This week we’re chatting to Amy Fenner (Ed’s sister!), who along with Kathy Bates, is one of the two chocolatiers at White Rabbit. Amy heads the production team and so is the perfect person to ask about the artistic side of chocolate making… We’ll do the science bit next week!
Artistically, there are a range of techniques used to make exceptional tasting chocolate look stunning too! Delicate piping work can be used to decorate the chocolate and create lettering or patterns, and textural effects - appealing to both the eyes and the palate - can be created using contrasting chocolates as well as additional ingredients.
Using natural cocoa paints is a colourful means to express your artistic side - spraying, flecking, or painting the surface of the chocolate to adorn your creation. Moulds can also be adorned this way, resulting in a final cast enhanced with fine detailing. Additionally, more complicated chocolate ‘sculptures’ can be constructed using smaller individual pieces, which are built up to create three dimensional shapes without the use of moulds.
Before you can start being ‘arty' with chocolate - producing beautiful piped writing or crafting larger scale pieces - it is essential that the chocolate is the correct consistency. This involves tempering (more on that next week) and manipulating the liquid chocolate so it is easier to work with and produces the quality results we are looking for. This takes both expertise and practise.
So can anyone do it? Well, not quite, you’ll need to learn a few things beforehand… To become a Master Chocolatier, you have to be trained by one. Amy and Kathy - both Beverley born and based - were trained by Amy’s Mum, Sally Hawkes, herself a Master Chocolatier. These skills are rare in this area, and we are very fortunate to have such expertise in Beverley! It’ll take about one year to learn all the practical and theoretical sides of chocolate making - from capping truffles to developing the physical strength necessary! It also helps to spend time working with other chocolatiers to improve your skills, learn new techniques and try out new ideas!
Considering the taste of your creations is also important (and certainly the most indulgent!), ensuring the chocolate has the right flavour and mouth feel/texture. This is certainly true of truffles - fruity ones or otherwise. Pairing ingredients for truffle fillings requires experimentation and patience to achieve the right recipe - not just palatable but delicious. The flavour of the filling also has to complement the chocolate coating of the truffle, and there are many different chocolate origins and percentages to choose from.
On a final, tasty note, White Rabbit have entered the 2019 Beverley Food Festival Great Taste Competition. They’re keeping their entries under wraps, so watch out for them on the 6th October!
Produced by Lara Blythe and Amy Fenner