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Monday, 7 April 2014

Choco Feeling



8 friends. In 3 cars. On their way to Bucharest. Missing the sign to Constanţa, on their left, but still reaching Heidi’s ChocoWorld in due time. The ChocoSeminar was about to start at 1:00pm on a very windy, wet, and cold day. Were we in need of sweets?
Us marvelling at the chocolates and pralines in Heidi’s factory store was a clear ‘Yes’. This was also the location of our much-awaited seminar. We put on gloves, hats, and some sort of long-sleeve aprons and we were ready to go.

Tempering the chocolate
We started by smelling various cocoa beans from around the world; we then tasted the cocoa mass obtained from them (bitter, yet delicious and quite nourishing) and were eager to learn the differences in obtaining white/milk/dark chocolate. We tested some dark and white chocolate afterwards and we tried our best to temper them on the marble table. We sampled some already tempered milk chocolate in the end, to note the differences in taste and texture.
Creating our own chocolates
I had had my eye on the colourful ingredients ever since our arrival and was dying to use them and prepare my own chocolate – we all were. Curiously enough (as I am more of a milk chocolate addict), I decided to use white chocolate for my base. Time was of the essence, because our chocolate base was hardening by the minute, so we needed to act fast.
Very much in love with Florentines, a signature-ingredient of Heidi in the Romanian chocolate market, I started with them, added a pinch of ground mint, and used mini-biscuits to decorate the sides of my tablet. I sprinkled dried raspberry flakes for a contrast in colour and caramelised cocoa flakes for crunchiness. However, I felt that my job wasn’t done, so I cut some pieces of candied orange and lay them in the centre of my chocolate. This went into the fridge, while we all voted for our preferred manner of filling and decorating our milk and white chocolate pralines.
Pralines in the making
We then savoured our coffees, removed our special outfits, and waited for only a few minutes to get our Apprentice Chocolatier Diplomas, together with the chocolates and pralines we’d created. Our post-seminar shopping was increasingly considerate for the work, talents, and efforts of the lovely ladies who had kept us company for an hour.
With my intense love for chocolate amplified and in spite of being a small kitchen disaster, I feel the need to buy myself some tools, start practising those learnt at Heidi, and maybe even take part in another (longer) seminar. After all, a great friend of mine told me a few weeks ago that one cannot go wrong when cooking with one’s heart. And chocolate = love.              

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