Rarely in my life do I relish the idea of spending time with a heap of strangers doing something interactive, but last Wednesday was just such an occasion. Joe’s Bloggers kindly invited me along to a chocolate masterclass at The Copthorne Hotel, Salford Quays and it was a-ma-zing.
The event was to celebrate the remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which is a stonking TEN years old this year – I know, you’re probably wondering how you got so old so fast. I am.
Good job we’re all reduced to children around pots of molten chocolate. We descended on The Copthorne to enjoy delicious canapes and prosecco and get to know one another. Did you know one of our party took a bath in a pig trough? How about that one of our party was a Dentist? At a chocolate class! We were an interesting bunch – but you can see more about it at the Copthorne website, and find out more about how to get chocolatey yourself right here
The class started with a history of chocolate, which was actually fascinating. I didn’t know it was older than Jesus, and I had no idea it was originally served as a cold Aztec broth – every day is a school day. We tracked its progress over to Spain with Christopher Columbus and eventually to a delicious global phenomenon.
I also learned how to taste for “good” chocolate – and got to try some 98% dark chocolate which was obscenely bitter, though surprisingly moorish. Turns out the optimum darkness is around 75-80% (unless you’re a milk chocolate fan!) – check out this handy (edible) chocolate chart:
Top to Bottom: Good quality milk chocolate | Perfect percentage dark chocolate | Poorer quality “waxy” milk chocolate | 98% Dark chocolate.
After we’d learned about chocolates history and DNA it was time to get physical – we started with making giant buttons and decorating them, which sounds childish but actually requires skill and concentration. Here you can see my dark chocolate, praline and coconut button which was sadly taken home by someone else in a mixup, so I assume it was delicious, but cannot verify. In any case I was glad to have some guidance on creating the lovely marble effect, which I’ll be recreating at home like….every day in every way.
So, we put aside our buttons to set and then it was truffle time. Mixing our own ganache we learned how to create the perfect consistencies for every type of truffle – double cream for standard, egg yolk for silky and whipping cream for fluffy. Baileys for weekends 😉
We piped out “little poos” as our table called them, and sent them away to set in the fridge while we moved on to the next delight – Fudge!
This was what I found the most difficult – the fudge kept going squidgy with my body heat, so where everyone else’s looked like delicate, crisp shapes, mine were more like blobs of something. Let’s just say I prefer the rustic look, eh?
Fast forward a few minutes and the truffles were back and ready to roll – I don’t want to give away the secrets but we rolled them up in cocoa powder and then dipped them in melted chocolate before decorating with all manner of lovely things – which is actually harder than it sounds, firstly because its hard to roll chocolate around in chocolate, and secondly because it’s hard not to eat it before you’ve finished.
Still, the results are pretty nice, if amateur:
Finally we had a little wrapping class which was actually really sweet – whats the point in being able to make dellightful truffles if you can’t present them like the relics they are?
We were also all gifted a lovely chocolate recipe kit with some moulds and other utensils for practising our skills at home – so you can expect to see a lot more chocolate related content in the coming months. You can also probably expect my waistline to expand again… so keep your eye on my depop.
In any case, from now on you can call me Mrs Lindt.