A week went by and then it was time to travel to Nora again. The continuing courses start earlier than the first beginner course so I had to book a room at a hostel and sleep there on Friday night. Nora is a tiny little town that shouldn’t be allowed to be called a town because it’s more like a village. There’s lots of nature and wooden houses and everything feels very old-fashioned and Swedish. The hostel I stayed in was tiny, it consisted of two rooms, a utility room and a bathroom. I arrived and went to bed almost immediately and in the morning I got a lift to Chokladskolan from the wonderful hostess.
Just like last time everyone gathered around the table in the dining room and we had a theory lesson that was slightly longer than last time. We were told that there are many people that skip this particular course and that it’s a shame because it’s a course that gives you some very valuable knowledge about how to calculate a ganache recipe with a good shelf life. Many people that do the courses at Chokladskolan are interested in selling the chocolates they will make at home and maybe even start their own company and even these people often don’t take this course. If you’re selling your chocolates you must make sure that they wont go bad!
We were given papers with information about the contents of various things such as sugar and milk fat in different types of couverture chocolates and some information about guidelines that are good to stick to when formulating your own recipes, such as a water content that’s not more than 20%. We were then given some tasks; we had to work out how much of all the different ingredients to put in some different types of ganaches with respect to the content of various compounds that we worked out by checking the percentage of fat, water, sugar and other things in cream, butter, couverture and other ingredients. This sounds complicated but I quite enjoyed it; I’ve done maths similar to this in my biology studies.
Then we set to work, one group were to make a white chocolate ganache with lemon and a milk chocolate ganache with calvados and cassia and one group, my group, were to make two dark chocolate ganaches; one with a raspberry puree and the other with a blackcurrant puree. This involved reducing the purees and thus it was quite time consuming.
The courses after the very first foundation course are quite hectic. Often one group is responsible of one particular thing and the remaining groups are responsible for the other parts that makes up the course contents. This requires you to be able to pay attention and take glances at what the other groups are doing as you’re doing the dishes/moulding your chocolates/reducing your puree/etc to make sure that you’re learning everything you’re supposed to. This is unfortunate in some ways, sometimes you wish there was more time so that you could go through everything a bit slower but if that was the case then the courses wouldn’t fit in so well in busy people’s schedules, they wouldn’t be one day anymore. As long as you really pay attention, listen to the theory bits and read through the papers again when you get back home as well as go through everything in your head a few times then you’re OK. These courses can be whatever you make them, either you pay attention, ask question and re-read the papers at home in order to become a good chocolatier or you don’t pay attention, don’t ask questions and don’t bother with the theory in order to not get much out from taking the courses.
In between all these tasks we tempered chocolate and made the moulded chocolates with it. Ingela showed us how to marble different types of chocolate (dark, milk, white) in the shells to produce a beautiful depth of colour and she also showed us how to use magnetic transfer moulds even though this is something that comes up on course number three and not number two, a nice bonus! We moulded the white lemon filling in dark chocolate shells made with magnetic moulds with lemon transfer sheets on them, the calvados and cassia in white chocolate shells with marbled milk and dark chocolate using tear shaped and egg shaped moulds, the blackcurrant ganache in coloured white chocolate shells using lip shaped moulds and the raspberry filling in white chocolate half spheres that we then put together, rolled in cocoa butter and rolled in freeze dried raspberry powder.
Even though it felt very hectic and busy to me we went overtime by an hour and a half. I think we were all quite tired when we headed back to our homes/rooms. I felt like I’d learnt a lot and had lots more to look into regarding the course content in order to really understand it in depth once I get home to England, because I always want to know more and perfect the techniques.