C for dark chocolate.
- Place the bowl back on the heat and, whilst stirring, reheat it to 29/30°C for milk and white chocolate or 31/32°C for dark chocolate.
- Test the chocolate to check it is tempered correctly by drizzling a small amount on a palette knife. It should set hard within 5 minutes and be shiny and glossy.
What are your top tips for tempering chocolate?
Don’t panic or over think it and remember if it goes wrong it can be re-melted.
Using a temperature probe is vital for keeping an eye on the temperature of your chocolate.
How do you create the amazing patterns printed onto your chocolate?
Almost all of our patterns are created with cocoa butter and colouring, some are done by hand and some we use transfer sheets.
Process Start to Finish
Huge thanks go to Richard and Sophie for hosting us, giving us plenty of chocolate to test out and showing their process from start to finish.
Visit them online: Charlene’s Chocolate Factory
Purchase your own Thermapen: SuperFast Thermapen 4