Have you ever gotten a bug in your melanger as it was running? Do you throw the whole batch of chocolate liquor away?
On my last batch of Bean-to-Bar Chocolate I was in the early stages of refining so I had the cover off the melanger. (You need to leave the cover off so the volatile vapors and moisture can dissipate.) I was watching the granite wheels pulverize the nibs when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
It was one of those big Daddy Longlegs mosquitoes (Crane Fly) flying listlessly around the room.
I freaked out!
I didn't mind the bug itself, it was harmless, but I didn’t want it falling into my chocolate!!
I shooed the mosquito out of the room and started thinking about ways to protect the precious chocolate inside the open bowl. It need some kind of canopy that would allow air to circulate but keep the bugs away.
The next day on a trip to Wally-World I found this:
It is a collapsible laundry basket made from a tight mesh fabric. It unzips and fits right over the melanger. The mesh is open enough to let the vapors escape, but tight enough to keep the bugs out. I also bought some fabric with a even tighter weave than the basket, but the fabric was a pain to keep on the basket. If I see any bugs getting through the mesh of the laundry basket I will have to take the extra step and sew a fabric bag to go over the laundry basket.
So what about you? Do you have nightmares about bugs falling into your chocolate while it is refining?