Boutique Choclatier Rococo Hosts Let’s Make Christmas Gift Swap 2012

Who’s up for a chocolate challenge asks Vanessa Kimbell over at Goddess on a Budget. The event is inspired by the new book Mastering the Art of Chocolate by Chantal Coady, chocolate pioneer and alchemist at Rococo Chocolates.

Chantal Coady, Rococo Chocolates

I wonder if I’m brave enough to rise to the challenge of chocolate making, I’ve always thought because I lack the skills I’m happy to leave it to the professionals. Then, hold on, why on earth would I want to turn down a dream afternoon in a chocolate factory learning to make sublime chocolates. And, this isn’t any old chocolate factory it’s Chantal Coadys’ Boutique Chocolatier Rococo. Nothing to loose, yes please!

Walking into the factory the scent of chocolate wraps you, isn’t this how life was meant to be? It might be the chocolate talking but the atmosphere is creative, the space reminds me of the studio at art school, magic happens here. The air is alive with chattering, there’s hot chocolate to sip as we put out the chocolate makes we’ve brought along.

Principal Chocolatier Barry works the chocolate on the marble slab

In the production kitchen Principal Choclatier Barry talks chocolate, he understands it, he can tame it and it does tricks for him. He demonstrates while explaining how to make a perfect silky ganache. Then he tempers chocolate for snap and super thin enrobement. The more he talks about correct temperatures, the more I realise my attempts at creating truffles is woefully scruffy. We sample otherworldly chocolates that he’s demonstrated. A goats cheese ganache, savoury chocolate softness, whispers packed with flavour, lemony, salty, caramelly, a little farmyardy on a thin disc of chocolate and another, with the crunch shell of caramelized nuts breaking to reveal soft whipped truffle.

Goats cheese truffles, so completely different

While Barry has been educating us in the kitchen, next door, a whole lot of judging of our cooking skills has been happening. It’s hard not to feel intimidated by the impressive judges, the Sunday Times cookery journalist Lucas Hollweg with designer and cookery writer Sophie Conran.

Lucas Hollweg and Vanessa Kimbell at Rococo Chocolates

The suspense mounts as we eat darling miniature mince pies with mulled wine. Vanessa talks about her thinking behind Lets make Christmas Gift Swap 2012. Christmas has been about buying rather than giving from the heart and getting creative with gift making can be a real expression of love. Hearts are pounding as she introduces Lucas Hollweg to report on the judging and present the prizes.

But hold on, I can’t tell you about the judging before I’ve even told you which chocolate makes I entered. There’s more to tell, it’ll be here tomorrow.

Bye for now!

Vanessa Kimbell, Let’s Make Christmas 2012

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