Last week I had one of the best mid-week nights ever! The evening was spent with a fabulous friend, surrounded by chocolate...it really doesn't get much better than that on a Tuesday. So, what did I do you ask? I went to Cocoa Nymph's Chocolate Workshop.
The night started off with a pleasant surprise...a mouth watering truffle made by Cocoa Nymph's nymphs. Talk about a good way to create a happy audience right off the bat.
Next up was a brief lesson on the history of chocolate, how it is made, and how Cocoa Nymph came to be. Personally I liked the show and tell factor. The items above are (starting at the top left and going clockwise): cocoa nibs, cocoa beans (the nibs are in the beans), a pod with cocoa beans in it, untempered chocolate and a cocoa pod.
Interesting facts learned during the presentation:
- The cocoa pod above was grown in Vancouver...in the Stanley Park aquarium! How cool is that?
- Cocoa pods are normally 3-4 times that size.
- Cocoa Nymph was started by a lady who only had $80 to make it through the winter one year in university. She invested the $80 in a good bag of chocolate and made a batch of truffles. She ended up making 3000 chocolates that winter to support herself and decided that maybe truffles were the way to go rather than micro-biology.
- When Cocoa Nymph offered their chocolate workshop on groupon, they sold over 1200 groupons in 24 hours. As a result, they made their largest chocolate purchase ever: 2000 pounds!!! I wish I could have seen that.
Next, we moved into the magic room of chocolate, put on our stylish hair nets, washed our hands and got down to the business of chocolate tasting. The tasting consisted of 6 different varieties: cocoa butter (tasted waxy), 4 different single origin chocolates of different dark percentages, followed by cocoa nibs. Interesting fact: chocolates from different regions have different flavours, just like wine. The best way to taste the flavours of chocolate is to break it, smell it and then place a piece on your tongue and let it melt before chewing.
The big slab of chocolate was chocolate ganache and leads me to the best part of the night...learning how to make truffles!!!
The dark chocolate tempered just right and ready to enrobe our fabulous truffles.
My ganache cut into my truffle shapes. We literally used mini-cutters like you would for cookies. It was very neat...
...albeit a bit messy! And, yes, I did lick my hands.
The toppings to decorate our truffles. Left to right: transfers and texturizers, cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and strawberry flakes.
My favourite part was enrobing the chocolate ganache. You literally dropped your chocolate ganache shape into a vat of chocolate like it was doing a belly-flop into a pool, then you covered it with chocolate, tapped it against the top of the chocolate vat to get the excess chocolate off, and took it out to harden. I have no idea why, but dropping the chocolates in never ceased to entertain me.
Enrobing my chocolates!
My chocolates decorated and ready for the fridge.
Out of the fridge and ready for boxing! It took every ounce of will-power not to eat them at this point.
My fabulous chocolate-making partner in crime's creations boxed up and ready to take home. Note the lack of blobs surrounding the truffles...much more professional looking than mine.
However...the blobs led to more chocolate to be eaten...mwah ha ha ha! My truffles boxed up and ready to be taken home.
Cocoa Nymph's creations and list of yummy treats...including drinking chocolate!
I thoroughly enjoyed this evening, as did my chocolate-making partner in crime and will definitely use my newly learned techniques for future gift giving. I would highly recommend this evening for a fun night out. (Cost: $70 plus tax/per person regular price. Or, if you're lucky like me and see it on Groupon, you can get it for $35 plus tax. So keep those eyes peeled!)
However, if you're more interested in eating chocolate than making it, you should still make a trip to Cocoa Nymph. Their truffle creations are scrumptious!