Love Chocolate? Here’s Your Guide to Becoming a Chocolatier

There’s just something about chocolate… whether it’s Christmas, Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or just a one night stand chocolate potion (yes, the sauce is a real thing), the aphrodisiac properties of this magical dessert are unmistakable.

Dude’s love chocolate too, though. If you say you don’t, then you obviously haven’t tried the Sweet Baby Jesus chocolate peanut butter porter—if which case, you’re severely missing out, so do yourself a favor and head on over to DuClaw Brewing to claim your treasure.  And yes, chocolate (actually cocoa) is brewed.

The truth is, everything from chocolate-covered nuts and pretzels to adult chocolate milk shows us that there are seemingly endless ways taste bud engineers are learning how to combine this decadent sweet with our favorite snacks… or pastimes. Are you thinking about how to turn your cravings into creative masterpieces? Learning how to become a chocolatier can turn a passion into a career, or you can just use your know-how to impress your dream date on their special day.

Whatever your inspiration may be, between bringing home the (chocolate-covered) bacon to creating a custom chocolate mold for your anniversary, here’s what you’ll need to know.

Learn everything about chocolate

Grabbing the generic melt-downs in the baking aisle won’t win you over any points on your first date. If you want to become a real chocolatier, you’ll need to develop a taste for finer cacao and read up on as much as you possibly can about chocolate. Research it, catalogue recipes, record a few episodes on the cooking channel. If you want to expand your arsenal of creative chocolates, you’ll also need expand your palate’s vocabulary. There’s much more to learn than “dark”, “milk”, and “white”, so it’s time to start studying up.

Create a vision

If you’ve made it past the “boring” phase of your journey to becoming a chocolate master, now’s the time to hone in on exactly why you’re interested in pursuing this jest. Looking to impress PTA members at the next school fundraiser? Maybe you’re hoping to score some brownie points (pun intended) for the date night you missed? Or maybe you’re actually trying to turn your chocolate craze into a legitimate career.

The baking equipment you’ll need to invest in will depend upon your chocolate goals and what you’re looking to achieve out of your venture. Trying to go above and beyond for Valentine’s Day? Make a flexible, heart-shaped mold out of food-safe RTV silicone (room temperature vulcanization) and bake  some chocolate straight from the heart; you can even contain a sweet message to be to unwrapped with each piece… if you’re into that sort of sentimental thing.

Getting Serious About Chocolate

Maybe you want to learn about making chocolate so you can become the next champion brewer. Whether you’re interested in brewing a decadent chocolate stout or a nutty, roasted porter, you’re going to need to pick up an at-home brewery kit before you can take your perfected recipe over to the kettle for large-scale production.

If becoming a certified chocolatier is your end game, you’re going to need to invest in a lot more than cupcake tins and malted barley. This degree of professionalism requires much more equipment for refining your chocolate with finesse, including a kitchen scale, accurate thermometer, large stand-up mixer, flavored extracts, and more.

To go work at a place like Godiva or Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, you’ll also need a certified degree in the art of confectionary.  Enroll into the Professional School of Chocolate Arts offered by Ecole Chocolat in San Francisco or a similar program in your area and let your passion lead you down a whole new life path.

Practice, practice, practice

Once you having the right recipes and baking tools in place, it’s time to start practicing making different sorts of chocolate treats, tinkering around with different recipes, from truffles to bon bons and beyond. It might sound tedious, but with more practice comes more tastings, and we’re willing to bet you’ll find more than a few guinea pigs willing to test out your latest creation.

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