While my workplace seems to be all doom-and-gloom, Mr K-E and his colleagues have been defying the recession with lots of office outings. Two weeks ago they went ice-skating at Somerset House and on Thursday night, his team went on a chocolate-making evening.
I was really jealous, so I asked him to take lots of photos for me.
The set-up was a long table covered in greaseproof paper.
To start off with, the instructor explained the difference between "real chocolate" and "confectionary bars". It is all to do with amount of actual cacao in them. So Cadbury's Dairy Milk is a confectionery bar, not strictly speaking "chocolate".
I remember a few years ago there was uproar when the EU were going to impose a standard i.e. only a product with in excess of 50% cacao could be called chocolate. This would mean that most of the "chocolate" in the UK would not be allowed to be sold as chocolate....well, that idea was quickly shot down and manufacturers still call their low cocoa/high vegetable fat bars chocolate bars.
Anyway, back to the chocolate making.
Everyone has their own "stations". You start off with the fillings, a bar of soft dark chocolate (like a ganache) and a bar of semi-brittle nutty paste.
The funny looking fork is for dunking in chocolate. (More about that later)
You get mini cookie-cutters in different shapes. You can see the round one in this photo along with big bowls of dark, milk and white melted chocolate. On the table there are also saucers of dry toppings (cocoa powder, coconut etc) and caramel-covered almonds.
They used a special kind of chocolate which stays melted at room temperature.
In short, you cut a shape out of the "block" and then use your fork to completely cover it in chocolate. Shake off the excess and leave it on the table to dry. If you want to decorate it, you need to do it before it is completely set.
People were quite sceptical before but everyone really enjoyed it.
Look at the state of the table!
You also get two glasses of champagne to help with creativity :)
These were Mr KE's efforts. Some people were eating the chocolate all the way through, but Mr KE was concentrating so hard on making them look nice that he didn't eat any during the session.
He wrapped them up nicely and brought them home for me to eat.
They are lovely, really fresh - the nicest chocolates I've ever had. And I'm not just saying that because my husband made them!