11 December 2010

Two For The Road : Christmas Chocolate

Today is the day Mr. B. attended his first course in the world-renowned culinary school Le Cordon Bleu. This is one of the highlights of our European trip which Mr. B. has been planning for a long time. So I shall give him the chance to tell his story in this post. I hope you all enjoy it.

The Le Cordon Bleu Paris campus had a very simple facade. So simple one could very well miss it when not looking attentively. The Christmas Chocolate class started at 8.30 in the morning with a simple breakfast of coffee, Danish and orange juice for a chance for students to mingle around.

The class started at 9.00am with a French pastry chef Daniel Walter, an English interpreter and many helper chefs ready to take orders anytime. After explaining the basics of chocolate, we proceeded in making our own. The class was supposed to work in a team of two, but since there was odd number of people, I had the opportunity to have all the utensils and ingredients to myself.
We made several items in the course of the day:

Muscadine - A combination of praline, cream, milk chocolate, honey, cocoa butter and a dash of Cointreau, piped to a long log, refrigerated, cut into 2-inch pieces, dipped in dark chocolate then rolled in powdered sugar. This was one of the more laborious item to do.

Mendiant - Dark chocolate ring topped with one each of raisin, candies orange peel, toasted almond, toasted hazelnut, toasted pistachio and walnut. This is not as difficult but one needs to work really, really fast to top the fruits and nuts before the chocolate hardened (which was quite fast).

Orangette - This is the reason why I took the class, but was a bit disappointed when we were given candied oranges instead of teaching us how to "candy" them. The main challenge therefore is in the "dipping" technique which would take a lot of practice.

Losanges Pistache - Pistachio paste rolled into marzipan (a very messy thing to do), delicately rolled and cut into identical sizes and thickness then coating the resulting marzipan with dark chocolate before topping with a whole roasted pistachio.

Ganache Framboise - The ganache is made with raspberry puree, dark chocolate, cream, sugar and butter then piped into tiny cups before dusting with ground pistachio. This one is fun to do if one knows how to use the "pipe".

Marrons Glaces - This is not really chocolate but delectable chestnut in vanilla syrup dipped in white fondant resulting in something so sweet that even the American students couldn't eat a whole piece.

Lunchtime was fun when all students dine in one long table and feasted on terrine, salad, avocado shrimp, bread and wine. Aside of the few who are local, most of the students were on holidays. Since none of us were professionals, we all had fun during the entire class, laughing at our mistakes and messing ourselves with chocolate.

It was a good day.



Anonymous said...

The course looks great! must be interesting.
Looking forward to see more photos sharing about the yummy food ^^

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you have a wonderful course.
Is Muscadine a kind of grape?
Why do I not see grapes in the ingredients?
Does Master B explain it?


Becker said...

dear panda, i asked mr. b. if he is taking classes on bamboo recipe. he said no. do you eat chocolates?? dear d. : we miss you very much!!! muscadine is a type of grape, yes. but muscadine is also a type of chocolate confectionery made of praline covered in dark chocolate and dusted with powdered sugar. they are the ones in the box with odd shapes because mr. b. cannot get it in the right shape!! there is no grape in the recipe.

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