In October 2008 I had the privilege of studying under Jean-Pierre Wybauw for a short course in Belgium Candy Making – Fine Chocolates. It was held in Orlando, Florida at The Notter School of Pastry Arts. We spent 3 days learning different techniques, flavours and how to use specific equipment. I had an absolute ball and realised that becoming a chocolatier was definitely what I wanted to do.
Jean-Pierre began by teaching us all about tempering chocolate (which I will post about soon) and chocolate decay and spoilage. Then we got into the fun part. Together with my chocolate partner for the course, Sally, we began making so many different varieties of chocolates. I believe we each had approximately 150-200 chocolates each to take home with us. I can certainly say my family were happy to see me return home that weekend!
We learnt how to make traditional shapes and flavours such as molded liquors, anisette, lavender, almond praline, butter truffles with vanilla. However the ones I enjoyed the most were the flavours of cardamon and pistachio, mango saffron and mint with green tea.
To finish the course as a treat Jean-Pierre demonstrated how to make several decorations. We learnt how to use transfer sheets which place a coloured pattern of cocoa butter on the chocolate, various shapes and bowls to hold desserts, curls, striped cigars and my absolute favourite, a gift bow made out of chocolate. I will have to practice these once I have purchased my own marble slab but for now I am content with getting up each day and deciding what chocolate challenge I will undergo next!