Recently, I participated in a Chocolate Programme through Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts, which took place in Northern Italy.
Many people believe that Italy is not known for its chocolates, however, the Piemonte region is Italy's chocolate capital and is coined as the place where Gianduja Chocolate was created. Also prevalent here are hazelnuts and pistachios which are used frequently in the chocolates throughout the region. There is also a big French influence which means that there are many classic forms of truffles; I sampled pistachio, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate truffles to name a few!
My journey started in Torino - this part of the programme was spent tasting and touring Guido Gobino’s chocolate factory and retail stores. Here we tasted different types of Gianduja, as well as a bonbon called the Cremini which is made up of three layers of ganache. The Cremini is also said to have originated in the Piemonte region.
After eating way too much chocolate, we hit the road heading towards Lecco which is located on the other side of Lake Como. Here we Toured ICAM Chocolate factory, and the chocolate tasting continued. ICAM is a company which is family owned and focuses on building relationships with the cacao farmers which helps with quality, but more importantly means that the farmer is being treated fair.
Next, we hit the classroom. Here we learned how to create centres, enrobe, temper and garnish chocolates from Chef Riccardo Magni and his brother Chef Mario Magni. This part of the programme was a lot of fun, and a great learning experience. We made many different types of chocolates from tiramisu to espresso.
This season at Arowhon Pines I am hoping to introduce some chocolates such as Truffles and the Cremini, which will be able to withstand the warmer temperatures during the summer. Overall, I had a great experience and learned a lot about chocolate production from the farm to the factory. Most importantly this course increased my love for everything chocolate, and I am looking forward to experimenting with some new chocolate recipes this season!
See you soon!
Heather Mordue, Baker, Arowhon Pines