As a nipper, my favourite film was, without doubt, Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. In fact, who am I kidding - it's still very much in my top five today. So when the chance to attend a day testing and making luxury chocolates made its way to me, I felt just like Charlie with his prized Golden Ticket.
In our workshop of 14, our friendly tutor Malka Afzal started by giving us a brief history of chocolate. Surprisingly more interesting than it sounds. Did you know the sweeter the chocolate the cheaper it generally is. Why? As one of its main ingredients - cocoa butter - has been removed and replaced with something less luxurious.
Next, onto the fun part.... a chance to taste chocolate in its raw form...and a nibble on some Green and Black's goodies.
Moving on, we had fun creating our very own giant Green and Black's choccie buttons - which we later wrapped in cellophane and fancy ribbons to take home.
|Malka doing her stuff|
|Piping the truffles|
The best bit? Making truffles from scratch? Not as difficult as you may think, by the way.
Simply melt down your chocolate of choice (we used dark, or plain), use two parts chocolate to one part cream. We tried eight tablespoons of melted chocolate and four of cold double cream, making around 15 truffles.
Simply mix the chocolate and cream together. You may find the mixture is too runny after you do this; after we had a go at home a few days after the workshop our mixture wasn't thickening up as we'd like. If yours is the same, pop it in the fridge for a bit and use when it's a little more like a paste.
Next, working quickly, add it to a piping bag and pipe out blobs of the mixture onto some baking parchment.
Leave a while and roll in cocoa powder, until they look something like this...
|Cocoa-covered truffles, ready for melted chocolate|
Next, dip them in melted chocolate of your choice (white, dark or milk)...
|Onto the messy part....|
And get messy with some sprinkles. We used white chocolate curls, desiccated coconut and red, white and blue hundreds and thousands.
|I was like a kid in a, er...sweet shop when it came to dusting the truffles with sprinkles|
Don't they look delicious? If I do say so myself...
|Not a bad effort for my first attempt, yes?|
And here's my giant chocolate button. Here, I had a go at the 'marbling' effect, which saw me drizzle on some chocolate and use a special fork to make the swirly patterns. I then spoiled all that by covering it in coconut.
|Yes, my chocolate button didn't win any prizes...|
|How about the lovely lady's sitting next to me though? Hers looked amazing!|
|And here's my finished button.|
We were also handed some fun transfer sheets, which printed cute patterns onto some smaller chocolate buttons we made.
|Having a go with chocolate transfers|
Looking for a fun Mother's Day gift? I can definitely recommend this chocolate-making afternoon. For £35, you'll be treated to a two-hour workshop, a chance to get messy with chocolate (oo-er) and a bag full of treats to take home at the end.
If you fancy treating your Mum next Sunday (March 9), whip her up a batch - it takes less than an hour from start to finish. Enjoy!