Friday, March 30, 2012

"How To": The Making of the Easter Dino

There are many steps to creating one of the beautiful chocolate dinos in the Cocoa Dolce kitchen. Lets watch as we walk through step by step…

Step One: We always polish our molds with a cotton cloth before we put any chocolate in them. We do this to remove any possible “left-over” cocoa butter that might prevent the final product from releasing from the mold properly. 

Step Two: Some of our molds, including this one, have design indentions in them. We use these indentions as the dino’s spots and paint each of them individually with chocolate.  Since the dino is going to be filled with a different kind of chocolate, you will be able to see the spots in the end.

Step Three: After the spots have dried, we can start creating our shell. We use metal clips to hold both sides of the dino together and this allows us to pour our chocolate into the mold. We then rotate the chocolate filled mold around until the entire inside surface is covered with chocolate.

Step Four: Once the mold is covered with chocolate, we must get the excess chocolate out. We tip the mold over and hit the mold with an off-set spatula, letting the chocolate flow out. 

Step Five: After our chocolate shell is finished, it must sit and air dry. This completes the first cast of our dino. Once it is completely finished drying, we repeat steps 3 and 4 and let it dry and harden into a shell.

Step Six: Once the drying is done, we must create the base for the dino.  We spread a small amount of chocolate on a tray, creating a thin layered bottom. Then we take the mold and place it in the center of the chocolate base. We put it in the refrigerator to finish the shell mold.

Step Seven: After about 10 to 15 minutes in the fridge, we remove the mold and break the excess chocolate off of the bottom. We also take off the metal clips holding the mold together.

Step Eight: The final step. We carefully remove the chocolate dino from it’s mold. If we did everything correctly, it should come out with ease! And you are left with a beautiful hollow DINO!

Isn't Dino so cute?

Here is the Dino in it's finished state...with eggs and all!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Meet the Staff: An Interview with Angie

For those of you familiar with the Cocoa Dolce family, you can’t have missed Angie. She was Beth’s very first employee when this little shop got started, and she has been a huge part of it’s success ever since. In the six years we’ve been open, her job has changed dramatically with the needs of our store. So how did it all get started?
Angie was in nursing school at Newman University and looking for a little something to do with her spare time, when her good friend Jacob told her about a chocolate shop his step-mom was opening. What could be more fun than spending your free time working with chocolate? So she signed on. Her first day was a three hour shift, spent behind the counter helping customers and making hot chocolate with a small machine that heated and frothed the mixture for two minutes. Beth was having a “Friends and Family” meet and greet that evening to introduce the store to the area and celebrate the opening. It was right after her shift, so Angie (wanting to look cute) wore boots with a small heel, which she says she will never do again. Making chocolate might be fun, but we are on our feet a lot. So after that experience, she decided fashion would always take a back seat to comfortable shoes. 
After a while Angie decided nursing wasn’t for her, and she wanted to go full-time. Beth was more than happy, and began giving her more responsibilities, the first of which was creating the schedule for the other employees. 
Now, things have changed. She’s now our Manager of Business Development, and most days, you won’t find Angie behind the counter. She’s still at the shop, but she also has a brand new office located at our production facility to give her a “more quiet” place to get the job done. She also takes care of all of our custom ordering. If you’ve had a wedding or party and wanted custom chocolate for it, you’ve talked to Angie. She then, has ordered your boxes, tags, cocoa butter transfers, ribbons, cellophane, and anything else you’ve needed to get exactly what you were looking for. Finding all that stuff isn’t always easy, but Angie somehow comes through. Now she has a list of vendors, and go-to guys for any occasion we might run into. 
She also manages all of our corporate customers. We now do quite a bit of wholesale, all of which Angie keeps track of. Whether it’s logo bars for Chester’s Chophouse, candy bars for the Warren Theatre, or wholesale truffles for our vendors in Kansas City, it all goes through Angie first. She has also organized our shipping department to facilitate our customers who wish to send chocolate to their grandmother in Florida without it melting. 
There are about a million jobs Angie now does that she didn’t in the beginning, but some things haven’t changed. She still loves what she does and the people she works with (although that number has grown considerably too!), and the family oriented atmosphere we try to hard to maintain. Her favorite chocolate is still the Maple Cream, her favorite drink is a Raspberry Peach Italian Soda, and she says her favorite thing about watching us grow is watching the world around us grow too. We have the best customers, some of which have been there from the very beginning. She has watched a married couple become a family of five, has made personal friendships with the faces we see most often, and the staff even receives birthday cards from customers that started out with us in the very beginning, just like Angie. 
As we continue to grow in the future, we know that Angie will continue being a part of what makes Cocoa Dolce great.