It was my sister Sammy’s birthday back in September and when I ask what she would like as a present, she normally suggests something that means we can spend some time together – she lives down in Devon and I’m in Wiltshire so we don’t see each other as regularly as I’d like to. (Trying to see my brother in Norwich also involves some major planning!)
We’ve done lots of different activities over the years including afternoon tea at Harvey Nics and a spa day but this time I wanted to do something a bit different so found a chocolate workshop in Bath which was run by Chocolate Delight.
We got to Bath a little before 12 and headed to the Hilton Hotel where the workshop would take place. We were both excited to see what the next 2 hours involved but were also slightly apprehensive as we had no real idea what to expect – was it going to be serious, was it going to be a complicated process, how big was the group going to be, could we REALLY make chocolates?!
No need to worry – as soon as the chocolatier opened the door, she was warm and welcoming as she ticked our names from the list and told us to help ourselves to the chocolate fountain and marshmallows. Anyone that knows us both knows that we don’t have to be told twice to help ourselves to chocolate!!!
The workshop started with a short talk about the magical history of chocolate from the very beginning to the product we know and love today. There were a couple of facts that stuck in our minds:
- Due to the fast growing economy in places like China where everyone is becoming wealthier and therefore able to now buy a car (or two), the cocoa farmers are ditching cocoa for rubber plants – they can earn twice as much money growing rubber as they can cocoa! This will eventually mean that the price for cocoa will go up in value and we could end up paying as much as £12 for a bar that we currently pay £1 for!!!
- A recent study confirmed that 2 squares of dark chocolate (70% solids) plus a small glass of red wine EVERY DAY can reduce your chances of cancer by up to 50% for women. We were definitely encouraged to take this practice up!
We started off by making the ganache for the centre of the truffles – this was one part whipping cream to 2 parts melted chocolate. This had to be mixed quickly before it started to set and then put into a piping bag, I took on the role as chief mixer whilst Sammy stood by with the piping bag. Sammy then expertly piped the ganache out onto the trays we had…
Once the ganache had set a little, it was simply cut into sections and then rolled into little balls. This was REALLY messy and the chocolate melted quickly in our hot hands so there were bowls of ice water to plunge into and run back and carry on.
The next stage was to make the tempered chocolate for the outside – this is what gives the truffles the “crunch”. Enough of the warm mixture for everyone and then dished it out. Again, very messy process involving rubber gloves, dipping your hands into the chocolate, rolling the balls around in your hand and then dropping them into the various toppings (coconut, icing sugar, coco and crushed nuts). If we were doing this at home, we could leave the tempered chocolate to set and then add multiple layers, therefore giving the truffles more of a crunch.
Once the chocolate had set, we then packaged all of our truffles up into clear bags with ribbon – the little bags of chocolate delights looked as though they had been purchased from one of the many artisan deli’s in Bath.
Here we are looking pleased as punch with our truffles!!!
When we met up with the boys later that afternoon, the chocolates were sampled and unanimously agreed they were delicious!!
A great, fun afternoon spent with my sister…and it involved chocolate…what more could we ask for!!!
If you are interested in attending the chocolate workshop run by Chocolate Delight, click here. They have sessions all over the South plus they also run a Chocolate Boutique hotel down in Bournemouth. I wonder if I can persuade John to go there…!!!