Sharon is a passionate collector of antique chocolate molds and lives in the USA. Many beautiful molds in her collection come from our chocolate mold museum in Germany. The special thing about them: Sharon not only collects the antique chocolate molds, but also pours chocolate with them. Every year at Easter, she creates an extraordinary Easter buffet with large chocolate bunnies for the extended family. With the colourfully decorated chocolate bunnies, Sharon gives the family and especially the children a lot of joy. We interviewed Sharon to find out more about her work with the antique chocolate molds.
Anton Reiche Formen: You sent us a photo of your impressive work with the antique chocolate molds. Tell us more about it!
Sharon: Pictured is the annual Easter "chocolate bar". The bar is themed each year and the bunnies will be decorated differently and in different types of chocolate each year. The chocolates go home with the children in our extended family after a luncheon and egg hunt. I usually incorporate royal icing details on my chocolates, such as the basket weave, flowers, carrots, grass, bees, etc.
Anton Reiche Formen: How do you proceed?
Sharon: The entire Easter display takes about a week to create. Day 1 is mold cleaning and polishing. Day two I temper, mold and de-mold. I wait a day for the condensation to flash off the chocolate. On Day three I brush the chocolates and apply any royal icing decorations. Day four is wrapping day. Typically I make 60 small figures and a few larger display figures for the table.
The theme for last year was to honor Ukraine and to wish peace for them. If you notice, I incorporated my pysanky egg collection in the display and the ribbons are blue and yellow. We also keep bees here and my son used the sale of the honey to raise money for Save the Children's Emergency Relief Fund, as it benefitted Ukraine.
Anton Reiche Formen: That's a very nice idea to dedicate the Easter table to a good cause as well. How did you actually come to pour chocolate with the antique tinplate molds?
Sharon: My background is as a materials engineer and metallurgy is one of the areas I am trained in. I find chocolate tempering very similar to metal heat treating as both have time temperature curves that must be followed to grow crystals to a certain size for final correct behavior in the material. I also appreciate the detailed sheet-metal work from the earlier molds.
Anton Reiche Formen: Are there other occasions during the year when you work with chocolate?
Sharon: At Christmas I make chocolate gingerbread houses, decorated with royal icing and fixed to a plate. At Valentines I mold heart pour boxes filled with candies. Recently, I duplicated the Rensselaer Medal into chocolate for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The institute is the first technical college in the U.S. from which I graduated with an engineering degree.
Anton Reiche Formen: You live in Texas - is it a special challenge to work with chocolate at Easter time?
Sharon: Yes, because in Texas it's already quite warm in April. But I have found a solution: The larger pieces are in white chocolate because white is much easier to work with as it becomes warmer. I make the smaller pieces in dark chocolate.
Anton Reiche Formen: Which antique chocolate molds do you collect?
Sharon: I most enjoy collecting antique bunny and chick molds from 1900-1930.
Anton Reiche Formen: What do you plan for the future?
Sharon: After 30 years of working with chocolate, I still find more to learn and I have so many interesting ideas to try. I am grateful for the Chocolate Molds Museum in Germany supplying excellent antique and polycarbonate molds.
Anton Reiche Formen: Thank you so much for this interview, Sharon!