You may have noticed over the past few months that I've been showcasing some pretty special venues in my local town, Loughborough. An otherwise quiet town which doesn't look like anything special when you're driving through, it offers more than it's fair share of delicious restaurants and special little spots to stop for a break during a day of shopping. One of those places is Chocolate Alchemy, a luxury artisan chocolatier which creates all of the delicious products on site, with a downstairs cafe offering hot and cold drinks as well as tasty bakes, cakes and chocolate.
I've wandered past Chocolate Alchemy many times since it first opened it's doors in 2009, with friends and family alike raving about the quality of the products on offer, but it's the workshops which intrigued me the most. I recently got to try one of these coveted workshops for myself, popping along for the afternoon to learn about chocolate as well as making some for myself!
The Chocolate Alchemy Chocolate Making Experience Workshop is an introduction to chocolate; how it's made, where it originates from, the ingredients used as well as the process for each type of chocolate available. It gives you the chance to ask expert chocolatiers everything you've ever wondered about cacao, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The workshop itself is broken into three main sections. Starting with a talk and tasting session, expert chocolatiers talk you through the history of chocolate, whilst sampling chocolate from around the world whilst learning about the way cacao grows in different climates, where is the most expensive play to source cacao and the variety of tastes which come with growing cacao in different parts of the world. Next up comes the really fun part, making chocolate for yourself! You are shown how to make hand rolled truffles from scratch before making your own, choosing the different coatings you would like for your truffles; powder or flakes (I did half and half!). You also get to try your hand at making a box of 12 hand moulded chocolates, choosing the flavour you would like for your chocolate (I opted for Sorrento Orange!).
Whilst your chocolate is chilled ready to take home in your goody bag, you can pop downstairs and enjoy one of the many tasty drinks on offer. There's both hot and drinks available as well as sweet treats, and I'm a personal fan of the Caffe Caramel Frappe; a double espresso shot added to vanilla ice cream, milk and crushed ice, finished with a caramel drizzle, it was so scrumptious I had two!
The workshops cost £60 for 1 person, £100 for 2 people, £130 for 3 people or £150 for 4 people; so there's the option to go in a group of friends or with your partner, as well as bigger workshop parties being available for both adults as well as children's parties. Any drinks you have during your workshop visit are included in the price, and of course you get to take home the tasty treats you make on the day!
Spending the afternoon at Chocolate Alchemy was a real treat. I found it so informative, and so interesting, learning about cacao from around the world, the way that different countries can produce cacao that tastes different and unique to that area, learning all about the process of chocolate making and how very different dark chocolate is to white. Being able to make my own truffles and chocolates was an amazing experience, and the fact that they tasted so delicious was a bonus!
The whole team at Chocolate Alchemy are incredible welcoming and friendly, their passion to chocolate obvious as soon as you walk through the door. The workshop would make the perfect gift for a friend or loved one, great to do with a group of friends or with your partner, the perfect treat to gift someone this Christmas or a special birthday coming up.
I know I won't be walking past Chocolate Alchemy again, enjoying my visit too much, I can't wait to head back in for a delicious chocolate treat and drink with friends. You can find out more about Chocolate Alchemy and how to book your own workshop over at www.chocolate-alchemy.co.uk.
*I was kindly invited along to Chocolate Alchemy as guest.
All views are entirely my own - Disclaimer.