Recently I attended Let’s Make Christmas 2012, a Christmas food gift swap, which was organised by the fabulous Vanessa Kimbell of Goddess on a Budget and author of cookbook, Prepped. It was hosted by Rococo Chocolates, winner of Chocolatier of the Year in 2011, and the talented Chantal Coady, author of the new Rococo Chocolate cookbook, Mastering the Art of Chocolate, that can only be described as a feast for the eyes! We were given an electronic copy of the cookbook in order to make some items for the gift swap and to give us a bit of a teaser before seeing the book in person.
After arrival at the Rococo factory and having hot chocolate,
we were given less than fashionable but necessary blue hair nets to wear. We were then led to a room with machines that were designed to keep chocolate at any given temperature and provide a fountain of chocolate on demand. I will call these the machines from heaven!
Once in this room, Barry, Master Chocolatier at Rococo Chocolates, demonstrated one of the delectable recipes in Chantal’s cookbook, Goat’s Cheese Ganache. He allowed us to taste the warm chocolate before it set and offered us a tasting of the recipe made previously so that we could contrast the flavours. Both were delicious but I would choose to wait and go for the finished recipe.
Jude from A Trifle Rushed takes it all in.
And then Livi offers us the finished Goat’s Cheese Ganache. It was utterly delicious. There was a hint of the creamy goat’s cheese and a peppery finish balanced by the lemon zest you can see on top.
Next, Barry showed us how to temper chocolate
and gave us a chance to dip chocolates with specific techniques.
His stories of doing this for hours and hours every day whilst working in a restaurant made me ache! It is really an art and some take for granted all of the work that goes into such beautiful handmade foods like this. We were reminded with samples which everyone seemed to happily take.
We also got insight into the new products hitting Rococo retail shops. An example is below.
As if we were not on enough of a sugar high, we were then moved to the gift area for mulled wine and more chocolate treats.
Whilst we were learning from Barry, judges had the difficult job of tasting the gifts brough for the swap to choose winners. Sophie Conran and Lucas Holleweg were among the judges.
Lucas Hollweg, Sunday Times food writer and author of Good Things to Eat. He spoke so passionately about the treats he had sampled and really seemed to enjoy them.
The winners were announced and I was unable to get all of the winners but know Laura from How to Cook Good Food won making Chantal’s White Chocolate, Campari, Orange & Cherry cake, Selina from YummyChooEats with Chantal’s Chocolate Salami, Rosie at Freycobcakes with Chantal’s Honeycomb Crunch, Jude from A Trifle Rushed with her own Peppermint Bark. Congrats to all of the winners and apologies to those I unintentionally left out!
Chantal Coady signed one of her beautiful books for each of us.
For the gift swap, I prepared Chantal’s Flourless Cake with Raspberries which was straight forward to prepare.
It was made folding whipped egg whites in just before baking making it quite light and almost airy.
I also learned using frozen berries keeps the colour from bleeding.
The cake turned out beautifully I think and I will most definitely make it again….but only after trying many of the other amazing recipes such as White Chocolate and Lime Tart, Olive Chocolate Tapenade, Cesar’s Salted Caramel Ice Cream to name a few in Chantal’s cookbook which I am lucky to have been given as a participant in the gift swap!