Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chocolat Chocolat - Chocolate tasting and making

This week I was invited to attend a chocolate tasting and making course run by a local chocolate shop Chocolat Chocolat and not being one to turn down chocolate I gladly accepted.  I discovered the shop in first year and since then have tried a lot of their products, from their delicious hot chocolate to their Belgian chocolates.
Chocolat Chocolat shop frontChocolat Chocolat interior

The course lasted 2 1/2 hours during which we were given an introduction to chocolate, explaining how it was made, the minimum cocoa content and how to taste it.  Much to my delight plenty of samples were supplied so that we could compare the different flavours.


The session was fun and I even learnt a few new things.  Did you know, for example, that even if you normally get migraines from chocolate, you'll be fine if you eat white chocolate as it only contains cocoa butter and it is the cocoa solids that are the problem?  Or that if you're craving chocolate but don't want to eat too much you should go for a dark chocolate, with a higher percentage of cocoa solids, as they contain the chemical you're craving and thus you will feel satisfied after a much smaller amount?
After the introduction we moved on to the chocolate making!  We learnt how to make a ganache by melting chocolate in a bain-marie (a bowl resting on top of a saucepan of warm water) and once melted, whisking in cream - the more cream the smoother the ganache will be.

We then formed the ganache into small malteser-sized balls.  This is a lot easier said than done.  You are meant to use the tips of your fingers to form the ganache into a ball, however, this is a lot easier if you have cool hands, which I quickly discovered I don't.  It took only a few seconds for my fingers to become coated in chocolate.  I decided that as I wasn't going to be able to complete this task neatly to just go for it and roll the ganache in the palms of my hands as it was far easier and quicker to create balls using this method.  20 minutes later I finished shaping the ganache, hands covered in chocolate but feeling very happy (this could have something to do with the amount of chocolate I had consumed by this point, which contains endorphins - the chemicals which make you happy).

Rolling the ganache in cocoa powder The different toppings

We rolled some of the ganache balls in cocoa powder and left the rest to set for a few minutes.  We then dipped them in a bowl of tempered chocolate before rolling them in a variety of different toppings; dark chocolate sprinkles, coconut, crushed hazelnuts and chocolate shavings.  The chocolates needed to set for about 15 minutes before we were able to package them in our boxes and bags and we were advised to let them set for a hour or so before actually eating them (naturally I couldn't resist and a couple didn't make it home).

The finished chocolates in a decorative box

I had a wonderful morning and would definitely recommend their courses to all chocolate-lovers.  If you want to find out more about their upcoming courses and booking then you can visit their website here.

If you're in Cambridge and want to pop into their shop then you'll find them at 21 St Andrews Street, Cambridge CB2 3AX
Alternatively you can browse their website or keep up to date with what they're up to on Twitter and Facebook.

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