Cooking classes are high up on the list of things I want to do more of. I live very close to Harts Barn Cookery School, and when my friend suggested we sign up for one of their classes I immediately said yes. With it being Christmas, Harts Barn were running lots of festive classes, and Christmas Boozy Truffles sounded right up our street.
I’ve not taken many cooking classes before (hence why I want/need to do more of them). I had attempted to make truffles once before at home without much success so was really looking forward to this class. The aim was to learn a basic truffle mix, then be able to create different variations by adding alcoholic flavourings, dips and decorations. We’d be able to take home a box of our creations as well as the knowledge to make truffles at home.
On Sunday morning Helen and I arrived at the Cookery School for our class. I’d not been to Harts Barn before at all, despite driving past it all the time. It’s a beautifully rustic craft centre with little shops, a tea room and local businesses. The Cookery School is a big open kitchen that also feels homely at the same time.
The worktops were set up for all the attendees with the equipment we’d need for the class. There was plenty of time for a cup of tea or coffee and a chat with the others before our teacher, Yvette, started the class.
We all gathered around the worktops to find out what was going to happen that morning. There were plenty of printed recipes for different kinds of truffles: Baileys, Stout, Gin & Tonic and White Chocolate & Strawberry, for example. Yvette explained that we would first make up the basic mix using the recipes, and then each pair would concentrate on one type of flavouring. We picked them out of a hat, and Helen and I got Gin & Tonic Truffles.
All the ingredients we needed were laid out for us, so everyone got stuck in to making their basic truffle mix and adding the flavourings. Melting chocolate, stirring in cream and splashing in booze really is good fun!
The mixes were left to set in the fridge. Yvette was always on hand to give advice. Our G&T mix had way too much gin in it (oops!) so had to set for a lot longer. In fact it didn’t set at all thanks to the gin content (it needed 24 hours really) but Yvette showed us a way to deal with this….more on that later.
After a truffle rolling lesson, everyone got stuck in to the messy but strangely satisfying job of trying to form attractive shapes out of the chocolate.
Because of the stickiness of the mix, it’s a lot harder than I thought! The good thing about it though is that the mess is completely edible.
Yvette showed us how to dip, cover and decorate the truffles. The possibilities really are endless for decorating them. I love the ones which are just rolled in cocoa powder. I also love the glossiness of the ones dipped in chocolate. Decorations ranged from gold sprinkles to freeze dried raspberries to pistachios.
How beautiful are these? They are not mine, I hasten to add 🙂
After the too-much-gin incident, Yvette showed us how to encase a too-runny truffle mix in a chocolate shell. This worked perfectly and was a great solution to the time constraints.
Part of the class was also a delicious lunch. While we were making truffles, assistant Colin was busy behind us making our lunch. He made the most delicious pea and mint soup. We all sat down for a lovely lunch with plenty of bread and butter, followed by mince pies. Colin brought in jugs of hot chocolate and we were able to splash in some booze too for a winter warmer.
The food and hot chocolate were delicious. These had been whipped up from the ingredients that happened to be in the fridge at the time, which I loved. It was just like being invited to a friend’s house for lunch.
It was a great morning and I learned a lot from Yvette. She was very knowledgeable about chocolate, baking and generally anything we asked her! It was a really friendly, informal class and we all took home a box of beautiful truffles. We also got to take home the extra truffles in little bags, tied up as Christmas gifts.
I really recommend the classes at Harts Barn Cookery School. This one was £25 which included lunch, all ingredients and the truffles we took home. It was a lovely atmosphere in a beautiful setting, and we learned a lot from it. I’ll definitely be signing up for another one in future.
(This post isn’t associated with Harts Barn in any way. I just wanted to write about the class I went to 🙂
Have you been to Harts Barn?
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