Static Electricityin Chocolate - Can I get rid of it?

The Static Electricity Voltage of Chocolate - Or, How Many Electrons are in Your Semisweet?

This is my first thread start so please be patient with me!

When Julia Child was approaching her 85th birthday, the Candy and Chocolate Manufacturer’s Association commissioned a cake to be make in her honor. Marcel Desaulnier created it and it’s a killer. The main ingredient is about 18 oz. of grated chocolate. And that’s a good thing, but grating chocolate is hard! You really can’t use a food processor because of the heat from the rotating blade and doing it by hand is tedious.

And then there is the static electricity.

You can sit and grate a one pound block of chocolate and be as neat and tidy as you like, but when you go to move the grater, fooooosssshhhhh!!! Chocolate shreds fly up and out in every direction. Same for the processor method. Metal bowl, hard plastic, soft plastic - it doesn’t matter. I have considered wiping down the bowls and utensils with a Clingfree dryer sheet except I don’t think the smell or taste would be very appetizing.

Any suggestions? I haven’t tried varying the heat or humidity yet. In truth, whenever someone wants me to bake this cake I make them do the shredding and deliver unto me 18 oz. of pre-shredded chocolate (usually with more knuckle skin than they care to admit).

Thanks!

Ground your grater, or the plate the chocolate is resting on I suppose.

A Zerostat Antistatic Gun works well on small (a few grams) quantities of staticy powder. I’ve never tried one on 18 oz. of chocolate though.

Get one of those grounding wrist straps like technicians use when working on computers. You should be able to find one at your local computer store.

Antistatic gun, eh? Hmmmmm…

Did they make those in the 1920s?

Is there any way you could mount the grater on a container, so the grated chocolate is contained inside? Maybe even a big plastic bag taped to the grater?

What about placing the chocolate and grater inside a big ziplock bag and having at it from the outside? It wouldn’t decrease the static, but it would contain the chocolate.

One of those anti-static wrist straps should be able to do the trick. PUt it on, clip the other end to something that is grounded, and then keep the chocolate and the grater in contact with your hands. If all the objects are grounded, a static charge won’t build, because the electrons will have a path to ground.

What about this? It would contain the chocolate while you’re grating it at least.
http://www.cooking.com/products/shprodde.asp?SKU=207024

Likely not good since the plastic container will not allow whatever charge the chocolate has acquired bleed off.

Still cool looking though.

I’ve used a Mouliware plastic rotary grater with the coarse drum for grating chocolate. Very little mess. The thing is strong, too. I’ve had it for 20 years. Chef’s Catalog carries a stainless steel one made by Zyliss. Avoid Zyliss’ plastic grater, the handle breaks.

I freeze the chocolate, put a little butter on the grater, and grate onto a ceramic plate, also chilled. It’s imperfect, but an improvement. The presence of plastic wrap seems to be contraindicated as well, so don’t use it to hold the chocolate. You can also spritz the shavings, grater and all with a little water – it won’t hurt the cake. Good luck.

These sound like interesting ways to go. The spritz of water may be the missing element.

Thanks!

All this, and no one asked for the recipe?