You might miss out on the pleasure of a new pencil case this September, but you should still get down with the kids in terms of getting you a new education this month. No matter what your age, get a little more sage about all things chocolate-y by embarking on a course with a high cocoa content. Whether you’re a budding bean-to-bar-ist or keen to tackle tempering, book up and get stuck in…
As a handy high-street portal for fine chocolate, it seems only right for Hotel Chocolat to bring cocoa to the masses through its hands-on, expert-led masterclasses. The beans you’ll turn into bars on this London-based, one-and-a-half-hour class come from the company’s Rabot estate on St. Lucia; and you can look forward to savouring the flavour post-production, along with the other chocolate goodies in your take-home bag.
You’d think the Young One would keep the secrets of *those* salted caramels, The Best Brownies In The World™, and his ever-shuffling truffle range close to his chest, but not a bit of it. In secret chambers (well, his boutiques’ kitchens), the chocolate master offers eager apprentices a delicious induction into his wonderful world through a range of workshops geared to all skill levels and areas of interest.
Sophie Jewett’s York-based Chocolate School is an excellent academy for anyone with an interest in growing their own cocoa expertise. There’s a perpetual programme of events on the go; variously suited to everyone from absolute amateurs to would-be pros; ranging in length from drop-in design-your own-bar sessions to the week-long Chocolate Apprentice Course. And, if you can’t get to them, they’ll come to you.
Each of Lucy Keany’s monthly Sunday salons takes an origin or maker as its theme; discussed and debated in a Crouch End cafe, in an informal atmosphere that the founder describes as akin to a film or book club. The mild and meek need not apply – this is a fun forum for opinions to be aired and exchanged. September’s chocolate conversations will be inspired and fuelled by a host of Madagascan specimens.
Boutique Aromatique’s Shelly Preston is the lady leading keen amateurs and experts alike through the wonderful world of chocolate-making at this Nottinghamshire school. On the entry-level course, you’ll learn how to taste, balance flavour, and temper with no tantrums, then head home with a bag of your swag; whilst the advanced three-day course delves deeper into every aspect from bean through to bar.
Seventy%’s founder Martin Christy knows his stuff and wants you to, too. The Level 1 Chocolate Tasting Certificate is a tasty prospect, but you’ll need to bring a big appetite for some serious learning. the day-long course programme is choc-a-block with information both practical and theoretical; from sussing sustainability to identifying origins through flavour. If you’ve paid attention, you’ll pass the final exam with flying colours.
Small window of free time but in need of a big chocolate fix? Chocolate 101, held at Artisan du Chocolat’s Westbourne Grove boutique in West London, is for you. In just an hour and a half, you’ll discover delights as diverse as lychee-like cacao pulp juice and liquid salted caramels, via chocolate ice cream, choctails and truffles. There are far worse ways to spend an evening than at this ultra-indulgent tutored tasting.
If you think Rococo chocs rock, you”ll be exceptionally excited at the prospect of Principal Chocolatier Barry bestowing his wisdom upon you as you temper, mould, decorate and taste under his expert guidance. If you’d rather truffles than tempering, a dedicated evening workshop covers ganache-making, piping. and rolling; whilst Sam Smallman’s sessions focus on what to drink with your chocolate.