First, apologies to my nine year old daughter. She has been keen to go chocolate making at the Chocolate Tart chocolate workshop in Congresbury, near Bristol, for quite some time but hasn’t quite hit the magic requirement of being 10 years old. So she was rather green with envy when a lovely friend took me to an afternoon chocolate workshop where we would learn the art of chocolate making.
Chef and chocolatier Lisa Clark runs The Chocolate Tart from her home in Congresbury. It’s not quite Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but it’s the closest most people are going to get. Lisa and her daughter, both hugely patient and charming, helped us to produce three delicious chocolatey makes.
Firstly we used moulds to make a 3 dimensional chocolate heart, hen, cat, dog or Easter egg. Returning to our childhoods we finger painted the moulds with coloured dyes before filling them with chocolate. Lisa explained what the mix of her special blend of chocolate is and why expensive chocolate tastes so much better than the cheap stuff. She gave us a little bit of chocolate science as she explained how to temper chocolate, aided by a hairdryer!
Whilst our moulds were setting Lisa taught us to hand roll chocolate truffles, an opportunity to get very messy with chocolate. She also told us how to make dairy free options. Then she showed us how to make knackerlis, like giant chocolate buttons, garnished with our choice of fantastic toppings from dried strawberries to fudge to popping candy.
After the session Lisa emailed instructions on how to temper chocolate and we managed to successfully make knackerlis with the children, so my 9 year olds didn’t entirely miss out!
Educational, absorbing and totally delicious, this was a very unusual way to spend an afternoon and one I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes chocolate (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t!).
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