Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Such a perfect day

I've been meaning to write this post since Sunday but I have been so busy I haven't stopped. As well as being at work I've made two Christmas presents (but can't show you those yet in case the recipients see them!)

So Saturday was one of the best days I've had for as long as I can remember. For our birthdays my siblings bought Andy and I a chocolate making workshop day at the most wonderful chocolate shop called the chocolate cellar, in Liverpool. The first time I went into this shop was earlier this year. Now, I've been know to be partial to a bit of chocolate, and when I found this shop I couldn't believe my luck! Their hot chocolates are like nothing else. You are given a mug of hot milk with a huge chunk of either milk, white or dark chocolate on a stick to melt into it and it tastes incredible.I haven't tasted many of the chocolates they make there, due to the fact that I "found my favourite" on my first visit, the dark chocolate rose truffle. (just like in the book and film chocolat,when the main character who opens a chocolate shop tries to find peoples favourites)

The shop is beautiful, they make stunning wedding cakes. And as soon as I saw this chocolate wheel I felt like I was at Willy Wonka's.

The Chocolatier, Bala, who was an excellent tutor throughout the day, told us we were going to make hand dipped truffles, and that we could choose a flavour. I chose to make my favourites, Andy chose to make a berry flavour using milk chocolate, and the other people who were there decided to use various liquors.

We started with chocolate buttons, and melted them in the microwave (better than on the hob apparently)

Hot double cream is then added slowly to the chocolate, which is then mixed carefully until it is an almost greasy texture.

Normally it would then be left to become firm overnight, but as we didn't have that amount of time, we added sponge cake to the mixture to help it the set quicker. At this point we added our flavours, mine being rose oil.

We then rolled it into balls and left it to set in the chiller whilst we did some chocolate tasting. There is a real art to chocolate tasting in the same way people taste wine.

Mine made quite nice ball shapes ...

...but Andy's didn't quite take shape, much to the amusement of everyone there. We said they looked like flatbreads rather than chocolates, it was so funny. The reason for this was because he had to use really hot cream which he had put the berries into the get the flavour out of them.

Once they were set, we dipped them by hand into tempered chocolate.

Then decorated them in crystalised sugared rose petals.

I was so pleased with how they turned out, they were just far to big to be chocolates, more like bite size cakes!

After a while in the chiller, Andy's mixture firmed up and we could then roll them into chocolate size and shaped balls and dip them.

And after all that, his turned out the best looks wise.

We did some swaps with the other people on the course and ended up taking home a lot of chocolate.

To end the perfect day, we had a meal in our favourite local pub on the way home.

And sat by the log fire.

What I loved the most about today wasn't the chocolate though, (even though it tasted amazing) it was the making of the chocolate, and most of all, making it with Andy. We have never done an activity like that before and it was so much fun to share that day together.

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