18 Nov 2016

Chocolate Workshop at Cocoa Amore



Another day and another blog post to express my love for chocolate. If you didn't know... I do love chocolate and practically every recipe post on my blog has some form of chocolate in it. However, todays post is not a recipe (but obviously is still chocolate related!).

On Wednesday, Zainab (BFF/ blogger/ baking extraordinaire - read her blog here) and I went for a chocolate making workshop as a treat for her birthday. After hearing so many good things about Cocoa Amore Chocolatier, Leicester, I knew it was finally time to bite the bullet and book it. 

When we arrived, we were greeted by the owner of the chocolatier, Pete Gardner, who also informed us that he will be hosting the session. We were the only ones in the workshop, which was quite a treat because we had his full attention and he got to answer all the weird questions that myself and Zainab had.

The workshop started with a history lesson about the origin of cocoa. He showed us the pods where cocoa is grown and where he gets his chocolate from. There is something called the 'Cocoa Belt' and we had a tasting session from different countries where cocoa is grown. We had our favourites and our un-favourites and also got to try 100% cocoa (this had the texture of powder and tasted really bitter).


It was all very interesting learning about chocolate and how it is made. Also, Pete kept assuring us that chocolate with more cocoa solids is technically healthy. Pure cocoa has benefits that scientists have proven prevent Alzheimers and Cancer.

We found out about a historical Mayan nation that had a cocoa god - it was hilarious but fascinating because several thousands of years ago, cocoa was considered a luxury and only available for the elite. Cocoa beans were also used as currency at one point and 300 cocoa beans could apparently buy you a Turkey!

I was confused about the difference between cocoa and cacao. Pete said that when Cadbury's began advertising their chocolate in the UK they spelt 'cacao' wrong and ever since then it's been called cocoa instead. Who would have ever thought!


There were so many other intriguing and amusing stories and tales about the history of chocolate. Why did we never study this in school?

We also learnt about all the different experiences and awards Cocoa Amore had been nominated for and won! I had no idea but they are really getting popular. It is nice seeing a small independent business doing so well.

Anyways, on to the actual chocolate making. We were first asked to pick our moulds. After spending a good couple of minutes contemplating which ones to pick, Pete bought some tempered milk chocolate over. He should us how to pour it into the moulds and scrape off the excess - this got really messy! Once the chocolate set in moulds, we tipped the centred chocolate out so we have made a chocolate shell. Those were put in the freezer to cool whilst we began to make truffles.





I was looking forward to truffles because I love truffles! I love the rich taste and gooey texture - mmm. So, Pete showed us how to roll balls of chocolate ganache, which was then rolled in melted chocolate and then coated in cocoa powder. Next, we got to try! It was quite easy but it was hard to get a smooth, round and perfect finish. We got there in the end and we had some delicious chocolate truffles which we got to package up in a little bag.


The chocolate shells had now cooled and were ready to be filled. We were given some pre made melted chocolate and we decided what flavourings to put in. We were given so much choice. There were so many different flavoured essences. They had a few herbs like thyme and basil, some spices like cinnamon and then some random flavours like smoked bacon and wasabi. I wanted to go fairly simple so I picked chestnut, cinnamon and a little bit of ginger. It tasted surprisingly nice, perhaps borderline medicinal (oops!).




After we'd made the filling... we filled our chocolate cases! This got really messy because the chocolate was really runny. After we ruined the entire counter top, Pete said he would put them away to cool so we could enjoy a hot chocolate downstairs.




We made our way down and admired all the delicate chocolates and picked a flavoured hot chocolate to drink. We also got to pick a treat to eat (as if we hadn't had enough by that point!). I went for the Indian Masala hot chocolate and a praline cup - SO DELICIOUS!












By the time we had enjoyed our hot chocolates, we headed back to the workshop space to finish decorating and boxing up our chocolates. Pete had already prepared everything for us so we just put a bit of gold and red dust on top. It just took them to the next level and made them look really nice.

After we put them in a box and had our beautiful creations all packaged and looking pretty, it was time to leave. Pete was a really great host and you could definitely see the passion he has for chocolate. Big thanks to Cocoa Amore for such a great afternoon!





At £45 I honestly think it was completely worth it. You get a mini history lesson about cocoa, a chocolate tasting session (YUM), a chance to make truffles and our own chocolate (even more YUM) and a hot chocolate to enjoy at the cafe.

It is definitely a great experience and very indulgent indeed. I feel the need to have a chocolate detox now but we all know that is definitely not happening anytime soon!







Cocoa Amore's website: www.cocoa-amore.co.uk
SHARE:

8 comments

  1. Oh my gosh this post made my mouth WATER! Would love to do something like this - I think I'd end up eating everything though. Your blog is so pretty :) Lauren - www.theyoproedit.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It makes a really great gift, could pop it on your xmas wish list! I have already gone through most of the chocolates, haha!! Thank you for stopping by :)

      Delete
  2. This looks like a wonderful experience. I want to try it! :]


    // ▲ itsCarmen.com ▲

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You definitely should if you get a chance :)

      Delete
  3. Oh wow, there's a choco workshop not too far from my home. Your experience looks amazing and so fun! I might just try that workshop here. I'm craving chocolate so much now.

    http://orcmilk.org/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely a great experience and tasty too!

      Delete
  4. Serious chocolate cravings right now!! Lovely photos :)

    Amy | http://www.snippetsofamy.co.uk

    ReplyDelete

Blogger Template Created by pipdig