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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Chocolate workshop at Kimberley Chocolates, Leichhardt

Mmm.... chocolate.

It's no coincidence that Homer Simpson's chocolate reverie is my current mobile ring tone. There are few pleasures greater than the clean snap of good dark chocolate, feeling it melt on the tongue in an instant, and being rewarded with a velvety smooth mouthfeel that leaves only a memory of lingering happiness on the palate.

And so I found myself surrounded by a dozen like-minded chocaholics at the chocolate workshop hosted by Kimberley Chocolates, a four-hour journey that included truffle making, filled chocolates and enrobing.

Measuring out the tempered chocolate

Owner and chocolatier Joseph Atallah took us through a Dummy's Guide to Chocolate (history, production and chemical properties) before we split into pairs to make our fresh cream chocolate ganache.

Demonstrating how to beat the chocolate ganache

We measured 220 grams of tempered dark chocolate into our metal mixing bowls, then added 150 mls of single cream. This was then flavoured with our choice of orange paste, peppermint oil, coffee grounds, rum or brandy, and beaten with an electric mixer until thick and smooth.

The majority of the class chose orange (me included) and we learnt the secret trick of adding ascorbic acid (also known as Vitamin C) near the end to exaggerate the punchy zing associated with citrus flavour (a useful tip for all citrus-flavoured cooking).

Our bowls of ganache were placed in the cool room for about fifteen minutes to allow the mixture to cool and thicken. Joseph pointed out that for milk chocolate truffles, he used a ratio of 220 grams milk chocolate to 100 mls of single cream. The amount of cream could be increased slightly for both variants if one had time to cool the ganache for longer (I've noticed that some recipes recommend cooling the mixture at room temperature for at least four hours).

Once cool, we rolled the cooled ganache into 16 medium-sized balls for truffles, and the remainder into smaller balls which would be enrobed later. Rolling ganache into balls is harder than it looks; whilst Joseph had no problem rolling his ease, the rest of us struggled as the chocolate melted all over our hands. No matter. Rolling the balls in the coating of our choice (crushed coffee beans, cocoa powder, crushed peanuts, dessicated coconut or hundreds and thousands) helped disguise a multitude of imperfections.

Finished truffles

We moved onto filled chocolates next, watching a chocolate mould tray being doused by a waterfall of tempered chocolate, flipped upside down to remove the excess, then filled with a selection of our ganache balls. More melted chocolate was added, the top smoothed level with a palate knife, and the entire tray placed into the cool room to chill.

Placing the ganache balls onto the conveyor belt

Whilst the filled chocolates were chilling in the cool room, we began enrobing our remaining ganache balls, our chance to finally get up close and personal with the magical chocolate enrober belt. Watching the chocolates trundle through the liquid curtain of molten chocolate was joyous indeed. Emerging like chocolate-covered sultanas, we were reassured that the second enrobing would result in the professional look we were all secretly hoping for.

Unmoulding the filled chocolates
(the single enrobed chocolates are in the foreground)

Whilst our enrobed chocolates slowly solidified at room temperature (tempered chocolate will only take about ten minutes to set), the filled chocolates were unmoulded, solid hearts with perfect glossy surfaces.

Second chocolate enrobing

Back to the enrobing belt, our enrobed chocolates cavorted beneath the chocolate waterfall once again. Once the chocolates moved off the conveyor belt, we were tasked with creating decorative embellishments, using the tip or our finger or the prongs of a fork - artistic pressure in a deadline of about three seconds!

Completed enrobed chocolates

Four hours flew past, and by home-time we each had a box to take home containing close to a kilo of handmade chocolates.

The fresh cream truffles were a marvel - the fillings so light and airy and delicious. The filled heart-shaped chocolates were decadent with their thick armour of shiny chocolate, but it was the enrobed chocolates that were my favourite: the double enrobing providing a stark contrast between the thick wall of dark chocolate and the delicate melting ganache centre within. My personalised flourishes to each chocolate were the highlight of course.

And whilst we may be no closer to becoming professional chocolatiers, we undoubtedly became even bigger fans of chocolate and all its sensory pleasures.

Kimberley Chocolates runs its chocolate workshops through Sydney Community College. The workshop runs for four hours and costs $130. Upcoming dates can be found here.

Next dates: Sat 14 June 1pm-5pm and Sat 21 June 2pm-6pm.

Kimberley Chocolates
209 Lilyfield Rd, Leichhardt, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9555 7900

Chocolate sales:
Monday to Friday 9.00am - 5.30pm
Saturday 9.00am - 12.00pm

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Recipes - Chocolate truffle mud cake
14 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/01/2008 11:33:00 pm


  • At 6/02/2008 9:45 am, Blogger Y said…

    What a great ringtone.. although, everytime someone calls you, you'd be reminded about chocolate. A dangerous way to go about your day, I think! Especially now that you have 1kg of handmade chocolate at your disposal... :)

  • At 6/03/2008 9:33 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ohhh chocolate... if you had taken a video of the chocolate enrober i think i could just watch it for hours... as for my ringtone i have the oompa loompa song...

  • At 6/03/2008 9:40 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    This brings back memories - I did the course a few months ago (http://minty-petitpois.blogspot.com/search/label/chocolate) and had forgotten the 220g/150ml measurements. The handmade chocolates are so cute, aren't they?

  • At 6/03/2008 7:04 pm, Blogger Rachel said…

    hey cool thanks for sharing that great experience! I always wondered how truffles were made and how you got the centres into chocolates :)

  • At 6/03/2008 11:30 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Y - lol. I'm always thinking about chocolate :)

    Hi chocolatesuze - I felt the same way. I stood there transfixed just watching it cascade. Hey, someone should make that a downloadable screensaver :)

    Hi Belle - It was a fun course wasn't it. I should do more work with it - will have to try tempering chocolate at home.

    Hi Rachel - lol. Now I just need my own chocolate enrober :)

  • At 6/06/2008 4:12 pm, Blogger Anastasia said…

    my sister and I want to book in for a chocolate appreciation class...looks like a fun experience!

  • At 6/07/2008 12:05 am, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi AnastasiaC - I like to appreciate chocolate every day :) Hope you enjoy the class. Would love to hear about the experience too.

  • At 6/09/2008 4:21 am, Blogger Jen said…

    oooh, im reading this post with green eyed envy. Everything sounds so delicious!
    I think everyone should have their very own chocolate enrober.

  • At 6/10/2008 11:12 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi jenjen - lol. Imagine unwrapping one of those at Christmas!

  • At 6/13/2008 1:08 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Helen, wow, that's a great eye-opener! Thanks for sharing the process in detail. Truffles are irresistible, but personally handmade ones must taste even better! :)

  • At 6/15/2008 8:44 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Julia - The truffles did taste good - I think the fresh cream does make all the difference :)

  • At 6/20/2008 2:22 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think I would have tackled those guys and filled up my pockets and handbag!

  • At 7/08/2008 11:56 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi littlem - lol. We had plenty of chocolate to take home (not to mention the amount we licked off our fingers throughout the class!).

  • At 8/21/2011 12:54 pm, Blogger Glenn said…

    When I received this as a present, although grateful, I wasn't expecting too much as I had no idea what to expect. I came away with a great and fun experience, a lot of knowledge, enhanced imagination and a booty of delicious chocolates that I'm quickly demolishing. Joseph & Connie are wonderful people who are providing a unique experience that everyone in Sydney (particularly chocolate lovers!) should experience.


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