Both being chocolate lovers, taking a Chocolate Making class was on our bucket list of Toronto activities! We were happy to discover that a chocolate making workshop for newbies existed in our area. Chocolate Tales leads their educational and interactive workshops in the Greater Toronto Area, Hamilton and Niagara. The classes are dynamic and a great introduction to chocolate making. Only the finest premium ingredients are used, such as their house brand Belgian chocolate: Belcolade. We took the “Healthy Vegan Chocolate Workshop” and made Energy Truffle Bites and a Dark Chocolate Bar topped with dried Super Fruits and Seeds.
Andrea: I loved the experience of walking into the cozy workshop, held at the Mad Bean Cafe, on a cold winter day. I was enveloped in the most delicious smell of rich, warm chocolate. I was happy to see the small class size, which made the atmosphere very relaxed – like gathering around a kitchen table with friends to enjoy some indulgent confections! As a fun starter to warm us and get our energy up for the class, we were treated to coffee and the best vegan sipping chocolate I’ve ever tasted – complete with a vegan marshmallow.
Sofia: The class began with a brief introduction to the history of chocolate and the process of chocolate making. Our instructor served us delicious gourmet sipping chocolate and answered any questions we had before the chocolate making began. I wondered about the ingredients used to make “Vegan Chocolate” and learned that premium dark chocolate, like the Belcolade Belgian chocolate used in the workshop, is naturally vegan. However, some grocery store brands of dark chocolate do contain milk ingredients so it’s still best to check the label.
Sofia: The first interactive element of the class, was making the chocolate granola mixture that would need to cool before we could make our dipped Energy Truffle Bites. The fun part for me, was aerating the melted coconut butter and maple syrup until its texture changed to more of a gel consistency. Some swift mixing was required! Then we added rolled oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, cocoa nibs and melted 85% Dark Chocolate. At this point, it already looked and smelled ready to eat but we needed to let the mixture sit so it could reach the perfect texture for rolling.
Sofia: Next up was working on our Dark Chocolate Bars with Coconut, Crunchy Maple and beautiful Dehydrated Raspberries. We had the option of adding the toppings solely to the top or incorporating them into the middle of the bar as well, which is the option we both chose. The toppings were too delicious to use sparingly.
The Belcolade Dark Chocolate is unlike any I’ve ever tasted; unbelievably smooth, with subtle floral notes and an unexpected sweetness.
Andrea: This was a fun portion of the class where we got to exercise our creativity and make the bars our own – both by choosing our ingredients and by performing some artistry! We strategically layered in toppings to maximize flavour, then sprinkled heavily on the back of the bar to make them extra Instagram-worthy. Even before setting in the fridge, the bars already looked so beautiful. The warm Belcolade chocolate was impossible to resist – there was lots of sipping and spoon-licking around our table!
Once our bars were in the molds, the instructor took them to the fridge to harden and we returned to working on our Energy Truffle Bites.
Sofia: The mixture had hardened and was the perfect consistency for rolling. I found it easy to roll mine up into ten balls before dipping it into the melted chocolate. After each Energy Truffle Bite was coated, I chose to top mine with shredded coconut and dehydrated raspberries.
These Truffle Bites are phenomenal and extremely dangerous. Once you try them it’s near impossible to stop!
The center is velvety smooth with a wonderful bouquet of flavors and textures coming from the super fruits and seeds. The outer Dark Chocolate coating is undeniably decadent. Dare I say, my new favorite truffle?
Sofia: Next up, our bars were ready to remove from the mold! At this point, I was skeptical my overflowing bar would come out in one piece and still look pretty. We twisted the mold like an ice-tray and both bars came out easily! Despite looking a little rough around the edges while still in the mold, my bar came out looking like a professional gourmet chocolate bar adorned with stripes of delicious toppings. We were then able to package our creations and had enough to make multiple gifts.
Andrea: Twisting and flipping the bars out of their molds was our “moment of truth” and an exciting finish to our efforts! Our “more is more” approach to ingredients paid off when we saw how vibrant, flavourful and textured our bars were. I really appreciated that the class ended with an opportunity to package and decorate our sweets. It was a nice way to complete the chocolate-making process, and to store, display and/or gift the treats for the holiday season.
Sofia: The class was a great value and I recommend it for anyone interested in learning more about chocolate making. It’s beginner friendly and all the steps were easy to follow. You go home with a large amount of chocolate as well as a recipe for the Energy Truffle Bites.
I won’t lie, the chocolate was too delicious to share and I ended up keeping it at home. My husband and daughter couldn’t be happier and I’ve been ordered to try another class as soon as possible to replenish our supply!
Andrea: I was so happy with how accessible Chocolate Tales is – an experience that was all about learning, savouring and creating, and truly beginner-oriented. To me, this class took us all back to the very essence of why we love chocolate, by encouraging participants to enjoy the sensory experience of chocolate through touch, sight, smell and taste. It would make a great date night activity – and I love that a vegan class was offered, so that my husband could enjoy all of the treats I brought home. Can’t wait for the next one!
Thank-you to Chocolate Tales for kindly sponsoring our participation in this workshop. All feedback and opinions expressed are our own.
Written By: Sofia and Andrea