Do me a favour!

I apologise for being absent for many weeks – it’s been incredibly busy, what with planning and making wedding favours for a friend.

Yes! You heard it right! I actually got to make chocolates for real people! For people who were obliged to take home my tiny boxes of delight, and (hopefully) ate the contents (or not – I don’t like those people). Can you tell I’m quite proud of this achievement?

Let me take you into my world for the past two months. My crazy world of chocolate. Thinking of chocolate. Dreaming of chocolate. Noting down recipes for chocolate. Eating copious amounts of chocolate. Starting to really dislike chocolate…

It all began last year, when my friends announced their impending nuptials. Immediately, I leapt at the chance to make their wedding favours, and (thankfully for me), they accepted my offer. However, once the initial excitement wore off, and I really thought about what I had let myself in for, the panic set in. I was required to produce 100 boxes of 2 moulded chocolates, all beautifully decorated and wrapped in organza ribbon – for a wedding in July.

July – one of the hottest months of the year (Gulp).

I started in earnest, researching furiously and finding several ganache flavours that I felt would be appropriate for a summer wedding. I thought I would stick with fruity flavours as the bride-to-be had indicated that she likes these, rather than the spicy ganaches that I was accustomed to making. So a short-list was made, to include Raspberry, Rhubarb, Strawberry and Lemon. After a tasting, the lovely couple decided that their favourites were (drum roll please) Strawberry and Basil, and Lemon. Woo!

So the hard work really began. I finalised my recipes, adding a little more butter and a little less liquid, to ensure that the chocolates stayed fresher for longer. Then a week before the Big Day, I procured the ingredients and made a plan of action. For two long (hot and humid) days before the wedding, I de-hulled, sliced, puréed, tempered, poured, moulded and scraped my way through mountains of strawberries and seas of molten chocolate, before a final flourish with some red colouring. Along the way, I encountered several problems. Primarily, the temperature was too high (at 25 degrees centigrade) which made tempering very difficult. The solution was to temper using Mycryo (powdered cocoa butter) in my living room (whilst watching Wimbledon on the telly), where it is slightly cooler.

Also, I had a pain of a time trying to release my chocolates from the moulds (probably due to my tempering problem). I had made 120 of each flavour, just to ensure that I had plenty available in case some of the chocolates did not come out of the moulds, however, I did not envisage that around 40% would refuse to budge. So to make the experience even more stressful, I spent several hours, checking each mould and tap-tapping them furiously on the kitchen counter, trying to release the stubborn few. Eventually, I managed to get 100 of each flavour out of the moulds, but with hardly any to spare.

The beautiful Blue & Red Floral Boxes were a find at Keylink, and the bride-to-be was instantly drawn to the tiny burgundy accents which matched the colour scheme perfectly. Seeing the finished product on the banqueting tables was a real treat for me, as all the hard work paid off, with plenty of compliments and not one box left behind.

‘A few pictures if you please!’

Oh go on then…

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