A while ago now, I went to Tain-LHermitage, near Valence to take part in a « Chocolates making » course!
3 days to learn recipes but most importantly the techniques to be able to work various chocolates.
First we made different flavoured ganaches (the soft centre) : coffee, Darjeeling, raspberry, hazelnuts
They then had to be cut into bite size pieces before being covered with melted chocolate.
The right word here is Tempered chocolate. This is the action of melting the chocolate to a certain T°, cool it down quickly onto a marble table and bring it up a few degrees to be able to cover the chocolates. This is the technique I needed to learn. It makes the chocolate covering thin and crunchy before the soft centre!
As well as the course, I discovered a new Chocolate, made only by Valrhona.
We all know dark chocolate (from around 60 to 100%!), milk chocolate, white chocolate, (which is mainly cocoa butter with sugar and milk) , but Valrhona have now launched Blond Chocolate. Its basically a white chocolate which reduced and the sugar caramelized turning it blond! It has a caramel and cookie flavours and goes well with salted caramel centre!
Most of my clients over the past winter season have sampled my homemade chocolates to accompany their coffee at the end of Gourmet meals.