Luxury Chocolate Workshop with Red Letter Days – Review

*****Warning – this post contains the word ‘chocolate’*****

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to a chocolate making and tasting workshop by Red Letter Days at My Chocolate. The event was being held at My Chocolate Shoreditch, London. Although, they do have other venues available in London, Brighton and Manchester.

The workshop was ran by two chocolate connoisseurs, one who did all of the demonstrating and one who was preparing the chocolate and utensils for us chocoholics to use on our chocolate making.

I arrived fashionably late due to travel problems, so when by the time I had arrived they were already 20 minutes into the first part of the evening, which was preparing your very own indulgent chocolate martini. I was greeted at the door and was directed to the sink where I washed my hands first and then shown to a table where a few of the other attendees had already began creating the martinis. I believe that were shown a technique called ‘wagging the tail’ where they used a spoon to drizzle melted chocolate over the martini glass to decorate it before mixing up the chocolate vodka in a shaker.

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It tastes as nice as it looked. Very much like Irish Cream. They were creamy, rich and one could definitely drink one after another. What a treat! Very much-needed after the train journey I had just encountered. The smell of indulgent chocolate wafted around the room

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Whilst we gulped sipped at our chocolate cocktails, we all stood around the demonstration desk and watched how to make our very own oil infused large chocolate button.

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We was guided on how to place the chocolate onto the paper and how to infuse it with flavoured oil.  The chocolatiers made a huge milk chocolate heart decorated with dark chocolate, using the ‘wagging the tail’ technique again and then using the other end of the spoon to create a marble effect. The expert made it look so easy!

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Back to the tables we went, ready to create our own masterpiece. I chose to make a four-leaf clover and infused it with lemongrass oil. The oil is very strong and only a couple of drops is needed to add the taste to the chocolate. It was very hard, but I resisted, not to lick the spoon, as we was going to be using them again to do the marbling

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I chose dark chocolate, as that is my favourite – the darker the better! The marbling wasn’t as easy as it looked. I think my finished button looked a bit like a toddlers drawing rather than an exquisite chocolate, it was definitely authentic and handmade.

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By now, the only evidence of our chocolate vodkas was the empty glasses on the table. They were soon replaced with a glass of prosecco.

Once we had made our chocolate slab, we was ready to move on to the next part of the workshop, Truffle making. Now I have attempted to make truffles at home before as presents for the children’s teachers and they were a nightmare to make, I had cocoa all over me. So, I was looking forward to this part of the workshop to find out where I went wrong.

We was shown how to make them first by the expert chocolatiers and a helper from the other attendees and then we was sent back to our tables. For this part of the workshop we had to get into pairs.

Firstly you mix the chocolate with double cream, stirring it quite rigorously until it starts to set and become thicker – this is your Ganache. Then you place it into a piping bag ready to pipe out little chocolate slugs or wizard hats on the parchment paper. Once all of the ganache has finished, you wait for them harden.

This part of the workshop brought lots of giggles to the table as we quickly became aware that out little chocolate ganache slugs looked more like little emoji poops. Although, It didn’t matter what they looked like at this point as they were soon to be moulded into truffles.

Once we got the hang of how to hold and pipe the bag, it was quite easy.

And once they were all done, our glasses got topped up by the very nice lady at My Chocolate with Yet more prosecco

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The evening was definitely activating our tastes buds – chocolate and booze!

The chocolatiers tutor was what really made the experience enjoyable, she was fun, humorous, interactive and full of chocolate knowledge.

Whilst we waited for the Ganache to set we was treated to a talk about the history of chocolate and how it is made. We also got to taste 90% chocolate. We was tested on our taste bud knowledge of recognising dark or milk chocolate and taught on how to feel and smell the quality of a chocolate. High quality chocolate should smell strongly of chocolate and the texture should not be gritty or waxy.

The sound that your chocolate makes when snapped is a good indication of the quality of it. Good chocolate has a clean, crisp, sharp snap when broken and milk chocolate tends to bend, because it contains more sugar and milk

After our little fun lesson in chocolate it was time to get dirty with the truffle making. On the tables was a selection of topping to decorate our truffles with; honeycomb, cocoa powder, coconut, salt, raspberry swirls, white chocolate swirls and berry dust.

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This was definitely the time to get creative, release the chocolate demon in you and dig in. First we rolled our ganache into a ball, then coated them in some cacao powder and then dipped them into more chocolate. Before they set I added some of the toppings. Some of our ganaches were a little on the small side so I added two together and at the same time pressed in some raspberry dust and salt into the middle as a surprise when bitten into.

We made quite a mess of our table

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But it was most definitely a sign of a good time. I really enjoyed the whole evening. We got to wrap up our chocolate creations in some cellophane and ribbon to take home. My chocolate goodies didn’t last long once I arrived home as they were eaten by all in the house. the chocolates were mouth-watering and tastes as good as they smelled

The whole experience lasts for about 2 1/2 hours . It’s a great gift for someone who loves chocolate or even as a hen party. I may add that we did not prepare the chocolate- temper it, as that process takes a while. We did the decorating and producing of the truffles, buttons and martini.

Currently priced at £98 for two people on Red Letter Days Website

I was invited along for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received

 

 

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A perfect weekend in London, Top 5 places to visit

Living so close to the big City has its advantages. We are just a 35 minute tube ride away from entering the City of London and as a family we it is our prefered place to visit for a day out. There is so much to do and see, that every time we visit there is always something new that we haven’t seen before. There is something quite special about London at night-time and we often take a car journey through London just to drive over the Bridges and see the City lit up. The best bridge is Tower bridge as you get to see the Tower of London all lit up and look down the Thames towards the City.

Our top five places to visit in London are:

  • 1.  Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. This place is huge! We have taken our bikes before and cycled around the whole park, It was so nice to cycle through the park on the big wide cycle lanes safely. Summer time is the best time to visit the park as you can cool down your aching, tired feet (from all of the walking) in the Diana Memorial Fountain or you can take a dip in the Serpentine Lido. Keep your eyes peeled for all of the statues spotted around the park. As you walk over the W Carriage Drive into Kensington Gardens, you will be taken back to 1902 and get to meet Peter Pan. The statue is situated along side The Long Water. Once you have met Peter Pan the children can then use their own imagination and creative play in Diana Memorial Playground. The playground was inspired by the stories of Peter Pan to encourage children to explore and follow their imagination. More about our days out here

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  • 2. The National Army Museum. Situated in Chelsea, a 12 minute walk away from Sloane Square station, along Royal Hospital Road. Here you will find a museum that museum that moves, inspires, challenges, educates and entertains. This museum is a favourite of my boys, not only do they get to learn about the story of the British Army and its role in history but a kids zone where children explore aspects of army life from camping to clothing. It includes a dedicated soft-play space for babies, plus arts and crafts, dressing-up costumes, books, interactive toys and a castle fortress.
Photo from littlebird
Photo from littlebird

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  • 3. The Emirates Airline Cable Car. Catch the cable from Emirates Royal Dock or Emirates Greenwich. We took a ride in it from the Docklands side, it was easy to get to from the Royal Victoria station on the Docklands line. Travel across the River Thames in a glass globe and see London from a different perspective with beautiful views and sights below. To add to the breath-taking views there is also an on-board tour as part of the Discovery experience. The audio and visual tour takes you through a series of fascinating hidden stories about the sights of East London. On board, as you travel 90m up above the river, you get to see London’s most famous sights including the 02, Thames Barrier and Royal Docks. A single journey can take up to 10 minutes.

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  • 4. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Made famous for the legacy of the Olympics 2012, The olympic park is now open to visitors to explore and enjoy. In the south of the park you will find a climbing wall, adjacent to the Arena and a little play area

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In the North of the park is Tumbling Bay Playground that features rock pools, sand pits, tall tree houses, and wobbly bridges, as well as slides, swings and plenty of space to run about. It’s like a little magical, mythical, fantasy world where children can play in a natural environment and be creative with their thoughts and imagination. Read about our day out here

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Next door to the Tumbling Playground is the Lee Valley Velo Park where you get to recreate the olympics by trying out the track indoors and outdoors. My boys loved trying out the BMX track.

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  • 5. ST Katherine’s Dock. Live the marina life in London, just a short walk from The Tower of London, you will be amazed at how beautiful this place is. ST Katherine’s Dock is London’s hidden gem, the former dock has been transformed into an elegant marina with abundance of shops and restaurants. This is my sons favourite place to visit, he wrote about it here. Take a stroll around the marina, look at all of the stunning yachts, you may even get to watch one come in through the lock.

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All of the above would make a perfect weekend for us and even better if we got to stay in a Hotel, staying in the centre of London means you get to the top attractions first nd you can fit more into the day. The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington is currently offering 50% off connecting rooms this February, March and April, providing even better value for families. (2015)

Available weekends, and every day during half term and Easter, the hotels Family Fun offer gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with your family whilst enjoying the sights and sounds London has to offer.  You won’t need to worry about breakfast either as full English breakfast is included.
This is Mumofthreemusketeers entry into Tots100 and The Royal Garden Hotel competition to win a five-star stay for the family in the hotel. 
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