A chocolate-coated weekend

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a chocolate and confectionery workshop organized by Kerry Beal, The Chocolate Doctor, at Niagara College in Niagara-on-the-Lake. As you may know from some of my previous posts, I don’t consider myself to be an especially adept chocolatier, so I always relish the opportunity to get some practice working with the product in a setting where I can learn a lot.

And learn a lot I did! This was the third year this workshop/conference has been held, and the second time I attended. (Unfortunately, I missed it last year.) When I went to the inaugural workshop two years ago, I had barely a clue how to work with chocolate, and came away from it with a much better understanding of cocoa butter crystallization and the process for tempering chocolate, along with some practice dipping chocolate bonbons. This year, the focus was a little different, with a greater emphasis on shell-molded chocolates and pâte de fruit, one of my favourite confections.

Between my husband and me, we made a small assortment of different chocolates, in addition to being able to sample the work of the others who were there.

The array of candies we made (clockwise from top left): apricot-ginger pâte de fruit, dark chocolate espresso ganache, lemon caramel in two different molds, and (centre) icewine syrup ganache.

Probably my favourite piece that I produced, though, was this molded chocolate bunny.

I’ve never worked with such a large mold before, but one of the other eGulleters lent it to me and walked me through the process. (Thanks, Donna!) After unmolding it, it went into the freezer to chill, and then I sprayed it with a mix of chocolate and cocoa butter, using an airbrush setup, to produce the “flocked” effect you can see here. I’ve always wanted to try spraying chocolate, and it was every bit as much fun as it sounded.

Now I’ve been bitten by chocolate bug, and have plans to make more bonbons tonight, before I forget everything I learned!

Thanks to Kerry for organizing the conference, and to all the suppliers who gave us the product to work with; you can see a complete list here.

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4 Responses to “A chocolate-coated weekend”

  1. As I scrolled down, and revealed the chocolate bunny, my heart grew two sizes.


  2. Matthew Kayahara May 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Isn’t he adorable? That floppy ear makes him a pain to package, though!

  3. That sounds like an interesting workshop – I’d love to attend something like that.

    That bunny ear flopping is perfect!

  4. Matthew Kayahara May 18, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Thanks, Julie! It was definitely a very interesting workshop. Keep an eye out for next year’s!