Tuesday, 20 January 2009

taking control of my temper... another Rococo workshop

Yes, that's right. I'm an utterly uncontrollable red mist loon. The sort to bite your head off at the slightest thing. Or to throw plates around when my cakes don't rise.

Nah, only kidding. My cakes ALWAYS rise. And I don't have a temper. Well, hardly at all, anyway. Once every 10 years or so, I rise to just a tad above simmering point. And then that's it for another 10 years. I just don't see the point, and I don't have the energy.

No, the temper I'm talking about is to do with CHOCOLATE. Mmmm.... CHOCOLATE.

I've already told you about the Rococo ganache workshop, but I never got round to posting about the tempering workshop.

Well, here it is.

I came. I saw. I tempered. And it was good. Laurent, the master chocolatier, said so, so it must be true. The fact that I paid him £100 for the privilege of his tutoring had nothing to do with it, I'm certain of that.

Actually, there was a bit more to the tempering than that. But it wasn't as tricky as I'd imagined. And I managed not to get the molten chocolate all over the floor.

The aim of the day was to take lots of these:

Valrhona lozenges

... i.e. untempered dark chocolate couverture 'lozenges' or 'beans', and to turn them into sheeny-shiny tempered chocolate shapes.

Why do you need to temper chocolate? Well, for a start, 'beans' don't sell. Pretty moulded or piped shapes do. Second, tempered chocolate takes on a lovely attractive shine. It also has a crisp 'snap' to it when broken or bitten into. Anything untempered won't give you that. Properly tempered, good quality chocolate won't 'bloom' either.

So we took our 'beans', melted them to an exact temperature, and then poured most of the result all over a big marble slap. Then, taking a 'cranked' palette knife (that's the shape, not a reference to its mood), and something akin to a plasterer's scraping blade, we chased the molten pool all around the slab for a short while before scooping it back into a bowl again. (This is the point at which it was most at risk from schlepping onto the floor, but the chocolate angels were smiling on me that day, and for once I was spared the embarrassment.)

To that bowl of tempered chocolate, we then added a small amount of 'seed' chocolate (whatever we didn't originally temper), mixed it all together quickly, and bingo - tempered chocolate.

Only that wasn't quite it.

No, my friends. Then we had to pipe the glossy warm liquid stuff into moulds. Which is not as easy as you might think. Or if it is, then you've obviously piped before. I hadn't.

But you know what? Thanks to the patience of Laurent again, it went ok. Really, it did. And not long after, I had sheeny shiny chocolate fish:

rococo fish and box

See how they shine... (go on, humour me, please)

rococo fish close-up

Well, I was quite chuffed, anyway.

And the best bit? We got to take all our shapes home. In gorgeous Rococo boxes. Which Chantal Coady (the owner of Rococo) showed us how to dress with sumptuous ribbon. Like so:

rococo box with ribbon

And all just in time for Christmas. Perfect.


Pia K said...

Yes I do see the light, I do, or well the shimmer shine in the bottom fish anyway, well done you! Love those boxes and ribbons, very pretty in that *simple* yet stylish way.

Bellini Valli said...

I can dream of being in your chpocolate class and learning from the masters.The bonus of course is all the chocolate to take home...

Rosie said...

WOW what an experience to learn from the masters!! Those fish simmer and shine and look gorgeous - well done.

Rosie x

Manggy said...

Oh come on, I can totally see the shine :) Well done! I haven't tried the seed method (things MUST be so complicated with me) but maybe I will, when I've a bigger batch to temper :)

Alexx said...

Beautiful - and I am sure they tasted as good as they look!

Sam said...

Sounds like you had a great time, I love the chocolate fish!

Vij said...

Hi ya
This is my first time here. You have a lovely space.
Beautiful choco fish - looks so tempting!

The Caked Crusader said...

Great stuff - I really want to do a class like this, it sounds great fun. And you leave with chocolate - what's not to love?

Nice shiny fish by the way!

Heather said...

Those little fish looked like real trout, such was their gleaming, blinding, shininess. Hurt my eyes, they were so bright and shiny.

Love the play on words in the title.

nicisme said...

I would love to have a go at that, the fish look very beautiful indeed.

Anonymous said...

I am generally not a jealous person but I am experiencing uncomfortable pangs over both your workshop experience (another...does that mean this is not the first time...pang/stab)and the fish you took home. I can honestly say one of the things I miss most about london is Rococo, kings Rd was my haunt and cardamon my vice.
despite the pangs, glad to have found you.

Margaret said...

Now, that is an experience. I think I would never stop smiling all the time I was at the chocolate class.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Pia - I think you like the ribbons, boxes, bags, etc more than the actual chocolate!

BV - I'll do my best to pass on the experience virtually...

Rosie - thank you!

Manggy - do try. It was very straightforward. Or seemed that way at the time, anyway!

Alexx - oh yes, they do. Or did!

Sam - I did. Rococo are great at making it all very relaxed and fun

Vij - welcome, and thank you!

The Caked Crusader - go on, sign up to a class. You know you want to...

Heather - you need to get those sunglasses I was telling you about

nicisme - go to a class. I promise you, you'll love it

racheleats - glad to have you here! Sorry to make you wistful, though... Rococo is fab, isn't it.

Margaret - trust me, we didn't!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What pretty chocolates! A perfect gift!



Mediterranean kiwi said...

chocolate fish are soooooooooo special in new zealand - the chocolate fish cafe was where the LORD OF THE RINGS cast hung out when they weren't filming

nz choc fish have pink marchmallow centres

Jj said...

Temper? What's a temper. I only know what the means pertaining to chocolate (I am SO lying!) Lol...looks great, thanks!

Helen said...

Sheeny shiny chocolate fish! Gorgeous! I would love to have a go at this, must add it to the list. And a Happy belated birthday by the way! Keep up the good work :)

David Hall said...

Nice take on 'temper', brilliant photos and what a day for you! Great stuff. Glad you have controlled your 'temper'.


Darius T. Williams said...

I'm with you - just in time for Christmas - lol!!!

Anonymous said...

Everything looks so delicious here. The header..the chocolate..:)

Cakelaw said...

These look great! And anything to do with chcolate has me hooked.

Gigi said...

love your shiny fish! the box and ribbon made a pretty vessel for them!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this looks like a fantastic workshop! I would love to do a workshop like this. I must look them up. Thanks!


glamah16 said...

One day I have to maste Chcolate. I think they look great.

kelsie and mel said...

i went to a chocolate tasting about a month ago at rococo and got the flier about the workshops. the overnight sleepover chocolate making fantasy caught my eye, well to be honest they all did. how many people were in the class with you? and if you had to choose just one which would it be?