Chocolate, Classes/ Lessons, Events, Food, Manchester, Passing Judgement

Chocolate Making Class

Firstly a big thank you to Laura who arranged for me to spend an evening doing a chocolate making class in Salford a few weeks ago. It was great and I thought everyone involved was very friendly and helpful.

The room was all set up when I arrived and everything looked lovely. We were offered a glass of Prosecco and some nibbles before the class started which allowed some get-to-know-you time on the table.

As this was my first blog event I initially was a little nervous…. However everyone was very friendly and welcoming to the new kid on the block and I found out that even an experienced blogger was attending her fist event too, so that made me feel a bit more at ease.

To start the class there was a brief history of how chocolate came to be. Did you know the Aztecs were the first people to eat chocolate… I didn’t! An Emperor Mortzina had a golden broth drink made for him from coco beans. He drank it cold and I don’t think it sounds very appealing if I’m honest.

IRaw coco beans’m glad chocolate has changed since then! Especially after tasting roasted coco beans – FYI they’re bitter, crunchy and what I imagine eating bark to be like, with a faint aftertaste of something you may recognise as chocolate!

We also learnt that coco butter is a key ingredient in good chocolate but can be substituted for cheaper ingredients such as vegetable oil in cheaper chocolate such as cheap Easter eggs. Whilst it still tastes chocolatey, it is more waxy in texture and if you hold it for too long, when the chocolate melts it becomes quite greasy.

Therefore I have come to the conclusion that I am now a chocolate snob! And having learnt how to make my own truffles, I probably won’t be buying many chocolate bars from the shops from now on!

Laura will talk you through the truffle making in her post; as following my lesson I promptly turned up at Laura’s the next weekend to show her what I’d learnt. As I’m sure she’ll tell you, my memory wasn’t perfect, so the first batch took longer than the second… but we got some amazing truffles at the end of it.

Back to the lesson, where we were being shown what a coco bean looks like and a lump of coco butter. Not very appealing in their raw forms! However we also got to taste some chocolate and there were 4 different types to try. (In the picture #1 is at the bottom!)

  1. Chocolate TastingA 98% dark chocolate – the purest chocolate I’ll ever taste as a milk chocolate fan. It was very bitter and I didn’t eat much of it.
  2. The cheap chocolate that melts when you touch it for 30 seconds and felt greasy/ waxy in texture. This one was also not for me!
  3. An average dark chocolate with a much higher % coco butter content. This I liked and could definitely eat more of.
  4. The milk chocolate button! IT was delicious and by far my favourite.

Throughout the evening we made and decorated:

  • Giant chocolate buttons
  • Chocolate fudge (just decorated)
  • Marshmallows (just decorated)
  • Truffles
  • Flavoured chocolate

Workshop

Making the truffles was my favourite bit by far. Although be warned you need a warm mixture when piping them or they end up coming out a little… stiffer then required! Outs were a little challenging to pipe but were fine once re-formed and tasted great.

IMG_3812

Top Tips:

If you’re going to try this at home, I would recommend:

  • Multiple mixing bowls
    • This will come in handy when making different flavours, I got mine from £1 land
  • A big clean surface to work on, covered in greaseproof/ baking paper/ equivalent
    • Chocolate gets everywhere! Honestly I was covered in it at the class
  • Aprons are a must for the same reason!
  • You’ll need space in the fridge to cool everything
    • Do this in advance so you can just slide the trays in the fridge easily when you’ve piped the truffles
  • Tray make it easier to transport the products to/from the fridge
    • And will help avoid dropping any of the precious truffles on the floor
  • A spatula comes in handy for making sure you’ve got all the chocolate out of the bowls
    • Unless you intend to lick the bowl of course
  • When reforming the chocolate you will get messy, so make sure you can do that bit with no interruptions!
  • Use good chocolate
    • The better the quality of chocolate you use, the better your truffles will taste
  • Different creams give different results
    • Whipping cream for lighter truffles
    • Thick double cream for a slightly thicker filling
  • Experiment with flavours
    • You never know what might work, give it a go!
  • Practice! I guarantee your presentation skills won’t be the best to begin with but with practice you will definitely see an improvement
    • Also if you’ve got good presentation skills, you can gift people with your chocolates
      • Use their favourite liquor as flavouring for a personal touch

Highlights

For my first blog event I would say to @joebloggs – you’ve set the bar high! We will be keeping an eye out for more events and writing more posts about our chocolate making adventures.

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