[personal profile] vynehorn
Just got back from a fun day at Old Sturbridge Village, taking a class on Antique Chocolate Processing. There were only four students, including an OSV student that had not yet learned about chocolate processing. We learned a bit about the biology of the chocolate plant (3 different types), and the history of chocolate use and the discoveries of the different finishing processes, and then we got down to work. While I was taking my class at the Bullard Tavern (in a lovely room with 3 fireplaces that they use for special occasions), [livejournal.com profile] kls_eloise was taking a basket weaving class at the Museum Education Center which looked like a lot of fun.

We split into two groups of two. My partner and I roasted the beans, winnowed them (removed the outer, papery shell), and then ground them on the warm matate (volcanic stone grinding tool) with the mano (kind of a pestle to the matate's mortar). That took quite some time, and while we were doing that, the other team was doing some baking. Once we ground the chocolate to a smooth liquid with very little grit, we decanted the chocolate into cakes on pieces of paper (chocolate puddles, really).

After lunch, we came back and I grated several previously made chocolate "cakes" for use in the recipes. We made a chocolate cookie that was composed of egg whites, sugar, and grated, melted chocolate. Our recipe used double the amount of chocolate that was used by the other team, so we could taste the difference. All agreed that we liked the double chocolate version best. We also made a biscuit with no chocolate in it that we ate with the chocolate drinks. These were baked using the tin reflector oven.

We made three different types of hot chocolate drink. The first was plain chocolate, sugar, and water, and was fantastic. The chocolate was such a deep, rich flavor - I've never had such a wonderful hot chocolate. The second drink had cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper in it. You tasted the nutmeg at first, and then the cayenne. Very tasty. The final drink was cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla added to the sugar/chocolate mix, and this was also very good. The plain was my favorite, but I liked the vanilla one very well.

[livejournal.com profile] kls_eloise joined us towards the end of the class, as her class had finished early, and helped consume some of our efforts, but we still all left with an embarassing number of cookies, as well as our chocolate "cakes" and recipes for what we made. I'm still in a sugar/chocolate coma, so I'll be bringing the cookies into work in order to prevent further consumption on my part. It was great to try the process from scratch, but I have to admit that I'm relieved to discover that Ghiradelli is now selling a bar of 100% cacao, which means that I can make these tasty recipes again without having to make my own period chocolate. Yay!

As always, Old Sturbridge Cillage offered a great class that was worth every penny. This was the third one I've taken there, and I highly recommend them to anyone.
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