Saw an ad on a mailing list yesterday, and bought a huge lot of chocolatiering supplies yesterday – enough to fill up Priscilla completely. It was a single lot being sold by a retired couple who had (apparently) been just as into candymaking as I am – in fact they taught classes on candymaking for some years at the local Sur La Table (high-end cookware store) in Los Gatos. Most of it I’m going to sell on again – the candy boxes aren’t the size that I use, I have a lot of professional chocolate molds already, I don’t need a temperature-controlled wine cellar to store my chocolate – but there were some real treasures in the bunch. The biggest one was an 8-lb chocolate tempering machine (the ACMC Tabletop Temperer), which normally retails for $800! I have wanted one for awhile, as a backup to my granite slab (which is fine but which can only really process about 20 lbs of chocolate before it gets too warm to use without a few hours’ cooling).
The tempering machine is actually quite a simple gadget, and I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard to build if you had the right tools. I have no patience for that kind of thing, so I’m just as happy to have the pre-made one. It consists of a pair of 100-watt light bulbs, a fan, a temperature controller, and an electric motor, plus a bowl and stirrer/paddle. The 100-watt light bulbs turn on and off to gently heat the chocolate, the fan turns on and off to cool the chocolate, the temperature controller switches fan and light bulbs on/off, and the motor rotates the bowl to stir the chocolate. It’s that simple. Someday when my interest in electronics exceeds my interest in other things, perhaps I’ll build one. It does sound like it would be fun.
Anyway, I now have a chocolate tempering machine that I can use as a backup to the granite slab. I think it will be useful for dipping chocolates (keeping the chocolate warm while dipping has always been a challenge), tempering extra batches of chocolate when the granite warms up too much to use, and for tempering chocolate for friends who want to help out but aren’t experienced enough to temper chocolate themselves. I’m pleased.
Meanwhile, I have a bunch of stuff filling space in my garage. I have a wine cooler (temperature controlled) that will take up to 25 bottles, 21 professional polycarbonate chocolate molds, a giant box full of candy boxes, bags, foils, cups, etc., a grocery bag full of cheap hobby chocolate molds, and some good books on candymaking and pastry. I’m selling it in several separate lots on Craigslist, but if anyone has an interest in such things, leave me a comment and let’s work something out. I’m less interested in the money and more interested in getting it out of my garage!