So many things are better when you make them yourself. Especially when the final product not only looks impressive but tastes excellent too. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to make truffles at the Boston Chocolate School‘s Chocolate Workshop. On Saturday afternoon, Megan and I headed downtown after first checking out the bake sale in Harvard Square to benefit relief efforts in Japan. The Chocolate Workshop is held in an event space at Elephant & Castle near Downtown Crossing.
The workshop is taught by Valerie, owner of Boston-based Vianne Chocolat. I had the opportunity to taste Valerie’s chocolates a few months ago. I was excited to learn from her as I thoroughly enjoyed her chocolates. The class began with some background about cacao pods and a tasting of white milk and dark chocolates. We also got to inspect a piece of pure cocoa butter and taste a raw cacao bean.
We also got to enjoy mugs of wonderfully rich hot chocolate while we listened.
Valerie then proceeded to demonstrate the two types of chocolates we would be making: a chai-ganache filled chocolate and dipped truffles. Valerie was patient and informative in her instruction. She ensured that everyone knew what they were doing. After the demonstration, we each got a tray with our materials and set to work on our own chocolates. I started with the filled chocolates. There were two tempering machines at the front of the room, one with milk chocolate and one with dark chocolate. To make the filled chocolates, you fill a foil cup to the top with your choice of melted chocolate. You then invert it so that you are left with a coating of chocolate along the walls of the cup. After letting this coating dry completely, we piped a little bit of the chai ganache in the cup, and then finished it with a top coating of chocolate, sealing in the ganache.
Next up we set to work on the truffles, which would be a ton of fun for anyone who likes playing with their food. We started by taking our three blocks of ganache–chocolate, caramel, and raspberry– and rolling them into balls that would then get dipped into melted chocolate.
Once the ganache was all broken up into neat spheres, we took our trays to the tempering machines to dip them in chocolate. We used a dipping tool, not unlike the tool you use to dip Easter eggs, to completely submerge the ganache in melted chocolate.
After dipping them, you had the choice of rolling the truffles in various coatings: chopped walnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, and coconut.
And of course, fancy chocolates are nothing without a pretty box to house them. After we completed our chocolates, there were all the materials to package them up neatly so they could be transported home.
Add some ribbon and you have the perfect gift for a friend or loved one. Or yourself. Making chocolates is hard work after all, so you earned it.
The Boston Chocolate School’s chocolate workshop is offered every Saturday. Depending on how long you spend making your chocolates, the workshop can last up to two and a half hours. Megan and I enjoyed this class compliments of the Boston Chocolate School. You can check out the full schedule of tours and workshops here.