Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours

The weekend before Christmas, my Mom and I checked out a chocolate making class put on by Boston Chocolate Tours. I’d taken a similar chocolate making class at the same location before (Elephant and Castle), and another one with Lee Napoli from Chocolee and Bread + Butter, but this was my first experience with Boston Chocolate Tours. Mid-day on that Saturday, we joined a group of other chocolate lovers for an afternoon of chocolate education and truffle making.

Having had a bit of experience in this kind of setting, I found their set-up to be a good one. There were several long tables set facing the front, where the instructor Chef Dorian McCarron had a few tempering machines set-up, and some other props he’d later use. We got there a bit late and ended up sitting pretty far towards the back of the room (right next to fellow Boston-based blogger Nicole!) which I thought might make it tricky to see, but it ended up not being a problem. We were each served a warm mug of decadent hot chocolate upon sitting down, which was delicious and RICH! Their hot chocolate is made simply with melted chocolate and milk… so very, very good.

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

The class started with some chocolate education, which was aided by a series of laminated photos on the tables, old cocoa pods passed around the room, and some cocoa beans we got to play with. We were introduced to cocoa nibs (something I already have a small love affair with — created from the beans set at each of our stations) and cocoa butter, as well as the various other chocolate products that come from processing a cocoa bean. Chef Dorian talked us through how chocolate is made, calling out some of the bigger companies that don’t make “real” chocolate (Hershey’s, Nestle), and praising some larger retailers (Lindt, Ghirardelli) that do. He told us that to be considered “real”, chocolate must include 5 primary ingredients, and those alone: cocoa butter, cocoa liquor, sugar, soy lecithin, and real vanilla. This of course doesn’t include chocolate that is flavored with things like mint or tea leaves, or chocolate that has added textural ingredients, like dried fruit and nuts. I thought this part was particularly interesting, and I probably won’t look at a Hershey’s bar the same way again! We also went through the process of tempering, something I am familiar with, but that still really intimidates me. Chef Dorian had two $3,000 tempering machines set up for us to use — too bad I don’t have an extra $3k hanging around to get one for myself!

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

The talking portion of the class was pretty long, but I found myself being engaged throughout. Chef Dorian told some great stories — which I listened to intently, after learning that he won the 2nd season of Sweet Genius on the Food Network. That really confirmed his authority in my mind! He was high energy and opinionated, and spoke off the cuff, which I think made him a great instructor.

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

When we finally got to the chocolate making portion of the class, each participant was given a sheet pan with three slabs of ganache – raspberry dark chocolate, caramel dark chocolate, and milk chocolate, and each table shared a variety of toppings (toasted coconut, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, toffee, cocoa nibs — Nicole has some great photos of this in her post!). We were also invited up to the front to test out the tempering machines by making chocolate covered truffles. That was my favorite part, but I tried to rein myself in so as not to take over the whole tempering station for an unfairly long time!

After we messily made the truffles, we were given pristine boxes and little candy cups to use to put them together in a more presentable fashion. Since this was right before Christmas, they offered plenty of Christmas ribbon to tie up the boxes, which made for such a lovely, sweet treat to take home!

Making Truffles with Boston Chocolate Tours - Sweetly Serendipity

Overall I really enjoyed this class, and it was a really fun way to spend a cold, windy winter afternoon with my Mom. There was a family with two small kids behind us, and they seemed to have a great time, and one or two couples attending the class together as well. I think this is a great activity to share with someone else – part educational, part hands on fun, part delicious! Thanks again to Boston Chocolate Tours for having my Mom and I.

Disclaimer: This class was offered to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review of my experience. As usual, all opinions expressed here are 100% my own.



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