On Saturday morning, Isabella made the short stroll over to Knightsbridge to sample the pleasures and pressures of London shopping at Harrods. Meanwhile, I took Julia to school, the kind of school sure to entice a six-year-old girl: a chocolate-making lesson at a swish shop called Rococo, back over on Motcomb. It was part of the Halkin’s weekend family package.
Our instructor, Alice, demonstrated the technique for tempering chocolate, the process that gives it the shiny, brittle texture of high-quality bars. She fussed for several minutes with a bowl of the liquid brown gold in order to get the temperature into the sweet zone – somewhere between 50 and 57 Celsius, no more and no less, before spreading it around for a while on a cool marble surface. Somehow, it makes it tempered.
All very interesting for me, but the little girl was much more enamoured of the part where we got to pour it into moulds and decorate our bars with a variety of nuts, sprinkles and even a touch of sea salt. As our creations cooled, Alice took us into the hid-den courtyard at the back of the shop for tea and a tasting of various exotic chocolate creations.
Julia took a bite out of each one, and then thoughtfully wrapped up the half-eaten treats to bring to her mother.