I was invited to attend a class with Chocolate Tales, and I immediately jumped at the chance of taking a Savory & Sweet Chocolate Making Workshop. I attended this class with 2 friends, and I met them at The Mad Bean where the class was being held a few minutes before the class commenced so that we could guarantee seats next to each other.
For starters, I loved seating in a room that smelled like coffee and chocolate, specially on a cold winter night like tonight. 10 minutes after the class was meant to start, it began (had to wait for a few stragglers, my friend Emma being one of them–grrr!).
- Everything we needed was placed in front of us (minus the liquid chocolate)
- Our instructor stood at the front making different forms of liquid chocolate
- We were given chocolate to snack on
- Because the location was small, it actually felt cozy and we got to know the people around us
- The class was full of laughs, and sharing
- Everyone kept calling my blog the “Pretend Chef” blog—hahaha so funny! Not!
She was so cute and funny. She is probably going to hate me for calling her cute, but she really was and yet still able to command the group of over 30 people. I particularly loved getting a history on chocolate. Did you know that white chocolate is really not “chocolate?”
A little background on chocolate (we were given this information in the class, but I was not taking notes–so thank you Wiki for the summary!)…..
- Chocolate is made from Theobroma cacao seeds, roasted and ground, often flavored
- Cacao has been cultivated by many cultures for at least three millennia in Mesoamerica
- The earliest evidence of cacao use traces to the Mokaya (Mexico and Guatemala), with evidence of chocolate beverages dating back to 1900 BC
- The cacao seeds must first be fermented (very bitter)–so no, it may not be wise to eat them raw. Though in theory it does sound yummy
- After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted. The shell is removed to produce cacao nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, pure chocolate in rough form. Because the cocoa mass is usually liquefied before being molded with or without other ingredients, it is called chocolate liquor. The liquor also may be processed into two components: cocoa solids and cocoa butter
- Unsweetened baking chocolate (bitter chocolate) contains primarily cocoa solids and cocoa butter in varying proportions. Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, a combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or other fat, and sugar
- Milk chocolate is sweet chocolate that additionally contains milk powder or condensed milk
- White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, and milk but no cocoa solids
- Cocoa solids are one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants. They also contain alkaloids such as theobromine, phenethylamine and caffeine. These have physiological effects on the body and are linked to serotonin levels in the brain. Some research has found that chocolate, eaten in moderation, can lower blood pressure
- The presence of theobromine renders chocolate toxic to some animals, especially dogs and cats
- Although cocoa originated in the Americas, today Western Africa produces almost two-thirds of the world’s cocoa, with Côte d’Ivoire growing almost half of it
- European Union regulations require dark chocolate to have at least 60% cocoa solids, milk chocolate 25%, and white chocolate none
Chocolate bloom is a whitish coating that can appear on the surface of chocolate. This effect is one of the main concerns in the production of chocolate. There are two types of bloom: fat bloom, arising from changes in the fat in the chocolate; and sugar bloom, formed by the action of moisture on the sugar ingredients. Chocolate that has “bloomed” is still safe to eat, but may have an unappetizing appearance and surface texture.
So? How was the class?
- We got to use an array of flavor combinations that ranged from chili, vinegar, salt, and other spices
- We were given everything we needed to decorate our chocolates, and we also got to make chocolate covered pretzels
- We got a box filled with individual packaging material–gave these little chocolate treats to colleagues the following day and they raved about them!
- The milk chocolate was delicious, and we got to take some home too!
- We did not learn how to make the chocolate–everything was made for us in advance, so replicating this at home would be a challenge–and I love to bake and make candy!
- We did not get to create our own flavor combinations, and instead we were given liquid chocolate to try, and then guess what was in it. If we liked the flavor, we could use it to fill our chocolate domes. I really wanted to make my own filling
- The class felt rushed. We were there for under an hour since everything was pre-made
Overall I really enjoyed the class, but did feel somewhat sad walking away with great tasting chocolates that I had no idea how to make on my own. However, this is completely my fault since they do offer classes that do in fact teach you how to make chocolates, but I did not read the class descriptions carefully before signing up.
These are the workshops Chocolate Tales offers:
- Classic Chocolate Making
- Truffle Making Class
- Savory & Sweet Workshop
- Chocolate & Decorating
So it looks like I have 5 classes to sign up for!
Oh! One more thing!
Chocolate Tales is offering a 45% discount on all their classes! The regular price for workshops is $82 + 7 (admin fee). For some classes the promo code is gourmet007 and for others it is freezing007.
More information on their website here
Check out how it went!
YouTube Promo Video of Chocolate Tales