Chocovision Revolation 2
Picture the scene: rural France, the first festive season after passing my Professional Chocolatier course with Ecole Chocolat. Since volunteering to make my sister’s wedding favours for the following year, I’d been questioning my sanity at agreeing to make hundreds of hand-dipped chocolates until my husband sprung a surprise early gift on me of a brand new Revolation 2 tempering machine... my hero! So I thought I’d surprise him in return with some of his favourite Double Expresso truffles to say thank you...
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro' the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse...
That was until I started my new Revolation 2 and scared the living daylights out of myself and the dog! I switched it off immediately, thinking maybe I’d put it together wrong, or perhaps someone had replaced my chocolate callets with gravel, but no! It turns out it always sounds like a mini cement mixer! Bang (or should I say rumble) went my covert evening of truffle-dipping to make my husband’s Christmas surprise. Thankfully my husband had been partaking of “festive cheer” and was blissfully unaware of the test run. I placated one shocked Jack Russell with a rawhide chew, thanked whatever deity is in charge of soundproofing insulation and fired up the Rev 2 again, thus starting a noisy but very happy relationship with this great little machine.
OK, OK! this is a serious review really, but I’m not going to go into all the technical specifications of the Revolation 2, because that information is out there already for all to see. Rather, here are some observations of mine having used this machine since December 2009 and I have no problem admitting that I’ve found some stuff out the hard way!
· I would describe myself as a serious “hobby” chocolatier as I live in France and there are very tight regulations on trading as a chocolatier here, so I can make for pleasure only. I would say that I made approximately 700-800 pieces of hand-dipped candy last year TOTAL so I’m quite small scale and that’s why I like the Rev 2 – it’s a small, efficient machine that allows you to be more creative knowing that the all-important temper is taken care of. The pre-set tempering cycles for dark, milk and white chocolates are a real bonus and I’ve only ever had to slightly increase the temperature on one type of chocolate because the pre-set didn’t get the chocolate quite liquid enough (I normally use Callebaut– fairly standard stuff). However, I made sure that I checked the characteristics of the blend first to make sure I didn’t lose the temper by going too far and it worked out perfectly. That flexibility is so handy. However, I don’t make many molded chocs apart from a few Easter eggs but I can see an issue with bowl size/volume if I was seriously considering that route in future.
· The bowl scraper can be quite rigid for the first couple of uses so prime the bowl with a rub of chocolate as per the instructions and take extreme care when locating the wee baffle connector pins into the baffle lock: they can be bent...easily! Also, I make sure that I position the bowl correctly each time, but the top of the plastic casing still has a neat but shallow circular gouge where the rim rotates – minor but annoying.
· Be careful about where you place your centres that are waiting to be dipped, especially if your work area is limited. I put a tray of prepared centres just within range of the exhaust vent while waiting for the chocolate to temper and lost a good dozen or so before I realised my mistake – doh!
· Even though there is a clip to stop chocolate “climbing” out of the bowl, don’t trust it 100%! My first time out I had callets all over the place and wedged in all sorts of places, melting away quite happily as more of their number escaped the confines of the bowl! I now stand by with a prodding implement to encourage stray callets to stay put or I pre-melt the chocolate to reduce this and the overall tempering time.
· Cleaning the equipment is straightforward, but chocolate seems to get stuck up inside the scraper housing of the baffle. Definitely use the brush provided but be careful about how much water you expose the baffle to – water can easily get into it so I stand mine on a clean piece of kitchen paper to allow it to dry completely before packing it away, to eliminate accidental seizing of the chocolate next time around. This is fine for me, but if you need to keep using your machine, consider buying a spare bowl and baffle. Also check the baffle locks to make sure there is no chocolate lurking in there – cotton buds (Q-Tips) are great for this.
· The “working area” of the bowl for dipping is limited and I found that (a) I messed up the side of the bowl/machine/me pretty quickly and (b) the stop-start of the rotation was annoying after a while. To this end, I have perfected (in my mind!) a method of dipping each piece while the bowl rotates and wiping any excess off with a small (10cm) off-set spatula which I can then in turn wipe quickly on the bowl before dipping the next piece. It sounds long-winded probably but I found I get into a rhythm and it’s actually quicker and neater for me! It’s trial and error I think for each user...
All in all I think the Revolation 2 is a great machine and I have had no problems with mine so far. It takes the uncertainty out of tempering for the relatively inexperienced chocolatier and has given me immense confidence and pride in the chocolates I produce. I do think this is an expensive item for a “hobby” chocolatier, especially when we have the knowledge to temper a small amount of chocolate by hand, but I cannot fault the tempering facility it offers. Saying that, I would not have necessarily bought it for myself – I was considering a small table top air-heated melting/holding tank for half the price before my hubby surprised me with my Rev 2. However, for all the little niggles it’s a fantastic tool and I wouldn’t be without mine now.