I pinned together the curved seams on the latest muslin this morning, and will sew it up as soon as Mike wakes up (the sewing machine makes enough noise to disturb his sleep). Meanwhile, here are two shots of it in its pinned-up state:
I like the back, but I hate the front: the top curve is way too big, way too dominant. Something needs to be done, but I’m not sure what yet. I’ll reserve judgment until the muslin is fully sewn and I can see the effect of the purple collar. I’ll also try to drape the fabric over it to see how it looks, but as you know, it’s darn near impossible to simulate a curved seam without cutting the fabric. The next muslin will very clearly have to be color-matched to the fabric. Time to pull out the dyes!
Meanwhile, in chocolate-land, I have cut up and put away the fudge, made up my recipes, and done the ingredients spreadsheet. I still need to trial one more flavor – goat cheese and honey. I already know the flavor combination is fantastic, but the trouble is, if you heat goat cheese, it curdles. But to get a long-lasting ganache (that isn’t going to give people food poisoning), you have to heat the goat cheese to sterilize it, so it’s caught between a rock and a hard place! My plan is to boil it and then strain out the curdled bits, in hopes of getting the goat cheese flavor without the textural problems.
Regardless, I now have thirty slots’ worth of bonbons for the production run, and that is probably enough. I always make one or two extra flavors because of the possibility that one flavor won’t work out in production. That gives me enough leeway to have one or two failures and still have a full chocolate box.
Next up in chocolate-land: buy chocolate. This is an annual pilgrimage to Pacific Gourmet in San Francisco, a restaurant wholesaler that sells Valrhona chocolate. This year, I’m ordering 99 lbs, which I know is overkill (I usually only make about 80 lbs of chocolate), but last year I actually ran out of chocolate and had to borrow some from a friend. (“Hey, do you have ten pounds of chocolate I can borrow?”) Mike will use up the extra dark chocolate over the course of the year, so a little extra won’t hurt.
I am still debating the coconut tequila lime and chocolate ginger fudges. The coconut tequila lime fudge, on a preliminary tasting, didn’t have a strong enough tequila flavor to suit me, even with an established recipe and the same brand as last year. I’m not sure why – it might be that I changed types of tequila, as it turns out that brand (Patron) has three different ages of tequila, all confusingly in the same shape of bottle, with only a slight color change in the labeling. Mike suggested that I buy a bottle each of each type of tequila and taste-test all three (he’ll drink up the leftovers so it doesn’t go to waste – poor guy! 😉 ). I am seriously tempted to do so. But flavor develops over time, so first I’m going to let it age another day or two, before drawing conclusions.
The chocolate ginger fudge is okay, but came out slightly gritty (due to the sugar coating the ginger bits) and not as soft and rich as I would have liked. Those aren’t the problematic points, though – the real issue, for me, is that it just isn’t very imaginative! It feels rather cliched. So I am racking my brains to think of something else I could do. Maybe chocolate with a liquor? I am not making Armagnac truffles this year, so perhaps a chocolate Armagnac walnut fudge is in order.
Regardless, I am sure the recipients will like it, as will the hapless coworkers on whom any leftover chocolate will be dumped. But I have my artistic sensibilities to consider, too.