As a recent graduate and impoverished writer, my depleted bank balance and my love of food aren’t always easy to combine. I improvise equipment, use cheaper alternatives, and embrace the virtues of supermarket reduced sections. I can’t afford the best balsamic or the finest quality tomatoes. Heck, I’ve even used Lambrini in a risotto when things got really dire (if I ever make it in to the food industry in any kind of professional capacity, that one stays between me and you, okay?)
However, there is one thing that I can say for my financially dubious self: I know a bargain when I see one. So when I spotted an online voucher for The Cocoa Box chocolate making class, I snapped it up like nobody’s business – and I’m very glad I did.
The class was held in an event room at a reasonably swanky Marble Arch hotel, whilst smelt like heaven as soon as we entered thanks to the melting bowls of goodness simmering away on the sideboard. Our friendly instructor (whose name, sadly, escapes me) gave us some fun facts about the creation and quality of various chocolates, and then taught us how to taste it properly (obviously, my favourite part). This was a nice touch and I genuinely learnt a lot – not bad for £20!
I’ve made truffles before, so I knew the basic formula, but the class leaders were still helpful and instructive throughout the process, telling us how to get the most from our piping and form the balls without melting them! Once the truffles were done and rolled in icing sugar, cocoa, or much to the delight of my inner 5 year old, sprinkles, we were given cellophane bags and pretty purple ribbons to seal the deal. As a very Martha Stewart decoration and presenation obsessive, this pleased me no end.
The basis of truffles is fairly simple – two parts good melted chocolate, one part double cream, and whatever flavour you want to chuck in (if you’re making a bag for me, peppermint essential oil is the way to go. Just FYI). I can’t tell you what brand of chocolate we used in the class, as they import it from a wholesaler in Belgium, but if you really want a recommendation, my personal favourites are Green and Blacks and Lindt.
There were a few moments which tested our already debatable maturity levels:
But otherwise, The Cocoa Box chocolate making class was a fun, educational and most importantly delicious foray into the world of tempering and truffling. If you get the chance, go along and try it for yourself!