You know you’re in for a sweet experience as soon as you enter the room at the Elephant & Castle Pub where the Boston Chocolate Workshop is held — the women who check you in immediately hand you a cup of (very good) hot chocolate.
“I eat chocolate every day,” says pastry chef Dorian McCarron, who leads the 2½-hour class. McCarron, who “slayed the chocolate round” on the Food Network’s “Sweet Genius” show, says he hasn’t gone a single day in 15 years without eating chocolate. “Chocolate is a super food. It is high in antioxidants; it can lower your cholesterol; and it can make you happy. It’s nature’s Lipitor and Prozac all in one.”
McCarron, former pastry chef at Coriander, is preaching to the choir as he demonstrates how to temper chocolate and make a ganache flavored with Earl Grey tea. Dressed in chocolate brown, with a long braided beard, McCarron shares the history and science of chocolate with his students, handing out cocoa beans, nibs, and samples of milk and dark chocolate as visual (and edible) aids.
When McCarron asks if anyone has ever had a bad experience trying to make chocolate, several hands go up. Much as we all love chocolate, it can be devilishly tough to work with, all agree. McCarron reveals how to “seed” chocolate, why “dip and stir, dip and stir” is a useful technique, and how to make a ganache (“which means ‘imbecile’ in French,” he notes) that tastes like Froot Loops cereal. Soon, everybody gets into the act, rolling truffles and making molded chocolate cups to fill with ganache. Things get a bit chaotic at the station where students dip their truffles in milk or dark chocolate.
McCarron’s rules: no double-dipping, no licking the (communal) dipping tool, and no sneaking away if you lose your truffle in the chocolate bath. “If a truffle falls off the dipping tool, don’t walk away. Say, ‘Dorian, truffle down!’ ” McCarron says.
You’ll leave the class with recipes and a box of handmade chocolates — not picture-perfect, perhaps, but plenty tasty. Through June 22, $65.
BOSTON CHOCOLATE WORKSHOP 161 Devonshire St., 781-784-7469, www.bostonchocolatetours.com.