“Anything is good if it’s made of chocolate.”
– Jo Brand
Imagine a day spent immersed in chocolate, creating with chocolate and surrounded by chocolate. No, it’s not chocolate heaven. It’s a chocolate class with the very talented Maria Graf of The Art of Chocolate in Townsville, Australia. My daughter and I spent a wonderful day with Maria recently learning the art of chocolate.
We walk into Maria’s beautiful kitchen which is filled with the smell chocolate and three large bowls of liquid chocolate kept us intoxicated with this aroma all day.
Maria is so welcoming and generous and we immediately feel at home and sit down on stools at the spacious work bench. This class seems like a natural extension of our chocolate exploration after visiting the cocoa farm last year in Mission Beach. After a little explanation of cocoa beans and chocolate we jump right into making truffle. Maria has lots of nuts, spices, liqueurs, flavourings and oils and encourages us with different flavours and combinations. We settle on coffee truffles and hazelnut and cinnamon truffles.
While our chocolate truffles chill, we move on to choosing and filling chocolate truffle shells. So many choices to make! Fillings for our chocolate shells chosen – rosewater for my daughter, me with salted caramel – we set about preparing the filling and carefully piping it into the shells. Can you see how much we are concentrating!
With chocolates shells filled and sealed, Maria and my daughter pause for a moment allowing me to snap a pic. Spending time with Maria, who is a Master Pastry Chef and artisan Chocolatier and listening to her story of how she learnt her craft, is a pleasure. She has the highest standards of quality but is so humble and generous in sharing her knowledge with others.
Very soon we were learning to temper chocolate using the seeding method and all the mystique of chocolate was revealed.
Maria shared lots of tips on decorating cakes and desserts with chocolate. As she kept saying, there are so many choices with chocolate!
Soon we were making chocolate boxes and decorating everything that would stand still!
Dipping and decorating with chocolate and of course, testing if our truffles tasted ok! I’ll let you in on a secret – they tasted amazing!
More decorating and it requires a steady hand.
Is chocolate a good hand moisturiser? Coating the truffles in chocolate is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.
Chocolate boxes filled. Truffles packed and our day was done. If you have a chance to attend a hands-on cooking class, I totally recommend it. There is nothing that is quite like being in the kitchen alongside a qualified baker, cook or chocolatier. Best of all, you’re guaranteed to have heaps of fun!