There are few things more enjoyable than biting into a rich square of decadent chocolate. Admit it, there’s just something about the silky mix of cacao, cream, sugar, and splash of alcohol that sets neurons in the brain sparkling with happiness.
Being a chocolate lover, I was more than happy to accept an invite from JG Andaya, creator of Bruges Fine Belgian Chocolates, to see how she makes beautiful works of art that taste just as good as they look.
And because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, she’d like to offer my readers a decadent giveaway. Please check below to learn how to join.
JG Andaya: I make chocolates
How did you become a chocolatier?
I never thought I would be a ‘chocolatier’. I’ve always been a very proud home cook. The business was offered to us one day and rest is history.
I took a short course here in Manila in how to handle the chocolate. I had to learn all the technical stuff…temperature, humidity and the proper way of tempering the chocolate.
For me, it’s the ‘love’ put into each piece. The Belgians are concerned about the quality of each piece from the environment in which they are stored to the high quality ingredients used for each piece. In the making of my Black Luxe Collection – it took me months to complete the collection because of one ingredient. It’s really all or nothing.
This was my husband’s idea. While taking his MBA in the UK, he travelled all over Europe on a motorbike. He got lost in Bruges for quite sometime and thoroughly enjoyed the place.
Although most of my ingredients are imported, they can all be found here in Manila.
Apart from keeping the kids out of my ‘chocolate factory’? *laughs*
I would love to come out with all different kinds of chocolate products but since we sell through the internet, I always have to think about how each product will hold up through shipping in our very warm weather.
Tempering! For me, tempering is the most important step. The temperature of the room, chocolate, as well as the marble slab has to be just right to get excellent results. Excellent results include the proper shine, the ‘snap’ when you bite into the chocolate and expiration.
We use very concentrated vibrant food coloring and find the powdered ones to work best along with cocoa butter as a medium. Again, temperature has to be just right. The design is hand painted onto the mold prior to the process of moulding each praline. It’s a tedious process, so if you don’t love what you’re doing, you’ll end up having a bad day…everyday.
Let’s just say I have two ‘elves’ that makes each day a bit easier for me – but quality control falls back on me.
Most of our chocolates have a couverteur. We have chosen to make them this way to show the technique of proper tempering – inherent to Belgian Chocolates. They are also unwrapped to show the same – the shine on each piece is achieved through proper tempering.
I find that some people are ‘scared’ of alcohol in their chocolates. Yes, I do push the limit in order to achieve the taste, but really, it’s not much at all because too much alcohol will lead to an awful ganache that cannot be molded.
My best seller is the The Black Luxe Collection: all liquor / all dark
Everything is really according to taste, since I don’t care for anything too sweet, I tend to work with dark chocolate more. You will find that I do have white or milk chocolate products, but somehow I find ways to incorporate dark chocolate in each product – whether it’s the couverteur or the ganache (filling). As far as taste, balance is very important to me.
How long can your chocolates last?
6 to 12 months, depending on the product. However, I don’t store products, everything is made fresh. It all depends on the customer once they have the chocolates – how fast or how slow they consume the chocolates. I hear they’re usually wiped out by day 2.
What is the price range of your chocolates?
They can range from PHP 22o to PHP 1200.
You’ve just seen how they were made, now try them for yourself. JG Andaya of Bruges is giving away 10 (you read right, TEN) boxes of her special edition Valentine’s chocolates to 10 lucky Cat JL Readers based in the Philippines. This collection contains a romantic blend of passion fruit, Baileys and caramel. Yum.
1 Leave comment on this post sharing something sweet someone has done for you. This does not have to be a romantic gesture, as long as it’s heart warming we’d like to hear about it.
2 JG Andaya and I will choose the ten lucky winners by February 11. All boxes will be shipped to my readers courtesy of Island Rose.
3 Please expect an email from Bruges asking for your delivery address by February 12. If you don’t respond by February 13, we’ll choose someone else to make sure these wonderful boxes arrive by Valentine’s.
For more information about Bruges Fine Belgian Chocolates, please check out their: