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Teaching Chocolate Classes....

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November 10th, 2013- So I taught a "Chocolate Ganache & Molding "class at the Ashland Culinary Festival yesterday. Bottom line? It was fun. I don’t get out and do many demos anymore. The reasons for this are numerous and arbitrary but they are valid for me none the less. This one was different though. First and foremost, it was early. 10 am on a Sunday? What the hell was I thinking when I said yes? Secondly I blew it and didn’t really think through what, exactly to the letter, I would be teching. At least until 24 hours before the thing.

I try to remember the "7 P's" when thinking about doing anything (Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance) and as I gathered my thoughts together on Saturday and decided at the last minute on what to make it dawned on me I might be about to execute some seriously piss poor performance. Armed with all the needed tools and chocolate to make two ganaches; one of which will be hand dipped and the other put into a mold, I set out at "oh god its cold" time to Ashland to set up in the culinary kitchen of the Ashland co-op.

What a great space! A fully equipped kitchen with plenty of power for my temperer and heat gun. An almost empty fridge to cool down molds an ganaches and two very nice people who were there to help me set up and clean up. I unloaded my gear, got things plugged in and melting, started slamming very strong coffee and got revved up for the maximum of 12 people I told the organizers to limit it to. They began to arrive about 15 minutes early. Names were checked off of lists, ticket holders all we ended up with 13 people. Excellent portents!  We started by tasting some of 0ur bean to bar chocolates. I explained the history of my chocolate journey and began to wax eloquently about the different countries that we source beans from and the great and different flavors awaiting them as they tasted Peru, Madagascar, Venezuela and a Blend of all 3. It was a good breakfast. But I took too long. I should have been making ganache right from the get go. I needed this stuff to cool, set, an be ready inside of an hour.

I started with the Bay Leaf Ganache. Bay leaf? Sure, why not. Herb infusions can be really good (Lavender caramel anyone?) and we had a client in Seattle request a Bay Leaf truffle some time back and we nailed it to the floor. So I decorated some molds with green cocoa butter splatter-(including a goodly amount of the counter and floor!) and did some shelling of the molds. As the bay leaf cooled in the freezer I started in on a classic Gran Marnier truffle made with a 74% dark from the DR. Its such a classic I had to do it. By the time I answered a million questions (not all of them welcome or even remotely relevant--there is one in every crowd!), we were running out of time! I flash cooled as much as possible, sprayed chocolate everywhere, filled and bottomed the molds-(which were not set-ever try to bottom water?), and got it to the point of audience participation. This is when it got fun.

As there is no way I could hand form and hand dip enough truffles to feed the small but mighty crowd in time I had them come up and help. Willing volunteers were all the rage as a bunch of women almost trampled each other to get up and get dirty with me. Wait....that came out wrong. Anyway....many dirty hands and no amount of paw licking ensued....that didn’t come out right either....

aw the heck with it....people dug it...

 

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