Healthy and Sane

Chocolate truffle workshop recap

January 19th, 2010 · 9 Comments · Cooking classes, dessert

Sorry guys, it’s been a long (but fun) weekend so my recaps have been a bit late. I hope you at least enjoyed my little condo tour! I also wanted to thank you for the kitchenless meal suggestions. They will all come in handy as I plan my meals for the upcoming weeks :)

Tonight I finally had a few minutes (or hours, who’s counting 😆 ) to share with you my thoughts on the truffle workshop my sister and I attended this past Saturday. We had a good time! I think the mugs of hot chocolate we received at the entrance set the right tone 😉 Cheers…

The hot chocolate was one of the best I’ve had in my life! The “secret” is to use real quality chocolate instead of powder + sugar. This was 3 oz chocolate to 5 oz of milk. Clearly not low calorie, but in my opinion well worth it for as a special treat. :mrgreen:

Upon settling in, Valerie (our guide) told us about her chocolate background and then dug into the history of chocolate and an explanation of how chocolate is made. We covered the whole process from harvesting the cacao trees, picking the cacao pods, scooping out the beans, drying them, roasting them, breaking them into cacao nibs, grinding those then adding sugar (and sometimes milk) to create the creamy chocolate we all know and love (I probably missed a few steps, but you didn’t notice, right?).

We also played/tasted these little samples – (from top, clockwise) – cacao bean, cacao butter, cacao nibs, white chocolate, milk chocolate, dark chocolate.

Valerie mentioned that Hershey’s milk chocolate is about 60% vegetable oil! I do like a Hershey’s bar on occasion, knowing quite well that it’s a disgusting treat, but this really grossed me out. The only fat chocolate should have is cacao butter – no additional oil/fat should be added. Manufacturers like Hershey’s add the oil in order to “spread” the good stuff (i.e. actual cacao) across more product. I guess there is no surprise there… 😕

I found the nearly one hour lecture to be quite educational. For example, I didn’t know where cacao nibs came from. If you break the roasted bean open, it will be full of nibs! That was pretty cool to see. 😀 We also learned that cacao trees are very sensitive and susceptible to disease so chocolate growers have to be extremely delicate during the harvesting process. If one tree gets sick, the entire farm will be affected. Not only is it hard to sustain disease-free cacao trees, it also takes approx. 3 cacao pods (each containing approx. 20 cacao beans) to make 1 oz of chocolate! This is why good quality chocolate (with no fillers!) is quite expensive. I’m happy to support this industry on a daily basis. 😉

Once the lecture portion was done, Valerie finally moved on to showing us how to make truffles!! Inna was more than ready for this part. She was impatiently waiting to get her hands dirty 😉

Valerie showed us how to make chocolate ganache from scratch (so easy, it’s just cream and chocolate!) and then proceeded to make chocolates using candy molds or rolling the ganache into truffles.

And then it was our time to make some truffles! We were looking quite stylish in process, don’t you think?

Oh the excitement! 😆

We started with (pre-made) chocolate ganache – (from left to right) – caramel, raspberry, whiskey.

… which we rolled into balls and decorated as we pleased.

These were our toppings options – cocoa powder, cacao nibs, tiny almond pieces

Molded chocolates Valerie previously made for show. So pretty!

Tempered chocolate for dipping. Man, having one of these machines at home would be real trouble 😳

Dipping time!

A little decoration with white chocolate…

A little messy but so fun!!

Here are my truffles. I rolled the whiskey ones in cocoa powder, the caramel ones I dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and decorated them with a little white chocolate drizzle and the raspberry ganache I left just plain dipped.

That’s quite the loot!

Proud chocolate mama 😆

Valerie and I:

The workshop was really fun! I wish it was a little longer because I really did enjoy the educational portion but then felt like we were a bit rushed at the end. Sharing one tempered chocolate machine with not enough dipping forks/spoons also was a bit stressful but we all went home with lots of yummy truffles so it was all good. :) The class is young and I think they need to figure out some logistics but overall I’d definitely recommend it. Next time I want a full hands-on experience. Anyone wanna join me? 😀

Have you ever made molded chocolates or truffles?

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