I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I adore chocolate. I began experimenting with making my own chocolates about three years ago and fell in love with the process. I love tempering, creating unique fillings, collecting molds and wrapping and packaging the little treats after hours slaving away in the kitchen. How did I learn? I sat down with a stack of books from the library, studied and practiced over and over again.
That's why I felt very fortunate when The Cambridge School for Culinary Arts offered a course in chocolate making with Master Pastry Chef Delphin Gomes. The class was challenging, rigorous and at times quite entertaining. I found it incredibly helpful to watch someone who had truly mastered his craft taking such great pride in the outcome of every hand cut, hand-dipped creation.
I have to admit, after the amount of time I've spent crafting chocolates, I've turned into a bit of a chocolate snob. It's been very hard for me to find chocolates that compare to what I can make at home (although I've found a few in Montreal). I think what I love most about the process is that you can truly make it your own. While tempering is an exact science the rest of the process is only limited by your imagination.
I'd love to hear about your favorite sources for all things chocolate. Feel free to share your favorite links in the comments section. If you have any wrapping or packaging ideas, I'd love to hear those too.
Here's a recipe for truffles that I love. I make it with good strong tea from Mariage Freres but you can use any fine quality tea in its place.
Creamy Chocolate and Imperial Wedding Tea Truffles
3 oz. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. corn syrup
2-3 tbs. Imperial Wedding Tea
6 oz. good milk chocolate, chopped
1 tbs. butter
14 oz. bittersweet chocolate, tempered
1 cup sugar
Heat milk and corn syrup. Add tea. Steep for about 5 minutes. Strain. Boil. Pour over chopped chocolate. Stir. Add 1 tbs. butter. Stir thoroughly. Refrigerate and then roll into truffle size balls (small and elegant...no golf balls...please!!!) Dip in tempered dark chocolate, roll in sugar and allow to harden. Store in a sealed container in a separate refrigerator compartment away from moisture and other food.
Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays!