I am an unashamed chocoholic, so the idea of spending the day being instructed in its preparation by the lovely French chef Laurent Couchaux was very appealing. Four of us gathered in the kitchen of Rococo, the famous London chocolatier. The morning started with learning howto make perfectly tempered chocolate. We tasted different cocoa beans and were taught how-the flavours and textures work together to create different products.
Then came the science bit where we melted our choice of chocolate and got to work, with our thermometers. The tempering of chocolate, where the correct texture for moulding is achieved by heating the chocolate and then spreading it with palette knives, could potentially be stressful, but under Laurent’s capable eye we all managed to get our chocolate to perform. The end result was beautiful bars, fine wafers and moulded flsh. Great fun if you like to understand the science of food, and the results make brilliant gifts.
The truffle-making class in the afternoon involved less precision and felt slightly more hands-on. Making the ganache, or chocolate filling, entailed lots of whipping in bowls, and piping and rolling of chocolate into balls, which were then plopped into melted chocolate and coated in cocoa powder.
At the end we each had a beautiful Rococo box of perfect-looking trufiles, a delicious sauce for ice cream, and a rub of ganacbe, which I used later to make more truftles. Both sessions are nicely rounded off with tea and chocolate tastings and if you do both courses in one day Rococo will lay on a lunch for you. Tempering, £100, and truffie-making, £100; Rococo, London SWL (020.7245. 0993; http://rococochocolates.com/chocolate-school]
via Katie Webb Sunday Telegraph Stella Magazine