Today I attended a chocolate making workshop at ANJALICHOCOLAT. This is actually a chocolate retail boutique located at Loewen Road (Dempsey) and they have a kitchen next door where chocolate making workshops are conducted. This place is unique because the location is entirely standalone (not even part of a shop house or building) which makes it feel not so typical Singapore. Frankly, the location is not very accessible and you will need a car with good GPS to get there if it’s your first time. I would recommend driving or taxi definitely. Otherwise, you could take is as good exercise walking from the nearest bus stop since you’ll need the exercise after indulging in chocolates!
ANJALICHOCOLAT retail boutique
I mean it when I said standalone. Was kind of shocked to see this because it’s so rare to find something like that in Singapore!
Temper, the chocolate making kitchen studio
This studio is still very new and they only just conducted their first class last week. I was quite excited for this session because personally, I love making chocolates as much as I love eating them.
I’ve attended a hands-on chocolate making workshop before at a community center years ago and I bought a few chocolate making supplies and even a professional recipe book thereafter to experiment on my own. So far I’ve only made chocolates 3 times in 4 years because it’s a very messy process and quite time consuming. Here are some of my previous works anyway:
Details about my handmade chocolates are on my Facebook page. Follow if you haven’t already!
Chocolate making is totally different from baking. No oven is involved and the entire place is kept cool, because chocolates are sensitive to heat as you all know. Therefore this chocolate workshop studio has no oven! The studio is really small but the space was very well designed and it was very well equipped with all the necessary apparatus required for chocolate making.
Stuff required for chocolate making include heat proof bowls, trays, baking paper, spatulas, heating hot plates, pots, strainers and all these were placed in the cabinets and drawers below each working station. The neat mise en place made the process of making chocolates much easier. Whenever I made chocolates at home I get really disorganized because I’m always lacking the tools within reach whenever I needed them. Chocolate gets smeared all over place it’s not even funny. The thoughtful layout of this studio makes the process of chocolate making way more enjoyable than my nerve wrecking experience experimenting at home.
Anjali pictured above with the thoughtful mise en place for the workshop
Anjali, the trainer, is very knowledgeable in this field and she answered some of my queries with technical and scientific explanations which I really appreciate. I personally dislike things explained in layman term because I love technical details. She then proceeded to demonstrate the making of classic dark chocolate truffles. Truffles are more decadent than normal chocolate bars and the melt in the mouth texture is something which everyone will love. Ever heard of anybody who dislikes Royce’s famous nama chocolates? But you probably didn’t know that it is actually not difficult to make.
Truffles are made with chocolate, cream (35-38% fat) and butter. It is then tossed in cocoa powder to finish. Anjali also explained that glucose/ HFCS is used sometimes in chocolate truffles only if shelf life is required. Since this is for personal consumption (and really, it will disappear before you know it), addition of glucose/ HFCS is unnecessary because those are not added for taste or texture purposes.
Here’s the simple steps for chocolate truffles:
- Heat the chocolate in a bain-marie (not touching the water) until melted. A microwave oven can be used as well.
- Heat the cream in a sauce pan until warm but not boiling (~80⁰C).
- Mix the warm cream and chocolate together until well mixed.
- Add in the butter and mix well.
- Chill in the fridge for a while.
- When semi solid, pipe small amounts onto a tray lined with baking paper and return to the fridge.
- When it is quite solid, roll the ganache into balls.
- Toss in cocoa powder.
Note: Typically if you use dark chocolate, you use cream in 1:1 ratio to the chocolate. For milk chocolate, it is 2:3. For white chocolate, it would be 1:2.
This is what the ganache looks like, before chilling and shaping into truffles.
Thereafter, we were left to think of our own creation for our hands on experience in making chocolates! You could make bon bons (molded chocolates with fillings), truffles or filled chocolates with pre molded balls.
This is the machine for keeping tempered chocolate warm. Chocolates have to be tempered before molding to remain solid at room temperature. Non tempered chocolates will melt easily. Here they use good quality Belgian chocolate like Belcolade and Callebaut (which I also used for my chocolates this year) and that’s the basic key to great tasting chocolate (I learnt the hard way..). I am no connoisseur (yet) but I know it when cheap inferior chocolate is being used but of course none of that was seen in this studio.
The flavours you could experiment with are endless as the kitchen is well supplied with all sorts of ingredients. The fennel, lemongrass and star anise was really unusual and I would love to use that but probably next time when I am an expert with chocolate.
Roasted macadamia nuts
These tasted so good. I could imagine how well this could go with white chocolate…
They have more ingredients not pictured here which can potentially work to be a cool flavour for chocolates like rum, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, desiccated coconut etc. Basically you can request for any flavour you like and they could prepare it beforehand for you to work with should you attend their workshop. I love the flexibility here! Of course, if you can’t think of any flavours yourself, they will provide existing recipes for you.
Personally, like ice cream, I like to be surprised with unique flavours of chocolates. Do seize the chance to try something new if you were to make your own chocolate.
After discussion with my group mates, we decided on coconut white chocolate truffle and earl grey milk chocolate truffle.
For the coconut white truffle, the ganache was made with Thai coconut cream instead of regular dairy cream! I was so surprised to hear that this was possible. Desiccated coconut was added inside the ganache. Suggested by Anjali, we added some clear Barcardi rum into our ganache later on. The ganache was then chilled and the piped into white chocolate shells.
For the earl grey truffle, warm cream was infused with premium earl grey tea leaves (smells so good) and strained out before adding into melted milk chocolate. It is chilled before rolling and dusting with cocoa powder. It is simple but that makes the earl grey flavour stand out.
Here are my creations in the foreground with other groups’ in the background.
Really satisfied with the chocolate making session today! The class was conducted professionally and the ingredients used were of good quality. It was worth missing a day of Hot Flow Yoga for and very few things in life are actually worthy of that.
Chocolate making workshops are available to public for $175. You could also arrange your own group to have a session here as this place is also available as an event space by contacting them for details. The studio can take a maximum of 12 people at once so you will get lots of personal attention from trainers.
I highly recommend learning to make your own chocolates because this is the only way to have a stash of chocolate at home without breaking the bank (quality chocolate I mean. Not those dairy milk “chocolate”.) In fact, chocolate making is my favourite amongst baking/ cooking/ etc. I can’t explain the gratification I get seeing the chocolates coming nicely out of the mold.
If you really rather just eat than make chocolates, you can purchase ready-made chocolates from the retail store.
In Belgium and France such chocolate boutiques are everywhere but in Singapore it’s uncommon and more so for local brands. We probably only know of foreign brands like Godiva or Royce when looking to purchase artisan chocolates but I’m happy to know that ANJALICHOCOLAT is a local brand of handmade chocolates which is up to standard!
P.S. Their website is still under construction so for now they are only available online via Facebook.