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STAFF REVIEW: CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP

On a brisk Thursday afternoon, Willow and I headed off to Brighton station. We were very excited as today was the day we were taking part in a Chocolate Making Workshop in London! The trains were on our side that day, and we were lucky enough to have no delays and arrive at My Chocolate with plenty of time to spare.

As we walked towards our Google maps location we saw a pink and brown ‘My Chocolate’ sign! We pushed open the big white door with the same excitement as if we were walking into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Straight away our eyes were drawn down a staircase where the workshop was going to take place, with a beautiful view of the canal which the experience looked onto. We were pulled out of the trance when we were welcomed by the chefs of the evening, Oden and Georgia. 


Two large tables were delicately laid out with three marshmallows on everyone’s place setting. Pretty pink flowers and cutlery decorated the middle of the table, along with pristine white serviettes (…which I knew wouldn’t stay that colour for long.) We all put our aprons on and sat down ready for two hours of chocolate heaven. Oden introduced himself to the class, and was very humorous whilst informing us of the Dos and Don’ts. One ‘Don’t’ was not to lick the cutlery, as the whole table will be using them.This proved to be very difficult, and a true test of will power.


The first task we were given was to make ganache, which was going to form the inside of the gorgeous truffles. Made from a combination of chocolate and double cream, the gooey mixture went straight into a piping bag. Using a spinning technique to let gravity do its thing, the ganache soon went to the bottom of the bag ready for piping! Willow and I took turns creating little ganache shapes, and this proved very satisfying. 


Whilst our ganache fillings were hardening, Oden talked about the history of chocolate. He showed us a cocoa bean which was surprisingly huge, and explained that this massive bean only made three chocolate bars! One of the many interesting facts I learnt from this experience is that chocolate has been around for one hundred years, and used to be pure chocolate goodness. Nowadays, companies remove the cocoa butter and sell it on for profit. This is then used in skincare such as moisturiser and body lotion. Oils and fats are put into the chocolate instead of its original cocoa butter, but sadly, us consumers know no different. To demonstrate the difference, we were all given pieces that had not had anything removed, as well as pieces from bars that are sold in shops today. After listening to the sound the pieces made when breaking them in half, and tasting the chocolate, we took a blind vote to find out which chocolate we believed to be of better quality and taste. There were some interesting results!


After this, it was onto chocolate button making! Oden demonstrated a few ways to decorate the buttons, with the most impressive method being the marble effect. We had the choice of a dark or milk chocolate button, and on this occasion, I went for milk. I poured three spoonfuls of chocolate onto my baking parchment, and used the back of my spoon to create a thick circle. Then it was my turn to attempt the marble effect that Oden made look so effortless. I chose dark chocolate to contrast my milk button, and used the spine of my spoon to drizzle it across. Next, I used a pointy piece of cutlery to go through the chocolate, merging the colours and creating an amazing hypnotic effect. On the tables were a selection of toppings, including honeycomb, coconut, strawberry curls, and white chocolate shavings. After this, it was back to the ganache and transforming them into delightful truffles. If this wasn’t enough, we were also given fudge, which we could cut into shapes and dip in chocolate. 


At the end of the experience we were all provided with see-through bags, boxes and ribbon so we could take our treats home with us! This was a lovely touch to the workshop - and the ribbon was very beneficial for my family, who got to sample the chocolate without me eating it first, as I wanted them to see the pretty packaging!


Overall, this experience was great fun. The variety of people in the room demonstrated the fact that this workshop really is for everyone – from families to hen parties! This experience is absolutely one I would recommend and take part in again. Thank you to My Chocolate for allowing Willow and I to participate in your Chocolate Making Workshop. We had a great time!



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