Chocolate Tales (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: Varies

Chocolate Tales offers chocolate making classes in many forms - at home, for private events (corporate, showers) and to the public for all ages and occasions.  Currently, their public classes are offered at six locations (3 in Toronto, 1 in Vaughan, 1 in Hamilton and 1 in Burlington) at varying times during the week.  Options include workshops providing you a general overview of chocolate to the more advanced “academy” where you can learn about a specific technique such as tempering, molding, decorating, etc. 
For my class, wanting to attend one on the weekend, I did the general “Classic Chocolate Making Workshop” – the academy ones appear to only be offered during the week.  It’s definitely geared towards someone who’s never done any chocolate making before, at our class only a couple have ever previously tried.  Although, we were able to attend the class on a complementary basis, it will normally cost you $89 ($82 + $7 service fee).  However, Chocolate Tales is currently offering a 45% off discount code on their website.

My session was held at Swansea Town Hall in the Bloor West Village area by High Park.  I was happy with the downtown location as it even had a small parking lot (18 spots) connected to the building that I was able to score a spot.  As a warning, if you enter through the visitor parking lot, you end up in the basement and need to go up to the first floor where the class is located.  I was a bit confused as there was no signage, but luckily there was a lovely lady who knew all about the classes that was able to direct me. 

The Saturday class was fairly busy with approximately 50 people consisting of friends, families, couples and mother/daughter groups of varying ages (from pre-teens to grandmothers). As people were trickling in and finding spots, we were offered a cup of Mayan hot chocolate to begin.   

Before we began making anything, we were given a 10 minute briefing about the history of chocolate, countries of origin and health properties.  The brief lecture was informative, but perhaps a bit long for a 90 minute class.  I appreciate the thought of teaching us to allow us to appreciate chocolate more, but 5 minutes should be sufficient.

Given the short class, we didn’t actually melt and temper the chocolate (these would be learnt in the academy classes) but we were given a demonstration on how to do it and some tips.  From the ganache, a lava cake was made and each of us received a tin to decorate, which would then be baked and ready at the end of class.  This is a thoughtful idea and allows you to have something to snack on at the end of class – unfortunately, mine was more of a brownie than a lava cake but it still delicious. 

Next, we were brought through the concept of flavouring chocolate with spices.  Each table was given samples mixed with cinnamon, ginger and chilli powder to taste.  Everyone seemed to like something different and appreciated finally being able to taste what we came for – chocolate!

After about 45 minutes of everything we finally got to make chocolates … you could see the excitement that we could finally dive in and get our hands dirty.  To start, we were encouraged to dip some marshmallows into chocolate to master the technique of covering them.  It was fairly easy and a good start.

Next, everyone was presented with a piece of chilled ganache and encouraged to use cutters to make shapes or roll balls to cover with chocolate and decorate.  This was definitely the best part of the class and sadly the time seemed so short and it was over.  Certainly, more time should be dedicated to this activity as this is when everyone could laugh, talk and encourage each other.  Our section of the table was quick at making multiple chocolates so much that ran out of tray space.  It more trays could be given so that it’s one tray per two people rather than sharing before four it would really help.  Of course, I understand there may be fridge limitations that are preventing this.

In the end, we washed up and shortly thereafter got our cakes and chilled chocolates (along with a box, paper bag, cellophane baggies and ribbon) to pack up and take home. Overall, it was a productive 90 minutes and I left with my box filled with approximately ten chocolates to taste and share.  My husband benefited the most from my work and enjoyed the chocolates, I tried one of the ganache covered chocolates and it was a decent chocolate (not as luscious as Lindt but not your run of the mill drug store one either). 

As a warning, you likely won’t become a master chocolate maker after taking this introductory course, but gives you an appreciation of how it’s done and the steps.  Of course, if you really enjoy it, that’s when you should sign up for Chocolate Tale’s Academy series to really perfect the techniques and master the craft.  I’ll admit there are many steps and it was more difficult than expected (although fun to try), I think I’ll just stick to letting the experts make these treats for me.

Disclaimer: Unlike most posts, I did not pay for the experience.  Chocolate Tales provided the class experience for me and a friend.    

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