Saturday 7 November 2015

A chocolate making let down

Last weekend Jasmin and I attended a chocolate making class in Paxton Chocolate in trendy Shoreditch. This was one of Jas' 30before30 experiences and I was happy to help out with ticking it off! 

After booking the class, we didn't get any instructions sent to us about the class, I only had a reciept to prove I'd paid. I would have expected an email with travel instructions and things we might need on the day - or just to say that we don't need to bring anything. Anyway, using our own initiative we found the shop on the Saturday.

The class started well. The classroom was in the basement of the shop, quite compact but well equipped. Our teacher was friendly and all seemed good. Seven people were scheduled to come, although one person didn't turn up at all. 

Our first demonstration was ok, our teacher gave us a demonstration, and then we were given time to do it for ourselves. We melted the chocolate over a double boiler, warmed some cream and then mixed it all together with some cognac. This we poured onto a metal baking tray and put in the fridge to set.

We were then supposed to make hand-rolled truffles. However, when the ganache we were to use came out of the fridge, it hadn't set. So handling it and rolling it into balls was impossible. At this point I felt bad for our teacher. It was clearly quite an embarrassing thing to happen, since she had made the ganache the night before and explained to us that she must have used incorrect measurements. As we couldn't do this part of the class, and our chocolate mixture had only just gone into the fridge and needed more time to set, we basically had nothing to do but wait. 

After switching our baking trays into the freezer to try and speed the process up, we had a practise of piping the gone-wrong ganache into spare chocolate cups. This in itself was ok, piping isn't the easiest thing so it was good to have a go. What I didn't realise was, that this was exactly what we were going to do with our own chocolate. 

So after doing this is a big group, we then split into our pairs, took out our chocolate from the fridge and started the whole process again. After filling more cups, organising these into a box and tying a ribbon around it, we were done.

I was really disappointed with this experience. Although this was a simple mistake that isn't something deliberate. Our chocolate making class, costing £35, to learn how to pipe and make hand rolled truffles ended up being half of what we were promised. I really thought our teacher would offer an alternative for us to take with us - since we had paid for two different chocolates to take away from the class. At the end of the class however, she quite awkwardly stood by waiting for us to leave. Barely even acknowledging that we'd missed out, except to admit this hadn't happen in any of her other classes. So we left knowing that everyone else who'd been had recieved double what we had.

I've contacted the shop to explain what happened at our class and hope that they come back with a solution to raise my opinion of the company. So far I just feel short changed.

This was us with our gloves on, ready for the hand-rolled truffle making...

Edit: I contacted Paxton Chocolate to explain our experience and how disappointed we were and they immediately offered us a 50% refund on our class fee.
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