What better time than Easter to be invited to a chocolate making class! I have wanted to do a chocolate making class for a long time as I love making chocolate treats such as truffles, but I definitely think my skills could be improved. Also I knew a class involving chocolate making would involve getting to eat plenty of it too!
I went along to the event hosted by Joe's Bloggers at The Copthorne Hotel in Manchester this week. It's a gorgeous location looking out onto the water of Salford Quays.
I arrived to find each table decorated with marshmallows and various sprinkles - always a good sign!
Cocoa pods on a tree
We then learnt about the history of chocolate, which I found really interesting. Chocolate goes back around 3000 years to the Aztecs who made a cold broth drink from the cocoa beans. In the 1500s Christopher Columbus brought the cocoa beans to Spain and they made it over to the UK by the 1600s. It was all about dark chocolate at the start until milk chocolate was invented in a Nestle factory and is now the most popular kind.
We tasted some raw cocoa beans which were extremely bitter and unpleasant (thankfully they get better when sugar and cocoa butter are added!). Then some 98% dark chocolate, again far too bitter for me. We then tried some chocolate made with vegetable oil, this was to show how cheap chocolate is made with oil instead of cocoa butter and it hugely reduces the quality. Finally we tasted delicious dark chocolate and good quality milk chocolate. You can really tell the difference in quality when you eat one followed by the other.
Next it was button making time! At this point I felt like I was back in school - in a good way! We got to play with melted chocolate and decorate it with sprinkles and other types of chocolate. I could've quite happily done this all night...
I've made truffles before but it was cool to learn a new technique from the teachers. We mixed double cream with melted dark chocolate and piped it out into portions onto wax paper. It sets much quicker this way than waiting for the whole lot to set in a bowl. We were then able to roll it into balls between our palms and coat in cocoa powder.
There was also some chocolate fudge that we cut into circle and hearts and drizzled chocolate onto which you can see at the back of the photo above. We then got some lovely boxes and bags to take them home in. They made it home, but not long after that! I really enjoyed the class and I'm excited to play around more with chocolate at home.
I headed home with this fab kit so I have no excuse not to make more chocolates, what a shame! If you're looking for a chocolatey experience of your own, Millenium Hotels have wrote up a list of the best in the UK! You can read it by clicking here.