Friday, 17 August 2012

Head to toe in chocolate.. Thank goodness for hair nets!

If I had to make a list of of the Top 10 days of my life, today would only be beaten by the day I scored my first basket for GB and the day I met Dan. And its him who I have to thank for this day happening.

It's my birthday next week but I was lucky enough to get one of my presents early as Dan had booked me on a course at Slattery's, which is a very upmarket chocolatiers in Bury. The course was a Chocolate Wedding & Celebration Cake course and it's something I've always wanted to learn more about, especially since becoming addicted to shows such as Choccywoccydoodah! I've always known about Slattery's but I didn't know they did courses until just recently and within a week of me finding this out, Dan had booked me a place knowing how happy it would make me!

We started at nine this morning with some background into chocolate and where it comes from, how it's made and all about the cocoa percentage and things like that, its all a lot more complicated that you might first imagine. Then at about half 10 we moved into the kitchen and started the really good stuff! First of all Julie, our course tutor, demonstrated the techniques we were going to be learning. She made it look so easy! I thought I would be quite a dab hand at arty things like this but it certainly was not as easy as she made it seem! We started relatively easy making some chocolate spheres using a mould, which sounds really easy but the lead up to it was the difficult part, the melting - sorry, tempering - of the chocolate is more complicated than just banging it in the microwave or suspending it over a pan of boiling water (which is apparently the worst way to do it).

We picked a colour theme, a transfer for something that would be made later on, and then some liquid coloured cocoa butter. We used this and our choice of white, milk or dark chocolate to fill the spherical moulds. When I say she made it look easy I mean she had chocolate only in the moulds and in the bowl, some around the work surface but that's inevitable. When I did it, yeah I had chocolate in the moulds, the bowl, lots of the work surface, but also all over both hands, all over my scraper, all the way up to my elbows....! It was everywhere! I must have washed my hands four times just in that one technique! We then went on to make cigarillos, spirals and the basis of our dominoes which we would finish after lunch. We also had to make the ganache to coat our cake, where I had a bit of a drama having to have a new one made for me as they were coated in marzipan, and with Dan's nut allergy I couldn't use it! So they made me a new one and coated it with chocolate paste instead.

After lunch - which was divine! - we went back into the kitchen and brought all the things we'd done this morning together to decorate our cake. I layered the dominoes, overlapping around the edge, sprinkled little pink curls around the base and then we learnt how to make ruffles, or fans to fill out the top. A few finishing touches, putting the two halves of the spheres together to make a whole and dotting them around the ruffles, a few spirals here and there and a sprinkling of glitter and my cake was done! We were running short of time towards the end, I think I could have done better with the ruffles if I'd had time, but I'm very pleased and rather proud of my self for what I made!

What do you think?

I can't wait to experiment more! I just need to invest in a few bits of equipment and find some money in order to do that(!) and then if I put in a bit of practice, I think I could have quite a successful business in a few years!

Obviously I'll have to invest in some of these very fetching hair nets too though.... :D

I really don't know how I can begin to thank Dan enough for this present. I might be sounding a little over the top but it really was just the perfect gift and an experience I will never forget. He's found his way into two of the top three 'best days ever' spots, I wonder if he'll be able to steal that other spot away one day!

Thank you baby, I love you so much.


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