The moment you walk into the factory, you understand you are going back in time. There are no rubber gloves or paranoia about cleanliness, it is all about simplicity. The staff working are concentrated, moods are good and production is a team effort without any specific industrial feel to the factory.
We were very fortunate to meet Dimitris one of the owners and tour their impressive factory in Naples. Their style of production is rarely seen in this day and age, with “manual labor”, at the forefront of production. They start with the raw bean, and produce their own chocolate butter by use of traditional methods, and old-fashioned machinery for tempering.
Anytime you need chocolate to be firm at room temperature and to have a glossy sheen and a crisp texture, you must temper the melted chocolate. For tempering, they use a top-quality dark chocolate. Gay-Odin understands when chocolate isn’t tempered, it can have a number of problems: it may not ever set up hard at room temperature, or look dull and blotchy or it can be susceptible to fat bloom, meaning the fats will migrate to the surface and make whitish streaks and blotches. Cocoa beans from different locations vary: at the same temperature, cocoa butter from Malaysian beans grown near the equator will be firm, while cocoa butter from Brazilian beans grown in a cool climate will be very soft.
Preserving traditional methods of processing chocolate, it makes sense that gay-Odin do not export. Here and now the factory respects “fatto a mano”, made by hand and the culture of chocolate is right here. You see staff sitting at a table flipping chocolates into granulated coatings, or a wood fire to roast the hazel nuts.
A member of the staff working at a cool white marble table top, he prepares a chocolate ganache used in the wafers Gay-Odin sells by the piece. The ganache is then spread layer by layer until it is ready to be cut into individual pieces.
Whatever you think about chocolate, you haven’t really had a full chocolate experience until you taste Gay-Odin.