Lessons in Chocolate Making

Posted on May 3, 2011

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Recently, I took my mum and my mum-in-law to be for an introductory course in chocolate making at Somersby Chocolates in Nottingham.

This was quite a different type of cookery lesson than I’ve had before, where I ordinarily learn quite complicated dishes. On this occasion, the owner and teacher Hughie O’Hare, shared his tips of the trade for using simple techniques and easy to obtain ingredients to make quirky little chocolate treats!

On arrival, we were taken upstairs to the school, where laid before each of the attendees was a sheet of greaseproof paper on a plastic chopping board, a huge selection of pastry cutters and jugs of melted milk, white and dark chocolate. Hughie is very unsnobby about the melting process as long as the chocolate is good quality and is all for the use of the microwave! His only advice is to heat for 30 seconds stir and repeat until it is sufficiently melted, thus preventing burning. White chocolate is the real watch out here….

With our jugs of chocolate heaven in our hands, we poured gently into our chosen moulds, at times combining chocolate and using skewers to create intricate patterns. Nuts, sweets and shaved chocolate were added to result in child-like chocolate delights. The focus here is really about fun and simplicity – chocolate snobs would definitely not be happy!

Once our solid creations were taken to the fridge to cool, we commenced with the slightly more elegant individual chocolates. Hughie had premade the shells by pouring chocolate into silicone ice-cube trays, pouring off the excess, chilling and repeating. These were then popped out and given to us to fill and do our worst!

This time, we had the addition of the spice cupboard to play with and added ginger, cardamom, lavender, black pepper and chilli with abandon and not total success! By the end of the mixing, there were stacks of glasses littering the tables from our attempted gourmet chocolate making!

My variations were dark chocolate and sea-salt, white chocolate and cardamon and milk chocolate and ginger.

These were then packaged up with our earlier solid chocolates and given to us take home! Our morning of chocolate fun and a daunting amount of edible take-aways was a bargainous £45 each.

So, if you’re based in the Midlands and fancy a fun day out, I can wholly recommend Hughie’s lessons in chocolate!

Helen x

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