The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - AGONY UNCLE -

Ahappy spin-off from the bur­geon­ing craft choco­late rev­o­lu­tion that con­tin­ues to sweep the na­tion is an ever-grow­ing num­ber of choco­latemak­ing cour­ses. It is very hard not to en­joy a choco­late-mak­ing course, no mat­ter the qual­ity, since all in­volve melt­ing the stuff, play­ing with it and – in­evitably – eat­ing quite a lot of it. But the higher the skill-level of the choco­latier do­ing the teach­ing, and the bet­ter the qual­ity of the in­gre­di­ents, the more the pupil will learn and en­joy.

At the top of the teach­ing tree are choco­latiers with an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion, great fa­cil­i­ties and im­pec­ca­bly sourced in­gre­di­ents: Paul A Young in Lon­don, for ex­am­ple, and Duffy Shear­down in glam­orous Cleethor­pes fit the bill – and so does So­phie Jewett in the beau­ti­ful city of York, birth­place of that Christ­mas clas­sic the Terry’s Choco­late Or­ange.

Seven years ago Jewett founded York Co­coa House, a charm­ing low-beamed em­po­rium close to the min­ster where she and her col­leagues make and sell lovely cho­co­lates us­ing re­spon­si­bly sourced co­coa. The new York Co­coa Works, a five-minute walk away, teaches the craft as well.

Here in a bright teach­ing kitchen, pupils are given charge of their own mar­ble slabs to learn the fine art of tem­per­ing, smooth­ing and scrap­ing choco­late it as it cools to change its chem­i­cal struc­ture and make it more glossy, smooth and de­lec­ta­ble.

Here, too, they can learn to make a gor­geous ganache, the com­bi­na­tion of choco­late with cream and choice flavour­ings that is at the heart of a grand filled choco­late, and they can com­pare – as I did – choco­late made in the fac­tory with beans from all over the world, to learn more about the im­por­tance of a co­coa’s ori­gin to its flavour and tex­ture.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to leave with­out en­hanced en­thu­si­asm – as well as left­overs! Choco­late les­sons are the gift that keeps on giv­ing.

Work­shops at all lev­els, from choco­late lol­lipops to master choco­latier; lol­lipop mak­ing, from £3.75; Christ­mas Choco­late Work­shops, from £22.50; york­co­coa­; 3 Blake Street, York, YO1 8QJ


Tast­ing events and work­shops in Winch­ester, Swan­age, Ex­eter and Hor­sham;


Choco­late Ex­pe­ri­ences in­clude tast­ing ad­ven­tures and choco­late lock-ins in Cam­bridge, Can­ter­bury, Leeds and Lon­don; hotel­choco­lat. com.

An­drew Baker

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