What better way to get into the spirit of Christmas than chocolate making (and eating for that matter.) I started my advent calendar Dec. 1st and I religiously eat a chocolate a day. As you can probably tell already I love chocolate, well I really do. So when I saw that Zoe's Bakery & Cafe was hosting a truffle workshop I signed Dave and I up right away. The evening was spent learning how to make two types of truffles and while doing so we also tasted a lot of chocolates (Dave more than I.)
First off was the theory lesson by Zoe about how truffles came to be. The lesson was short and sweet and then we got started. First on the list of things to do that evening was make the ganache: the filling of the truffles. Ganache is half cream, half chocolate, the chocolate has to be true chocolate which means it must contain cocoa butter. We found out that most chocolate we eat isn't true chocolate because the cocoa butter has been removed and replaced with different oils like canola oil or palm kernel oil.
To make the ganache you had to boil the cream, pour over the chocolate with whatever flavourings you chose and mix until emulsified. You have to make sure that you do not add too much of the added flavours or else your ganache will become too runny. We chose to make a milk chocolate ganache with pistachio and Grand Marnier and it was delicious! The best part about this exercise was that after we filled as many chocolate shells with our own flavours we could switch ganaches with everyone else. There were so many delicious flavours to choose from! My favourites were Dark Maple, Dark Orange, Eggnog & Rum and Earl Grey. But really all of them tasted good.
Next step was filling the shells with our ganache. We used squeeze bottles, however, you can also use a piping bag. Once we were finished filling them we placed them in the fridge to let them set. Once they came out of the fridge we capped them with melted milk, white or dark chocolate. For this step we used piping bags. Once again we put them in the fridge or the freezer to set the caps.
The last step was rolling them in the chocolate of our choice, then decorating them however we saw fit. I wanted our truffles to look beautiful and professional so I was the decorator while Dave did the rolling (the messy part.) We rolled them in all the different chocolates: dark, white and milk. Then I sprinkled the tops of them with the decorations available. There was cocoa powder, espresso, cookie crumbs, nuts and sprinkles, but you could really decorate them however you pleased and whatever you have available in your kitchen.
After we finished our ganache filled truffles we had some more time available to us to learn how to make hand-rolled truffles and dip caramels in chocolate, to round out our perfect chocolate boxes. For the hand-rolled truffles Zoe had previously made two ganache flavours and set them in the fridge so they were firm and set through. The flavours were white chocolate egg nog and milk chocolate bailey. We spooned the ganache out and rolled them into little balls in our hands. Then we could roll them directly in cocoa or nuts. Or if we wanted to make them even more chocolatey we could roll them in melted chocolate to create a rustic shell. Dave took over these steps making the hand-rolled ones where I decided to dip the caramels since that was the less messy task.
Everything we made was delicious and we were able to share them with friends and family, which was perfect because then we couldn't eat them all ourselves! If you're living in Tofino or Ucluelet I would highly recommend trying out the course. It was so interesting to learn about the art of truffle making but fun and practical and a skill I plan on using again and making them for gifts!