Friday, June 13, 2008

A delicious education

Savour Chocolate and Patisserie School
Chocolates and pralines- Level 1, 126 Weston Street,
Brunswick East, VIC, 3057
+61 (0)3 9380 9777

Before reading it is strongly recommended you grab some chocolate to have by your side, in case of emergency- should you feel the urge to indulge

I have blogged about this place back in October 2007 during the Savour Open Day. Said something about wanting a career change but that unless there was someone keen to be my patron while completing a chocolatier's course in Paris it would be only a dream. Well part of that dream came true as I was blessed with a wonderful birthday surprise by Magic G. Finally had the chance to taste exactly what was involved in making chocolates... a good ole' mess and a lot of fun!

Arrived just on time to be ushered into the classroom/kitchen. In total there were 12 of us, mostly strangers, though there was a mother/daughter combination and a married couple who were serious chocolatiers. Our instructor was the charismatic Paul Kennedy whose recognition spans and includes accolades for winning the Australian Chocolate Masters Competition and represented Australia in the World Chocolate Masters title in France last year (how does one get to be a judge for something like that?)
Introductions aside, we delved into a comprehensive history of chocolate from tree to final product, complete with taste testing! Roasted nibs have a strange flavour- you know it's chocolate but it doesn't quite taste like it!) We were also guided through the standard discussion on differences between chocolate types and percentage of cocoa solids that determine chocolate quality. Also got advice on how to avoid sugar bloom caused by moisture or fat bloom when cocoa solids separate if chocolate melts and then cools (think of all those chocolate bars left in the car on a hot day!)
It wasn't all show and tell as we then got to the exciting/messy/intimidating part- class participation!First off the ranks we prepared different chocolate fillings- caramels, pralines and my absolute favourite... raspberry ganache!
The chocolate/gianduja praline (imparts the distinct taste to Ferrero Rocher) was coated with a dark chocolate base before being cut by a guitar and dipped into vats of tempered dark chocolate. (yes, we all imagine having a vat of melted chocolate to dip ourselves into- ala chocotherapy)
Then came tempering- there are several different versions but the aim is to heat and then cool melted chocolate to the optimum temperature for beta V crystals to form (this depends on if it's white, milk or dark chocolate), which helps contract chocolate when setting and gives off a nice, shiny finish. The finesse of our instructor, sadly, was not evident in his charges, despite our best efforts. Instead, there was mess and fun and a few chocolate footprints!

Perfect for a dip?

Having prepared our moulds earlier, we then coated them with chocolate and piped in the desired filling. They were then left to cool and set while we indulged in a delicious lunch! By day's end we were scrambling to finish dipping our pralines and decorating them with either more chocolate or some very swish looking transfer sheets.

And the final result...

We got to take home a box of 50+ chocolates all handmade. They vanished almost instantly though and I had to take measures to save some for later! Overall, the experience was fantastic- educational, fun and tasty! Definitely a great idea for a curious novice and for the more serious chocolate connoiseur there's more advanced classes- even a chocolate appreciation course. For the price you get a masterclass of chocolate making, a delicious lunch, learn and then use some of the techniques chocolatiers from all over the globe have crafted over hundreds of years! I think it's a wonderful gift idea which can also be shared afterwards with those you love!


  1. That looks like a great day M. I want to try this out too. I looked at all their courses and its all sounds so great, from making chocolates to macarons to gateaux to nougat, all my favourite things to eat.

    Was your course the one day $152 Chocolates and Praline level 1 course?

  2. aw kool, that looks like so much fun m's. did you all have a big sugar rush at the end of the day?

    i do feel that a taste test is in order though, just to check your tempering is up to scratch...

  3. They look fantastic! Well done. hmmm. I can only count 42 in the box... I think you can be excused from eating some of the merchandise!


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