Chocolate Academy, Chicago

Have you ever thought of enrolling in a Chocolate Academy? Seriously, learning about chocolate and it’s many properties and uses?  Barry Callebaut USA LLC is the place for you. Located in Chicago they offer classes for any level of experience.

Of the many courses available there is one specific for the non-professional: This is what their website says “Due to an increasing demand from the general public Barry Callebaut has created a series of short courses designed for none professionals fascinated in the history and the application chocolate. An assortment of courses allow the participant to understand the origin of the cocoa bean and its conversion into chocolate, how to use chocolate in the kitchen and how to delight friends and relations with simple chocolate creations.”

Callabaut chocolate bonbons

Course topics you can enroll in are:

Custom Bonbons: August 23rd-25th. Coming up soon so get signed up! You will be taught how to use the proper tools, techniques, and methods to be able to create your own fun creations.

Advanced Chocolate Showpiece: August 29th -September 1st. Showcasing tips and tricks for creating your own master centerpiece.

Petit Gateaux, Tarts and Entremets: September 20th-22nd. Techniques, finishes and flavours to create your own small pastries.

Playful Chocolate Figurines: September 27th- 28th.  This course will cover everything from how to do molding and casting, to experimenting with colorful cocoa butter, and how to use these skills to build your own creations.

Snack Attack: October 17th – 19th. You’ll learn to make a wide variety of multi-layered bars and tablets using both basic and advanced panning with different textured and flavored centers such as nuts, caramel, praline, dried fruits, and cereals.

Discovering Chocolate: Oct 3-6, Nov 7-10, and Dec 12-15. This course is hands-on  and  will help any beginner master crystallization techniques, dipping and molding, as well as introduce you to ganache and emulsion.

So, if you were wondering what you were going to be doing on those cool fall weekends this is the place to be. Sign up at I am a huge fan of Barry Callaebaut chocolate and would recommend the courses to anyone who loves chocolate!



Chocolate Loves Coffee

Do you love coffee? Do you love chocolate? Just put them together and you have the best mocha flavor in town! The biggest thing to look at when pairing coffee and chocolate is the ingredient list. Really?

If cocoa is not the first ingredient listed on your chocolate . . put it back! If you see “food coloring” or “high fructose corn syrup” in the list of ingredients . . put it back! Now, for fun try a blind taste test with a premium chocolate and one that contains the previously mentioned ingredients. Can you tell the difference? Which do you like better?

To blend chocolate and coffee together is just heavenly. Think Tiramisu. The base is made from ladyfingers soaked in coffee, topped with a mascarpone mixture and topped with cocoa powder and shaved chocolate. Another great way to blend the two flavors is to grind a spoonful of cocoa nibs (try Scharffen Berger), put them in your coffee filter with you coffee granules and brew. Just a note if you are not familiar with cocoa nibs, they are actually cocoa beans, separated from their husks, roasted and then broken into small bits. They are the true essence of chocolate.scharfenbergernibs

Of course, dark chocolate in and of itself can have some very strong coffee undertones. The two products have a lot in common since they are similar parts of the plant, grown in similar climates, roasted on similar machinery. Some easy double-caffeine fixes can be found in truffles, bonbons, and the ever humble chocolate-covered coffee bean. If you have never tried chocolate covered coffee beans it is a treat to behold.

Whether you are a fanatic about coffee and chocolate or not, one thing for sure it is a blend of the two will make you smile.,