Earlier in the month, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a class that was all about chocolate…
…chocolate history, cooking with chocolate, chocolate recipes…
It was pretty comprehensive.
The class was hosted by BLT Steak, a swanky restaurant in the hotel of the Ritz Carlton in Charlotte (and in other major cities at the Ritz).
Basically a foodie’s dream.
They didn’t ask me to attend. I asked them.
It was a win-win situation. And I hope all of you bloggers are paying attention out there. If you want to try something or attend something, just ask.
The worst thing that could happen is that they say no. I get invited to a lot of stuff, but a lot of the things I’m really excited to attend were only made possible because I asked the right person if they could get me a press pass.
After “it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission“, my second favorite motto is…
It never hurts to ask.
Another thing you should probably know about me is that I only give good press (usually). I don’t say I loved it if I didn’t love it, I just don’t blog about it. If you hear about it here, I really enjoyed myself, really loved it, would really try/eat/use/buy it again.
If I went or tried it and I didn’t like it, you won’t hear about it here. Unless I’m really outraged, then you’re probably going to hear a bit too much.
Anyway, back to the chocolate class at BLT…
The bartender got us started with some chocolate martini samples.
She was riveting!
I attempted to take notes.
I started off with some coffee.
Nothing goes better with chocolate than coffee. Nothing.
White Chocolate Raspberry Cocktail
We each got a bit of taste, which we sampled from straws from the same glass.
Don’t get grossed out. We all had our own straws and used our finger to plug one end, which allowed us to sample from the other end without sharing germs.
Just a taste.
BLT’s pastry chef Rachel Burns came out to teach us all about the different ways that BLT uses chocolates in their menu.
First we sampled some of the chocolates Rachel uses in her own desserts.
From top to bottom: Unsweetened chocolate, 64% cocoa dark chocolate, milk chocolate, hazelnut and chocolate, and white chocolate.
BLT uses Cacao Berry chocolates for all their desserts.
Next, Rachel showed us how to make truffles, and we got to taste some of her creations.
Count clockwise from left to right: milk chocolate with passion fruit cream center, chocolate ganache rolled in hazelnuts, and chocolate ganache with cayenne rolled in cacao nibs (my favorite).
Rachel explained the entire process for each dish. Some of the most interesting things I learned were:
- Temperature is so important when working with chocolate.
- Milk and white chocolate can be melted at 110 degrees F.
- Dark chocolate can be melted at 115 degrees F.
- The ganache used in truffles are piped onto wax paper with a piping bag by pastry chefs.
- Dark chocolate has to be between 52-100% cocoa to be called dark chocolate
- Milk chocolate is 32-45% chocolate.
- Rachel explained that white chocolate is a form of chocolate, although I’ve heard other sources say that it is not.*
*This resulted in a conversation between my brother and I where we googled the answer and came to no precise answer. It seems to be a matter of opinion. I decided that the deciding factor would be if a person who is allergic to chocolate could eat white chocolate, then it is not truly chocolate. Google’s answer: it depends. Thanks a lot, Google.
The last thing I enjoyed at this ultra chocolaty affair was the dark chocolate mousse (in the spoon) and warm chocolate cake.
I ate every single bite.
It was absolutely glorious.
The dark chocolate mousse looks like Nutella, but puts Nutella to shame. It was so rich and delicious.
The warm chocolate cake was amazing. In my opinion, nothing trumps warm chocolate cake and this version was fudgy in the center, decadent, and didn’t need a stitch of icing.
Can you believe I just said that it didn’t need icing? Trust me, I’m as shocked as you.
This coming from the girl who licked all the icing off a chocolate cake at the age of four then lied about it.
A parting gift.
If you live in the Charlotte area or any of the metropolitan areas where BLT is located, I can’t recommend their classes enough. For an additional $12, you could upgrade to a champagne flight (which I did, of course). The class was informative, fun, and generous with the amount of chocolate offered for tasting (i.e. I didn’t want much dinner).
If you’re looking for a fun, extraordinary way to spend an afternoon, definitely check out the BLT Steak in your area to attend one of their informative culinary classes.
They have a lot more to offer than chocolate, although I don’t know why you would want anything else.