We all know someone who loves chocolate more than life itself, and while they are easy to please with a bar of their favourite treat, it would be fun to give them more than just a Kit Kat or Butterfinger when their birthday rolls around—this is where an experience with Chocolate Tales comes in handy.

With events held across the GTA, Chocolate Tales offers a variety of classes like their Sweet and Savoury Chocolate Workshop or Truffle Making 101. The day after Valentine’s Day (when chocolate lovers rejoice over chocolate discounts), we headed over to St. Lawrence Market to test our hand at a Classic Chocolate Making workshop.

In a studio-like kitchen with exposed brick and beautiful light streaming in through the windows, people gathered in ill-fitted plastic aprons and started chatting amicably around the tables. The class was primarily made up of couples, with a few groups of friends and families with children (word of caution to those bringing children: anticipate a serious sugar rush).

room with teacher

Event host and chocolatier Cocoa Kelly gave us the run-down on what to expect and then jumped into a fun and brief history of chocolate, starting with its Mayan and Aztec origins. While she provided basic explanations on ganache preparation, Cocoa Kelly had her assistants pass out spiced chocolate ganache for us to taste and discuss. We tried three different kinds of spiced chocolate: cinnamon, ginger and cayenne—all different in taste and potency, all delicious in their own way.

Then it was time for the hands-on experience—decorating lava cakes before they were sent off to the oven, and creating our truffles.

lava cake

Our instructor taught us about tempering and molding, and she even gave us some secret tips about adding caramel to chocolate shells as she poured some of her chocolate into molds for us to enjoy later. Then she let us wreak havoc—we punched shapes into our bars of hardened ganache, dipped them in milk and white chocolate and added designs. Sure, they didn’t look quite the way Lindt truffles might, but the process was fun and everyone’s creations were unique (and tasted delicious).

truffle making

After dipping and decorating, the truffles were set in the fridge and the assistants cleaned up the chocolate covered tables. Everyone began buzzing, as tasting while you worked was inevitable and the sugar high kicked in very quickly.

cool design

When the lava cakes were pulled out of the oven, everyone was tasked with finding their own cake (if you take this workshop, do something original to your lava cake before it heads into the oven so as to distinguish it later). I thought shoving a marshmallow in mine would make it easier to find because Kelly had kind of advised against it, but a few others had had the same idea.

nice pic of chocolates

By this point the truffles had hardened and they were ready for packaging, along with a couple of the molded chocolates Kelly had created earlier. We were provided with a little box, plastic bags and ribbon so our creations, however childlike, would look impressive once they are wrapped up.

all chocolates

I learned about chocolate, ate too much and brought some home in pretty packaging so all in all, it was a great day. I wouldn’t go into the class assuming you’ll be making the actual chocolate – it’s more of a decorating class with history and fun banter with a tableful of people who share a love for chocolate.

By Jackie Marchildon