I’ve lived in Boston for over 10 years and I’ve done my fair share of exploring around the city. Price and I spent a Saturday years and years ago being hometown tourists walking the Freedom Trail. I’ve been to a lot of festivals, I’ve shopped the markets, taken a duck boat ride, but I haven’t done any food tours. I’m missing out!!!
I recently heard of Boston Chocolate Tours and how they host tours taking people all around Boston’s Back Bay or South End to sample different chocolate delicacies. That sounds awesome but it’s the dead of winter now so that sounded delightfully horrible… brrr cold!… so next best option is their chocolate making class. Yes, please!!
Held one Saturday a month in a private function room of the Elephant and Castle, you take a 2 – 2 1/2 hour class where you learn about where chocolate is grown, how it’s made, enjoy hot chocolate (different than hot cocoa!), and you get to make your own truffles too!!
While I say you learn so much, it’s not boring, like being back in school, since the teacher keeps it fun, light, and not too technical. No slides or power points to fall asleep to, but you won’t leave scratching your head either.
Like, cocoa nib are just raw dried cocoa beans that have been broken up. We got to ‘make’ cocoa nibs and test out cocoa butter, which really is a wonderful moisturizer.
The class was taught by Chef Dorian McCarron, who has over 15 years experience as a pastry chef. As well, he competed on and won on the 2nd season of Sweet Genius, a Food Network competition similar to Chopped, but with sweets as the main focus.
His passion for chocolate is a pure as the chocolate we used in class. For example, he explained that REAL chocolate only has 5 ingredients in it – cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, sugar, soy lecithin, and real vanilla- and how a lot of chocolate companies don’t sell real chocolate. This really stuck with me as I have been doing a lot of baking recently and I have noticed that the chips I get from various companies have a different quality to them. If you are looking to use the best stuff then get Ghirardelli, Lindt, Green and Black’s (also organic!), Godiva, and Baker’s. And even Trader Joe’s sells the real stuff! However, Hershey’s and Nestle isn’t the real stuff… sad face. But lesson learned so I’m only getting the good stuff from now on! Thanks Chef McCarron!!
As well, I learned the ins and outs of tempering chooclate, in a pretty simple way.
I always took it for granted, but learning the science behind it has opened my eyes to why it’s so important. It makes me want to get a tempering machine. Just kidding! Those babies are like 3K! Whaa? But not to be discouraged, you can temper chocolate yourself as home with a heat safe bowl set upon pot with some water in it. The water CAN NOT touch the bottom of the bowl! You need a space for the steam to swirl around in between the surface of the water and bottom of the bowl. And a whisk. And your arm. Just start moving that chocolate- yes, even before it’s melted- and don’t stop! You’ll need to add more chocolate in when the chocolate is melted and at the right temperature. Chef McCarron broke it down in an easy to follow way that makes me want to really give it a try. And make more truffles!
Fellow Boston based food blogger Taryn attended the class as well.
She went with her mom, which is such a great idea. I think this class would be great for mothers and daughters to take. As well, it would be great for couples. A fun, sweet date.
There was various options for you to roll your truffles in or on after you dipped them in the tempered chocolate.
I generally just rolled my chocolate and them rolled them in the toppings- toffee, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, toasted coconut, and powdered sugar- as dipping them in the tempered chocolate was quite stressful to me. I was so afraid that it would fall off the dipping fork and them mess up the tempered chocolate, ruining it. I’m just a ball of nerves for no real reason when it comes to stuff like that, as there were a few kids (I’d guess 8 years old?) and they had no problems with this task.
One of the 3 dozen tuffles I made.
This baby is hanging out in some powdered sugar. It’s important to coat the ganache after you rolled the balls out so that they don’t stick to each other. Either you coat them in a topping like the powdered sugar or in tempered chocolate.
See those lovely chocolates, those are Taryn’s. I told you her’s were so pretty. And she packaged them so beautifully too.
If you want to learn about chocolate and make some truffles of your own then I highly suggest attending their class. It was so much fun and it really opened my eyes to buying and working with chocolate. A sweet treat indeed!
I was invited by Boston Chocolate Tours to attend their Chocolate Workshop ($75) for the purposes of this recap and review. All opinions are my own.