The phrase "can't make it out of chocolate" does not apply to Erik Bos. As this accredited chocolatier really does make anything and everything using the sweet treat. Picture frames, tree trunks, referee whistles. In his wonderful Chocoboss store, about 15 kilograms of chocolate are used every day to make the most beautiful creations. And he likes to do this in a clean and tidy manner.
Erik Bos is a man with passion for his profession. After professional training in Bread & Pastry, he went to work for a renowned pastry shop in Rotterdam, where he learnt the trade of chocolatier. There is no specific training course for chocolatiers in the Netherlands. So Erik instead learned the trade in practice. "A colleague fell ill and I picked it up. I just love making something out of nothing." After 30 years Erik thought it was time for something different, his own business. Together with his wife Tamara, Erik has been running Chocoboss in the Walburg shopping centre in Zwijndrecht since 1 September of this year. Two years of intensive preparation preceded this. Finding a great location, coming up with ideas for the layout and design, etc. "All the specialist shops here are doing really well. There is a great deal of appreciation for workmanship. You can buy chocolate anywhere, of course, but you really taste the difference. And all our creations are beautifully presented and packaged. And often personalised, with a personal text for example. Or a logo that we make using a food printer," says Erik proudly. The fact that chocolate is very popular is evident from the many requests Erik receives to hold workshops. And Erik has good news for enthusiasts: "We will be starting the workshops from 2022, interested parties can sign up on the website".
Chocoboss is now open six days a week, with Tamara in the shop and Erik in the back taking charge of production. Business is succeeding above expectations. "The shop was full from the very first day. And on Saturdays it is busy all day long. People always come in with a smile, wanting to buy a present for themselves or a loved one. And to have a chat, which isn't possible at the supermarket. We really take the time for our customers, and this is much appreciated".
Erik works with the best chocolate, from Callebaut in Belgium. This producer, the largest in the world, makes more than 500 types of quality chocolate. Before you can process the chocolate, you need to temper or pre-crystallise it. "Simply melting the chocolate isn't good enough, as this takes a long time to harden. What's more, this way it doesn't get that lovely shine. You get the best product by bringing the chocolate up to the right temperature (32 degrees) and adding a special ingredient," says Erik on the eve of the busiest period of the year, Sinterklaas. "There are times throughout the year when people want to give each other chocolates as gifts. Valentine's Day, Easter, Secretaries Day, Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays. And, during these periods, a lot of moulds and shapes are required. We now have about 400 of them".
The moulds that Erik uses are very expensive, so he is very careful with them. "Many companies don't clean their moulds and leave them dirty. At some point, the quality will suffer because residues will be left in the corners. And with chocolate you can see everything that is in the mould. Naturally, the taste decreases too. What's more, it looks awful, all those dirty moulds. We have an open shop with a view of production. And that is why I wanted a dishwasher. I came across MEIKO via the grapevine. First, I visited the showroom in Rotterdam and looked at the different models. Due to the limited space and the available budget, we decided on an undercounter dishwashing machine. As I also work with large 60 x 40 cm sheets, we chose a M-iClean UL dishwashing machine with a large depth. With the special rack, I can wash 9 plates in one go. And also the crates in which the chocolates are kept and, of course, all the moulds go through them. The table work is made to measure, so that the machine stands at a pleasant working height and is nicely integrated into the whole. All pipes and drains are neatly concealed in such a way that they are also easy to access. I am really happy with this dishwashing machine. It obviously saves us a lot of time compared to washing up by hand. But above all, it allows me to perform my job better, because I like to work in a clean and tidy manner".