Monday, February 14, 2011

Chocolate Nymph Night

A few months ago, Living Social had a deal for a night of chocolate making at half price.

I love Living Social, Groupon, Wag Jag, Team Buy and the plethora of other coupons I get in my inbox each morning mostly because I love discovering businesses in my city that I have never explored.

Like Cocoa Nymph.

Who knew that there was a cute little chocolate shop in Rainy City that offers chocolate making classes? I sure didn't.

Three girlfriends and me took advantage of the 50% off deal and trekked in the rain to this cozy little comfort shop that envelopes you in a cloud of chocolatey goodness the moment you walk in the door.

Not eating dinner beforehand, I was STARVING for chocolate.  I think my friends were as well because when the owner/chef/chocolatier passed around a sampling of actual cocoa, we gobbled it up like no one's business.

Now had we been really paying attention during the chocolate history lesson, we would have remembered that raw cocoa is actually super bitter.  Europeans are the ones that added the copious amounts of sugar we add today.

Needless to say, our first bite of 'chocolate' was not what the smell of the shop promised.  It was like eating wood.

On to a few more pure cocoa tastings and they get better and better (and sugarier and sugarier).  Fun fact:  chocolate is similar to wine in that you can taste the terroire (if you will) in the cocoa!  Who knew?  Also, the reason Hershey tastes a bit weird even today, is that they use sour milk!  Mr. Hershey was cheap and he started using sour milk to save money.  Now they use it for fun.

Rachel, the owner, was full of fun facts!

After our lesson and pure cocoa tasting, it was off to the real chocolate/truffle making.

Firstly, you get a BIG SLAB OF GANACHE!

If you ask me, this is reason enough to go.  A SLAB OF GANACHE!!!!!!!!!!  SO GOOD!

The order is this:
1.  Cut up ganache in shapes you want.  Either using a cookie-cuter or your hands (which you have to do with the end bits anyways.  Unfortunately, our 'hand made' bits looked like little pieces of poop)
2.  Dip said ganache in more chocolate.
3.  Dip that in either crushed nuts, cocoa powder, or decorate with cocoa-paper transfer (that's how they get the fancy pictures on chocolate!)
4.  Put in fridge
5.  Eat.

I didn't necessarily follow this order.

I ate a couple pieces of ganache.  To test it after all.  Deeming it was good, I proceeded to dip my pieces of poop like chocolate truffle into a vat of melted chocolate.  How I did not just dunk my face and drink is beyond me.  I suppose common courtesy and being in public made me rethink this idea.

Once, I accidentally transferred a nut into the melted pot of chocolate. This taints the chocolate.  For fear of ruining chocolate and getting into trouble, I fished it out.  With a spoon.  It's not my fault that the spoon later landed in my mouth.

After the chocolates were all decorated, my tray went into the fridge.

While I gently sucked the ganache off of my fingers and from under my finger nails (do not judge until you have played with a slab of ganache yourself), it was time for our masterpieces to be revealed!

Rachel gave us pretty boxes and paper to take our treasured truffles home.  Like real professionals!

After making a full box of chocolate, I then proceeded to buy a hot chocolate (how can you not when it is the hot chocolate festival and the cocoa comes with homemade orange marshmallows????) AND a champagne truffle AND a hot chili chocolate.

Champagne truffle? My new idea of heaven.

Since then, I have been somewhat obsessed with champagne truffles and this was only last week.

Anyhoo, this entry is pretty straight forward.  No klutzy interludes of tripping and falling into a vat of chocolate (although I did think of that).  I just wanted to share something fun and new for you to do in Rainy City!

Well, there was one or two mishaps.  Like my friend creating a rather large misshaped ball of truffle.  And covering it with nuts. She did not intend to be naughty or dirty.  It just sort of happened.  And being super mature, we all thought her progression of balls was funny.

Cocoa Nymph offers this chocolate making class for bridal showers/stagettes, birthday parties, etc. GREAT idea!  You can bring in champagne to go with the champagne truffles!!


Okay, there was one more mishap.  I may, or may not have, woken up in the middle of the night and eaten half a box of chocolates.  And I was not alone in this.  Just ask the other three what happened to their chocolate . .  .

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