Lessons 83-86: For the Love of Chocolate

I knew I would fall in love again.

Let me rephrase — I knew I wouldn't leave pastry school as frustrated with chocolate as I was as I tempered, filled molds and retempered chocolate during the past month or so. All it took was a chance to spread my creative wings to embrace the magic of chocolate. As you know, designing and assembling showpieces made of chocolate and accessorized with a variety of chocolate, sugar or pastillage, was next on our agenda.

I decided the Valentine’s Day–themed showpiece must include a broken heart, naturally. Considering this is the first time in five years I actually have a boyfriend to share Valentine's Day with, it was an odd choice, but I had to move forward with my design. I loved looking around the kitchen and watching each of my classmates working on different things.

Aside from the standard requirements, Chef Kathryn set for the showpiece — a sphere between at least two 6" discs with an S-curve rising from the top disc — we were free to create a unique piece with our partner. There were music, birds, flowers, and keys to unlock a heart and of course, the broken heart. I found it so fun to think about the various techniques that could be used to make the heart. Should it be a chocolate cutout? Or maybe a poured sugar sand drawing? Should I pull sugar or use a mold? Will it come out best using modeling chocolate?

All around the classroom, different techniques were being used. Jen was rolling and cutting birds and a scroll from pastillage. Ivana was piping a beautiful heart with ultra-hot sugar. Megan and Martha were pouring purple and pink colored sugar over ice cubes, not even certain if the resulting sugar piece would have a place on their showpiece.

In the end, we each created markedly different pieces from the same basic elements and presented our pieces to family and friends. I think it’s so funny when people look at what we create and say, “Wow, I would never be able to do that!” The truth is there is no way that I ever imagined I would be able to successfully assemble a chocolate showpiece in four lessons. But it's possible. Just as possible as it was for me to fall in love again. Next up: We kick off our final course with our last written exam (yes!) and begin shaping fruits, vegetables and more out of marzipan!

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