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Lindt chocolate course: a special Valentine treat

Did you ever wish you could spend a few hours in a chocolateria, learn more about the secret of chocolate making and surprise your loved ones with your own creation?

I am sure many of you have!

Lindt chocolate heart

Lindt chocolate heart

I had the chance to do just that a few days ago at the new Lindt chocolateria in Kilchberg on the lake of Zurich. What a wonderful idea the renowned Swiss chocolate company had to open a chocolateria!

The chocolateria is only a few months old and was opened at the beginning of November by the CEO, Ernst Tanner, and their Ambassador, tennis champion Roger Federer.

The last few months Lindt has been offering chocolate workshops many times a week. They are still experimenting on what day and time people are the most interested in, but they try to have at least one or two Saturdays each month.

Maitres Chocolatiers Rolf Holenweger and Heinz Schlegel

Maitres Chocolatiers Rolf Holenweger and Heinz Schlegel

If you try out the workshop at various times of the year, you will be making different chocolates. In February for instance there is a special Valentine course, next month it will be a special Easter course, where children can come to make eggs and decorate them. For that event one adult can come with two children of age 5 and above. Lindt will have a special Mother’s Day as well.

After your arrival at the headquarters and a warm greeting by a Maitre Chocolatier, you are brought upstairs to change and to get ready for the course.

To change? Yes you will wear a white outfit with yellow buttons, an apron and a hat. Not only will you create your own chocolates, but you will feel like a real Maitre Chocolatier! And when the group is ready to enter the chocolateria after a photo shooting, the Lindt famous music turns on while the sliding door is being opened.

Ingredients to decorate the pralines

Ingredients to decorate the pralines

You will have a minimum of two hours to show what you can do. Some participants will be more successful than others, but the Maitres Chocolatiers are there to show and help you at all time. Groups form around the well organized spacious tables, about 5 to 6 people with one Maitre Chocolatier.

You soon realize that it is a lot of work to make these delicious truffles and pralinés. Practice makes the master as they say.

But first, it all starts with the Maitres Chocolatiers talking about chocolate and showing the cacao beans and a few techniques like glazing chocolate with a spatula. What is the best one for a couverture? What is milk chocolate made of? They teach you how important it is to have the perfect temperature. Constantly they check with a thermometer the three large containers (6kg each) where the white, milk and dark chocolate is stored. If the chocolate is too cool, it is warmed up  shortly with a hairdryer.

Cacao bean in a Maitre chocolatier's hand

Cacao bean in a Maitre chocolatier’s hand

For Valentine Day, the participants make a big chocolate heart box, many chocolate truffles and various pralinés like the ones “Les Connaisseurs”. While making them, your Maitre Chocolatier teaches you how to spike the truffles with a special fork and how to put a thin layer of chocolate inside of your finished truffles.

Depending on your taste or the one you are offering it to, you can decide if you want white, milk or rather dark chocolate for your creations. You will write on the chocolate after having learned a few tricks, fill in the truffles and decorate with tattoos, hearts, gold and pistachios. While a batch of chocolates cool down in the fridge for about 2o minutes, you work on new ones. You learn to recognize when chocolates are done and the best moment to remove them from the fridge.

No time to lose, time flies by when one has fun and when one is creating so many nice chocolates. Questions are always welcomed and eating chocolates at all time is allowed!

Champagne truffles made in the new Lindt chocolateria

Champagne truffles made in the new Lindt chocolateria

The new Lindt students leave with beautiful boxes filled with Champagne truffles wrapped with a blue ribbon and a large chocolate heart wrapped in a transparent plastic, attached with a red rose. Everything looks so well thought out and so professional as if the new Lindt chocolateria had been opened for a while!

No doubt these chocolate courses would make ideal gift certificates for anyone in the family all year long.

Thank you to the Maitres Chocolatiers Heinz Schlegel and Rolf Holenweger for answering my questions for this article.
 
If you are interested to find out more about the courses and sign up, contact Lindt here.  Also see more of my pictures taken during the course here.

 

Other articles which could interest you are:
Super Roger
What’s new at Lindt in Swizerland?
Video: Roger Federer inaugurates a chocolateria

 
Photo of the week November 17th, 2011

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