Easter eggstravaganza with Chocolate Arts
9 Comments Karen HamiltonMarch 30, 2010
Congratulations, Dilara – you’ve won a Large Signature Egg from Chocolate Arts just in time for Easter. Karen will contact you today to arrange for a meet, as it’s a little difficult for her to get outside of downtown Vancouver with the new baby!
I took a break from the newfound joys of maternity to attend an Easter Extravaganza course on the invite of Chocolate Arts, a chocolate shop in Kitsilano that my friends and I have patronized over the years.
No cooking required
The last time I had attempted to work with chocolate at home resulted in a messed pot and burnt ganache, despite my confidence when making it for the first time at the Dirty Apron Cooking School. It was therefore with elevated levels of anxiety that I arrived at the production kitchen of Chocolate Arts for three hours with head chocolatier Greg Hook and his assistants Joseph and Gen.
As it turned out, I was in for a relatively stress-free experience. No slaving over a hot stove, no ratios to learn, no finicky cooking techniques to practice. It was more of an exercise in the final stages of confection assembly. Chocolate shells sat at each station asking to be filled; ganache, caramel, and house-made preserves were prepared by the pros for our use; molds and stencils for Easter creations awaited our personal touch.
I saw it as an interactive walkthrough of Chocolate Arts’ production line, giving us consumers an idea of their materials, processes, and tools of the trade. Through capping my own caramel eggs, folding cornettes, filling molds, and pairing up with the other students for more elaborate finishes, I gained an appreciation of the skill and resourcefulness needed to make chocolate pieces for a living (taste-testing all the while, of course).
High tech assembly
The technology we used in the kitchen left the biggest impression on me. Tempering machines along one wall rained dark and milk chocolate while the chocolate enrober on the opposite end drew our ganaches along a conveyor belt for final flourishes.
Using the enrobing machine was a highlight – I got to place myself in the shoes of Lucy Ricardo in that memorable chocolate factory episode, even though it wasn’t food safe for me to be allowed gulp my treats straight off the assembly line.
Having now experienced this Easter Extravaganza course first hand, I can see why the workshop had a hefty $190 price tag. Our class of 12 churned out over 110 individual chocolates for each person to take home, plus a chocolate bunny showpiece for us to display to friends and family at Easter.
The abundance of product plus the hours of patient instruction would have seemed a good deal had I paid to attend this course. Heartily recommended as a special occasion buy for that chocolate lover in your family, or as a personal splurge if you love to entertain and have loved ones that you can gift your handmade chocolates to for the holidays.
This was the inaugural Easter course that Chocolate Arts has put on, but they have been offering similar Christmas Extravaganza courses for the past 5 years. If this sort of weekend activity sounds right up your alley, you may want to lurk their website to register for the various workshops and classes that they put on throughout the year.
Other Easter treats at Chocolate Arts
While I would love to distribute what I had made at this workshop to each of you, these candies are earmarked for my family’s Easter celebrations. However, Chocolate Arts did give me a Large Signature Egg to give away to one reader…and that reader is Dilara!
You can visit Chocolate Arts and pick up your own Large Signature Egg for $42.95 or browse their assortment of sweets for something to match your Easter plans this year.