like water for chocolate

I still remember a few months back when we went on our group pastry tour to Angelina’s in Paris, an extremely posh, sophisticated tea house on Rue de Rivoli in the 1er arrondissement.  We each got to taste their famous chocolat chaud (or hot chocolate) and about five minutes later I felt sick to my stomach having gulped it down.  Super thick and so incredibly rich, it was basically like drinking a melted chocolate bar… definitely not for the faint of heart.  I’ve always considered myself an avid chocolate lover, but I guess I’m still shy of being a hardcore chocoholic =P  It actually took me a few weeks to recover from my chocolate overload.

Luckily I did, because this week was all about chocolate… triple chocolate bavarian cream cake, milk chocolates, and dark chocolates.

And to further indulge our sweet tooth, our special guest chef of the week was a confituriere, or jam specialist, who showed us her secret for making wine jelly.  The main ingredients?  Why, wine and sugar of course! =P  The sweetness of the jelly is quite overpowering by itself, but pair it with some fine cheese and you’ll be in for a sweet surprise =)  We each got to take home two jars of her homemade wine jelly, which I suppose I’ll be eating it with toast for a quick go-to breakfast any day of the week ;)

The rest of the week was entirely dedicated to chocolate and I gotta say, eating chocolate is one thing… ‘moments of timeless treasure’ as some would say.  But making chocolate is a completely different story!  Chocolate is an incredibly messy ingredient to work with, as it somehow manages to get everywhere, especially cocoa powder.  Just one look at us and you’d know we were in Intermediate Pastry… we were all covered with a layer of chocolate dust =P

What’s even worse about making chocolates is that it’s extremely temperamental.  You definitely don’t wanna mess with chocolate =P  In order to properly temper chocolate to give it a nice shine and have it set quickly, you have to heat the chocolate to a certain degree, cool it down, and then reheat it again before using.  I have to admit, it’s quite a pain in the butt ><  I definitely have a newfound respect and admiration for all the chocolatiers out there.  It’s definitely not a piece of cake, but as with many things in life, as long as you stick to the rules, everything will turn out just fine =)

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