Theo Chocolates is located in Seattle, but they just opened a store at the Bellevue Square Mall. The Seattle location does offer some cooking classes and some free events. The salted toffee class was $35 and it was booked solid. We actually got there about 20 minutes late because traffic was so bad, and totally missed the toffee making presentation. It's a 2 hour class, so we were able to learn a little bit about the chemistry of chocolate and how/why to temper it.
We watched the instructor temper the chocolate by hand for quite some time. But we were able to see the difference of the chocolate before and after tempering. Temper means to cool the melted chocolate to about 80 degrees, then add the cooled chocolate back to the melted chocolate and the two get stirred together to a final temp. of about 88 degrees.
In this photo, look at the square pieces of parchment paper with the chocolate. The left side was dipped into the melted chocolate before the instructor started tempering. It still looks wet by the end. The blob of chocolate was not tempered and set on it's own. The square on the right is the tempered chocolate. It looks nice and smooth. Properly tempered chocolate can last a long time without spoiling. It will look shinier and melt in your mouth easier.
This is the table method of tempering, using a granite or marble slab and metal spatulas. She continuously scraped, turned and spread the chocolate so that it wouldn't set up on the table. Another method is called Seeding-you melt some chocolate bars in a double boiler or microwave, take it off the heat, then stir in some solid pieces of chocolate until it melts and the temp. is between 86-90 degrees. *This is not a complete instruction on how to temper chocolate, just a quick overview.
On the sheet trays above are the toppings we got to use to sprinkle on our chocolate covered toffees. Different kinds of nuts and salts.
|We dipped pieces of toffee in the chocolate. This part was hands on after we watched the whole tempering process. Then added any combination of toppings we liked.|
Once we ran out of toffee, we spread the rest of the chocolate out onto the sheet pan and sprinkled on more toppings. Let it set for a few minutes then cut them into pieces to make chocolate bark.
We packaged up our goodies and got to take them home. These were so amazingly yummy!! I haven't attempted making them by myself yet.
Check out their stores. They have samples to try of their different chocolates. There event calendar lists cooking classes or free events.
We had a lot of fun. My husband was bummed we didn't do this as a date night, but maybe next time. He was definitely happy with all the treats I brought home.