Our June meeting was all about CHOCOLATE! It was a taste extravaganza, as the lovely ladies from the London branch of the Mast Brothers took us to flavour town with a talk…and samples of their chocolate making process. Mast Brothers are craft chocolate makers and according to our lovely guest speakers they are a full bean to bar chocolate makers. The roasting process is all done by hand, using similar methods to the Mayans and Aztecs. More exciting than that though was getting to see a full on cocoa pod which was still filled with its pulpy fruit – which honestly looked like an extra from the Alien movies- but it tasted ok. I’m not sure I’ll add it to my weekly fruit intake, but it was exciting to try out the mushy blob!
We learnt about tempering chocolate…all important if you want to avoid bloom on you chocolate… That’s the white stuff you occasionally find out your chocolate that has melted in the sun, and then reset. If you heat and cool chocolate without controlling the temperature the crystallisation of cocoa butter will result in crystals of different sizes (bad crystals) forming. The key crystal is crystal number 5 apparently. 5 is the key for cocoa and coco butter to remain friends!
Aside from amazing flavours, the chocolate is wrapped in the most amazing paper. Totally beautiful designs…. Puts Wonka bars to shame!