Cookery school review: Bettys Cookery School
The course: The Chocolate Box, £185 (includes lunch and other treats)
Where: Bettys Cookery School, Harrogate, North Yorkshire
What it’s like
There’s a whiff of cocoa in the air, a batch of caramel cooling on the side and a pool of chocolate on the workbench – today is a good day. I’m in Harrogate, home of Bettys, the family business that’s become a Yorkshire institution.
People travel from far and wide to the tearooms, and the cookery school is beginning to get the same attention. It’s easy to see why: course tutor Lisa Bennison and her team are the epitome of northern hospitality, with a skill set that attests to their 15-plus years as Bettys craftspeople.
What I learned
We make caramel and ganache, and spin chocolate shells. Then it’s time for the technique I’m most anxious about: tempering (vital for shine, set and snap). “It’s important not to overheat it,” says Lisa. “It’s better for the chocolate to be slightly cooler than it needs to be when you take it off the hob, as the heat of the bowl helps bring it up to temperature.” Turns out it’s not so stressful – in fact, it’s quite therapeutic watching the chocolate melt, then slathering it over the granite workbench to cool.
Chocolates set and decorated, I can’t believe my handiwork. And when I take them into the office, it takes some convincing for people to accept they’re handmade. By me.