It's been an incredibly busy few months with very little free time, but Sam and I decided to treat ourselves to a rare day off- we went on Jacqueline Keenan of La Fleur de Chocolat's chocolate making course!
We know Jacqui from a few of our regular markets and I don't think I've ever managed to resist not going home with (most likely an empty) box or bag of scrumptious treats made by her.
To say I was in my element during the day would be a huge understatement. I LOVE chocolate.
Jacqui welcomed us all with proper hot chocolate (the best I've ever had) and delicious nibbles. She taught us all about how chocolate is made and then had us taste a variety of different chocolates. This was fascinating and it's amazing how many different flavours you can taste in the real deal when you have an expert guiding you. I've never been wine tasting but I imagine it's a similar experience.
What shocked us the most was how unpleasant the supermarket brand chocolate tasted to us all after trying so many fine chocolates. I didn't think I liked dark chocolate before but Jacqui was absolutely right that we just hadn't tasted the right sort!
During the rest of the afternoon, we made our own fruit ganache to fill a tray of decorated chocolates, as well as three chocolate lollipops. My favourite part was the decorating and I'd love to have another go at it! I tried creating all sorts of detailed designs but I think the simpler, more abstract ones actually looked the most effective.
|Painting chocolate designs|
My filling of choice was raspberry and framboise, while Sam opted for mango and passionfruit so between us we had a good selection.
|You have to bash the tray with a rolling pin to line each chocolate mould|
I knew chocolate making involved a great deal of artistic skill but hadn't realised what a scientific process it is too, and how exact temperatures need to be reached and cooled to in order to temper your chocolate properly and give it a wonderful shine.
I absolutely loved how messy it was as well- such fun!
We had a wonderful day with Jacqui- she couldn't have been more welcoming and it was a real pleasure to learn more about the greatest thing on earth from a passionate expert. We were also allowed to taste everything throughout the day (which of course we did) so I was on a sugar high for the majority of the afternoon. I can't recommend the experience highly enough, so if you're looking for the perfect gift for the chocoholic in your life, head on over to her website!
|My Christmas themed chocolates|
|Our lollipops all set to go!|