Something For The Weekend: Chocolate Therapy

Why buy truffles when you could turn chocolate chef in the space of a couple of hours?

MOST POPULAR

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, but teach a man to fish...

You know how the saying goes, of course.

I don't mean to be trite about a proverb that's often used in a very serious context, but for me, chocolate is a very serious subject.

Not only is chocolate extremely delicious in all its various forms (except fruit and nut - offer me fruit and nut at your own peril, you've been warned), but it's also good for the soul.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Dark chocolate is a mood-booster thanks to its antioxidants, but chocolate is also a supremely sociable treat. The number of times I've snuggled up with my housemates, a kettle of herbal tea, a movie and a bar of 70% Lindt are countless.

So, in the vein of teaching myself to fish, I decided to enrol myself (and a few friends - the more of us that can do it the better the chance of constant supply, right?) in a chocolate truffle making course taught by chocolatier Lisa Marley of The Cocoa Box.

MOST POPULAR

And it was hilarious, I thoroughly recommend it. As well as the obvious bonus of having several dozen truffles to take home each at the end of our two hour session, we also had the most brilliant laugh piping out turd-like chocolate logs and turning them into (mostly) beautiful, finely decorated creations, all the while getting seriously messy.

The chocolate martinis that Lisa supplied us with on arrival didn't hurt either.

After our workshop, I caught up with Lisa to find out a little about how she stumbled on such a rewarding and delicious career.

Here's what she had to say:

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

What's so 'feel good' about chocolate?

Chocolate for me is one of life's pleasures. It is also extremely versatile and a joy to work with. I genuinely love chocolate, cooking with it, eating it and talking about it.

How did it all come about?

I have been teaching workshops for over ten years and running The Cocoa Box for around 8 years. I worked as a television presenter for many years and found that the precariousness of the profession unsettling over time. I have always loved food, cake and chocolate in particular. When I was younger, I was obsessed with cooking shows and grew up watching Delia, Rick Stein and Keith Floyd.

I finally decided to do what I love and I set up the Cocoa Box. We launched with Lastminute.com and became the biggest selling experience that year. I went on to train as a chef, then a pastry chef and I now get to do exciting work like develop recipes for the Morphy Richards App, film for Tesco Real Food as well as working as a creative consultant for Unilever.

Getting a smell for the chocolate before we made our own

How can you make chocolate part of a healthy lifestyle?

I'm finding more and more of my friends are turning Vegan and/or cutting out sugar.

I understand it's important to eat healthily and exercise, so I have been forced to invent ways to eat chocolate while keeping it relatively healthy.

Obviously, every now and then you can eat an indulgent chocolate cake but on a daily basis, I will make something like raw chocolate coconut bites. They are packed with goodness, but they still feel quite decadent.

I love also love banana pancakes with chocolate shavings. Three ingredients ( banana, egg white and one square of dark chocolate) and it's a breakfast you will eat again and again!

What's the best thing about watching people get creative and messy in your workshops?

I love the fact everyone is always in a good mood. We like to create a fun, relaxing and decadent atmosphere. We know that the guests who wouldn't normally cook or make anything in the kitchen will take away beautiful cupcakes or delicious truffles. I like the fact people have a sense of achievement. I meet so many great people and have taught literally 1000s of guests over the years.

For more information or to book a workshop, click here.

Read Next: