Want to make something special this Easter? Why not make your own chocolate?
It’s Easter, which means – among many other things – chocolate of course!
The shops are over-run with chocolate eggs of all shapes and sizes, but if you really want to give someone something special, why not give them their very own personalised chocolate made with your own fair hands?
We decided to test out a chocolate making workshop. Here’s how our Editor Clare Swatman got on…
I love a bit of chocolate – dark, milk, white, it doesn’t really matter. My kids are even worse; I can get them to do most things with the lure of a Lindor ball.
So when I told them I was going to try out a chocolate-making workshop, there were cries of ‘that‘s not fair!’ and ‘can we come?’
Well, the answer was no – because this was work!
Kirsty Stickland runs The Choccie Drop, which holds workshops for adults as well as kids parties. As it was January and there wasn’t much call for chocolate workshops so soon after Christmas, I went along to a children’s party to see what they got up to.
When I arrived Kirsty was tempering the milk chocolate. She explained: ‘This means heating it up to 45C and then cooling it under controlled conditions to between 30C and 31C. This helps to avoid the white bloom you sometimes get on chocolate, and it snaps better.’
Once the chocolate was at the right temperature it was set in the middle of the table and we got to work. First, we made lollies by piping a circle of chocolate on to an edible transfer, and then decorating with chocolate balls, chocolate flakes, honeycomb and sprinkles. We made four each – I’m amazed how creative some of the girls were. I’m not sure mine were quite as exciting, but I knew my kids would be impressed.
Next we made chocolate-covered honeycomb, fudge and marshmallow chunks, which involved dipping the chunks into the chocolate and carefully removing them with a special fork. It was pretty messy and mine didn’t look particularly professional, but they tasted delicious.
While these all set, Kirsty told everyone the ‘bean to bar’ story, about how the cocoa bean became this gorgeous sweet treat that everyone loves. It’s a great addition to the workshop.
Then it was time for me to head home with my handmade chocolates. I was actually quite impressed with how nice the lollies looked – the transfer on the back was great!
The workshops for adults are similar, except you get to make slightly more complicated treats, such as salted caramel truffles, and at Easter Kirsty helps you make your own Easter eggs. The best bit is that everything you make you take home with you in lovely gift wrapping.
If you fancy something different this Easter, I’d recommend this. It’s great fun, gives you a real sense of achievement, and you learn a new skill.
Kirsty runs regular workshops, and you can also book private group sessions. For more information go to www.thechocciedrop.co.uk.