Chocolate making is a wonderfully mucky yet creative process. We picked some of the best classes from around the country, so all you have to do is book.
LONDON AND SURROUNDS
Leiths School of Food and Wine in west London has an international reputation as an excellent training school for chefs. But alongside the professional courses, it runs many amateur courses encompassing cuisines from all over the world and specialist cookery skills. The one day chocolate pudding workshop is a very popular course. Students watch demonstration and students learn many techniques to integrate with chocolate including meringues, mousse and cake making. Day courses cost from £145.
Rococo has produced beautiful chocolates in colourful and ornate designs for almost three decades, and boasts three sublime London stores. This respected company has now opened a chocolate school at the Motcomb Street branch in Belgravia offering specialised chocolate-related classes. These include how to make the perfect chocolate mousse, baking with chocolate, as well chocolate tempering and truffle-making. Classes are taught by Laurent Couchaux, an experienced pastry chef and chocolatier who has lectured at Valrhona's L'Ecole du Grand Chocolat. There are bespoke children’s classes from £50 and £100 for a three hour adult classes.
Divertimenti is renowned for the beautiful cookware it's been selling in its three shops in the south-east since the 1960s. In 2002, the company opened its first cookery school in Marylebone, followed by another on Brompton Road. Both schools offer chocolate workshops for children and adults with the chance for students to make their own chocolates. The schools also run demonstrations with Chantal Coady, founder of Rococo Chocolates, and Paul A Young, whose chocolates have won numerous awards in recent years making him one of the most respected chocolatiers in the country. Prices start at £40.
The Chocolate Tart
The Chocolate Tart, aka chef Lisa Clarke of Hedgehog pie catering, opened the doors to her chocolate school in Bristol in 2007. She now runs everything from one hour classes for a quick chocolate hit to day classes for aspiring chocolatiers. There are also themed workshops available around the Easter period. Courses start at £25 for 1 hour and tasting workshops are also run from £30.
One-day truffle-making classes are run by William Curley at his Richmond shop. The highly-respected chocolatier and his wife Suzue also run a shop in Belgravia and these courses are an excellent introduction to all things chocolate: from how cocoa is grown and produced, to how chocolate rose to prominence as a drink in Europe. Students learn how to combine chocolate, cream, butter and cocoa powder into delectable hand-dipped truffles. A 2 ½ hour class costs £150 for two and there are mint and dark chocolate truffles to take home too.
Westminster Kingsway College
Westminster Kingsway College in London, where many top chefs have trained, has recently introduced one-day short courses, open to non-professionals, including one on making, moulding and decorating chocolates for occasions such as Easter. Courses are £80 per day and are run in London.
Chocolate Delight runs classes at seven locations around the country. Students can try out many different chocolate and innovative chocolate tasks including chocolate portrait painting, as well as more traditional chocolate workshops. The charming owners, Gerry & Roo, also run the Chocolate Hotel in Bournemouth, where guest can experience the Chocolate weekend. They even run chocolate coated corporate team-work events. Courses last for about two hours and chocolate lovers will be able to take home nearly 30 truffles. Workshop prices start at £55 while prices for a chocolate weekend start at £279 based on two sharing.
Bettys café first opened to the public in 1919 and nearly a century on it runs a mini empire of five cafés across the north-east and a thriving mail order business selling delicious teas, cakes and chocolate delicacies. Luckily, Bettys is willing to share the secrets of its culinary success at its cookery school in Harrogate, which runs courses in everything from fish suppers to bread making. Bettys offer several different chocolate courses run by professional chocolatiers from their craft bakery, covering many different elements of chocolate work from chocolate tempering to truffle making and baking. Day courses start at £160.
Coghlans Cookery School
Coghlans runs courses in Chesterfield and Sheffield that aim to give students sound practical advice to increase their culinary know how whether they're beginners or professional chefs. The Champagne and Chocolate day offers a chance for real indulgence; students spend the morning crafting truffles and chocolate desserts followed by an afternoon of Champagne tasting. All this takes place under the expert eye of professional chefs and champagne connoisseurs. Prices start at £158.
The Lavender House
The Lavender House is a bustling restaurant and cookery school situated under a sixteenth century thatched roof just outside Norwich in Norfolk. There are professional training courses for chefs, plus amateur masterclasses. The chocolate kitchen day Chocoholics Anonymous includes hands-on training with step-by-step instructions and a goody bag to take home. Prices start at £100 for adults and £30 for children.
Just south of Edinburgh, in Peebles, is Cocoa Black, run by Ruth Hinks. As well as selling her range of hand-made truffles online, Hinks runs a chocolate and patisserie school. This Easter she will be running classes for children and adults. They offer more than your average truffle making course and have sessions in creating your own gateaux and french pasty making (With chocolate on of cause). Classes start from £29.
Glasgow Cookery School
This Scottish school offers a variety of courses on all things sweet, including several different chocolate classes. These include Saturday evening events where students enjoy food with wine and then make their own dessert, and one day chocolate masterclasses covering chocolate tempering and chocolate dessert making, with plenty of tastings along the way. Prices start at £40 for an evening course and £99.50 for a full day.
Coco Chocolate provides intimate chocolate making days in Edinburgh that are limited to just four people per class to ensure everyone gets individual attention and tuition. Students learn to temper chocolate by hand and by machine as well as making their own moulded chocolates and organic chocolate bars. Each student will take home a Coco hamper of chocolates made on the day. A day course is priced at £145.
To find a chocolate course near you, the Hotcourses website is an invaluable resource – just select the qualification level and search for the keyword ‘chocolate’.