Craft Chocolate Consultations

Alan McClure is founder & craft chocolate maker at international award-winning Patric Chocolate. He is available for consulting regarding all parts of the bean-to-bar, chocolate-making process, and issues related to running a craft chocolate company, including cacao sourcing, chocolate machinery selection, and chocolate formulation.

Testimonial:  David Senk, Areté Fine Chocolate,  San Jose, CA:

My wife, Leslie, and I are just a couple of months away from opening our own small craft chocolate factory. We absolutely love making chocolate, and over the last several years (and a couple of hundred test batches) we’ve gotten pretty good at it, but we still weren’t where we wanted to be with our texture and flavor development. Patric Chocolate has been one of our favorite chocolates since we first discovered fine craft chocolate, and when we learned from Sunita at The Chocolate Garage (thank you Sunita!) that Alan McClure offered consulting services, the decision to go was already made.

The process started off with a couple of phone calls to help Alan understand where we were and what we wanted to get out of the experience. He followed that up with a detailed written summary of the goals we had identified and the agenda that we would follow to make sure we covered all of our areas of interest.

I spent two full 8.5 hour days with Alan covering every aspect of craft chocolate making imaginable – nothing was off limits or out of bounds. We spent a good deal of time on organoleptic evaluation in order to understand where we were with our chocolate and how the various steps in the process (from fermentation all the way through roasting, refining and conching) affect flavor and texture. That was followed by sessions on sourcing of ingredients, evaluation of beans, formulation, food safety in chocolate making, the business side of craft chocolate, processing from A to Z, packaging considerations and extensive Q&A. Alan also provided a substantial amount of follow-up study material of which I’ve barely scratched the surface so far.

We’ve already started to incorporate what we learned from Alan into our chocolate making and our business plan, and are already seeing the results in our finished chocolate. We have a good feel now for the cause-effect relationship between the various process steps and the final flavor and texture that we experience. In the past we were often reaching in the dark trying to fix what wasn’t right – now we have a very good feel for which levers to pull in order to get the results we’re after. I’m sure that any success as craft chocolate makers we might have the good fortune to enjoy in the future will be in large part the direct result of two days very well spent in Columbia, Mo.

 

Testimonial:  Gregory Owen, President of the Institute for Chocolate Studies (ICS) student group, Princeton University:

I came to Patric hoping to find out how Alan consistently gets such spectacular flavor into his bars. I was not disappointed. Over the course of my 7-hour session, Alan carefully walked me through each step in his process, explaining what he was doing and why, and letting me try my hand at it. He was generous with his (considerable) expertise and was willing to answer all of my questions.

I was most impressed by the lengths to which Alan goes to make the chocolate-making process scientific and reproducible. He showed me which measurements to take during roasting and tempering in order to keep flavor and quality consistent from batch to batch. Applying the techniques that Alan showed me will allow my team to repeat our successes and learn from our failures.

Alan is also a great teacher. He is modest and genuinely nice, and his feedback on the chocolate samples I brought him was frank and fair. What impressed me most, though, was the way that he backed up his considerable qualitative intuition with quantitative results and recommendations, including suggestions for what experiments we should run to diagnose the problems he pointed out in our samples. If you are looking to get into the chocolate business in a serious way, or if you are already in the business and looking to improve your chocolate, I strongly recommend a visit with Alan.

 

Testimonial:  Josefin Zernell, Mörk Chocolate. Melbourne, Australia:

 A chocolatier of ten years, I run a small chocolate company in Australia. I attended a twenty-five hour consultation course at Patric Chocolate, spread out over five days. The course covered the theoretical and practical aspects of craft chocolate manufacturing as well as an overview of small business management.

Alan planned the course in detail to my specific requirements, which had been previously discussed over emails prior to my arrival. To ensure enough time to cover the required fields, Alan supplied extensive reading material to take home in preparation for each new chapter of the course. This material added depth to the subjects that were discussed. Each session ended with a Q&A.

The course at Patric Chocolate has been invaluable to my company as we are in the process of setting up a bean to bar chocolate factory. After this course, I have been able to return to Australia with the right tools, knowledge and professional insight to start our own business expansion. Alan’s extensive knowledge, enthusiasm and high level of teaching skills have been truly inspirational and the week spent at Patric Chocolate exceeded my highest expectations. I can warmly recommend Alan as teacher and consultant for other professionals in the industry.

 

 

Please fill out the form below to receive a quote on consulting. Phone-based and hands-on craft chocolate consulting (either at your facility or ours) is available.