Aside from my parents, the most successful long-term relationship I have had throughout my life has been with chocolate. The relationship has changed over time – buttons have given way to bars, milk has been replaced with dark – but it has been a constant presence from the very beginning.
To this day, stepping through the door of a chocolatier’s shop takes me back to a simpler time, when the only thing that mattered was what flavour would surprise me when I bit into the middle, and how many treats I could afford to buy with my pocket money. It is probably no wonder, then, that I so frequently cross over the threshold of Cocoa Ooze on Belmont Street, and most recently to discover the art of chocolate making for myself.
Cocoa Ooze offers regular public and private workshops, inviting you to don one of their aprons and become a chocolatier for the night. After the requisite amount of time spent sampling the different types of chocolate, you are ready to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Soon you are melting, stirring, tempering, piping, dipping and whipping up your own ganache like a professional.
In one corner of the room are bowls brimming with colourful toppings, with bottles and droppers full of all manner of flavourings, and it is not difficult to imagine what Mr. Wonka must have felt like in his factory. Given the opportunity to create a tray full of truffles and two bars each, there really is no limit to your experimentations and the best part is, you get to take them home with you.
I cannot say that my own creations were as professional as the ones on display at Cocoa Ooze, but they were surprisingly adequate once bagged and bowed and I took great pride in sharing them with my family and waiting to see the look of surprise on their faces as they bit into the middle. www.cocoa-ooze.co.uk