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How often have you been told not to play with your food? These chocolate workshops fly in the face of that advice, and actively encourage you to get hands-on by making your very own tasty chocolate treats.
Experience days are gift vouchers that you buy to give to someone as a birthday or Christmas present. They follow much the same concept as the high street gift cards we're all familiar with, only these ones buy fun activities and events. The recipient then redeems the voucher for a place on the activity and turns up at the agreed date and time to partake in the session.
These are easy-to-buy, time-saving, and convenient gifts, and they cover a wide range of experiences and activities, from thrilling adrenaline-inducing experiences, to delicious meals, overnight stays, and educational experiences. I've both bought and received experience day vouchers, and have been indoor-skydiving, dumper truck and digger racing, segway racing, truck driving, flown in a realistic flight simulator, and enjoyed hotel stays over the years.
But on Chocolatier.co.uk, I'm interested in the tasty side of experience days that deal with chocolate. Chocolate making experiences blend a little bit of cocoa history with the opportunity to get hands-on and creative, under the supervision of experienced chocolatiers.
These aren't dull, intensive courses with exams and qualifications, but instead they are fun, hands-on sessions where you may learn a skill or two to take back home. And you get to take home your creations too! It's a win-win!
Experience vouchers can be delivered by email, or you can add gift boxes to wrap up and give as presents for pretty much any occasion. If you're looking for handy last-minute gifts for friends and family, try these and open their eyes to the effort and skill that goes into making chocolate confectionery. They're also ideal for hen and stag parties, and even as corporate team building exercises.
TIP: You don't need to give these as a gift either - you can buy yourself a treat. If you fancy making chocolate with a friend, buy a voucher for two people and book yourself and your friend onto the session.
Chocolate Making Workshops
Learn the art of chocolate making and decorating techniques on a fun, practical, hands-on group sessions. Chocolate making classes take place in selected locations around the country on selected dates.
While every experience is different, they typically follow the same broad outline. After a welcome and introduction, you'll learn a bit of world history of how chocolate came to be, followed by the journey of how cacao becomes everyone's favourite sweet treat, before a hands-on session where you'll create your own personalised chocolate treats. There's usually chocolate tasting samples to nibble on throughout the event, and you'll get to take your truffles home with you at the end.
More in-depth behind the scenes experiences, sometimes called bean to bar workshops, are available that explore the chocolate-making process from start to finish, including a look at roasting beans, winnowing, conching, tempering and moulding. Expert chocolate makers share their knowledge an passion for teasing diverse flavours out of cacao beans.
The minimum age is normally 14 years, but some start at 6 years while others impose a minimum age of 18 years. If you've got little ones in tow, there are often dedicated children's events that are geared more towards young minds. Classes normally take place in professional kitchens, culinary schools, or hotels, depending upon the location. Classes are run as groups, normally around 20 to 40 participants, and last between 1 and 7 hours, depending upon the organiser and location (check the experiences below for exact details of each experience). Subject to availability and fees, private experiences and corporate events are normally available at most locations.
Chocolate making sessions take place all around the world, but in the UK, you'll find the bulk of classes in London. There are options available outside of the capital, although you may need to travel further to find them.
London & South East
- Brixton, London. For one°. For two°.
- Greenwich, London. Make chocolate cheesecake brownies, for two°.
- Hoxton, London. My Chocolate Workshop for one°. Alternative, for one°. For two°. For two, with Prosecco° - perfect for celebrations. For two, with cocktails°. Alternatively, how about both a chocolate and cocktail making masterclass for two°?
- "London". These experiences take place somewhere in London, and the venue is likely to change from session to session. For one°.
- Birmingham. For one°. Alternative, for one°. For two°. Family session°.
- Cambridge. For one at Chocolat Chocolat°.
- Leeds. For one°. For two°. Family session°.
- Manchester. For one°. My Chocolate Workshop for one°. Session at Malmaison, for one°. Alternative, for one°. For two°. Alternative, For two°. For two at Cocoa Cabana°. Family session°.
- Sheffield. Truffle Making Workshop at Bullion, for one.
- York. Various chocolate making workshops at York Cocoa House here.
South, South East & South West
- Alresford, Hampshire. For one°. For two°.
- Billericay, Essex. Chocolate Moments for two°.
- Brighton. For one°. My Chocolate Workshop for one°. For two°.
- Bristol. For one°. Alternative, for one°. For two°.
- Clevedon, Avon. For four°.
- Danbury, Essex. For one°.
- Gloucester. For one°.
- Longhope, Gloucestershire. For one°.
- Winchester, Hampshire. For one°. For two°.
- Llanidloes, Powys. Coco Pzazz workshops here.
- Porth, Rhondda Cynon Taf. Chocolate house workshops here.
- Aberdeen. Thinking Chocolate workshops here. Cocoa Ooze workshops here.
- Acharn, Perth and Kinross. Workshops with Charlotte Flower Chocolates here.
- Edinburgh. Thinking Chocolate workshops here. Chocolatarium workshops here.
- Glasgow. Thinking Chocolate workshops here.
- Stirling. Thinking Chocolate workshops here.
- Twynholm, Dumfries & Galloway. The Cocoabean Company hosts child, adult and family workshops here.
- Castlerock, Coleraine. The Chocolate Manor experiences here.
Remember the Zoom lockdown sessions? They're still here. if joining a group of chocolate loving people is too far outside your comfort zone, try a remote online chocolate making session instead. All the fun of a physical experience, from the comfort of your own house.
- Chocolate Truffle Making Webinar - Watch remotely as a chocolatier demonstrates how to create fresh cream truffles in their kitchen. Source ingredients and follow along at home. Book here°. Personally, I'd suggest opting for the webinar with a kit that contains all the ingredients required (except for fresh cream or coconut cream) as it saves much of the legwork. See here°.
- KitchenJoy Online Live Class - Learn how to make healthy chocolate desserts and smoothies. See here°.
Celebrity Chef Chocolate Experiences
There's not many to come by, especially dedicated to chocolate, but here's some experiences that incorporate chocolate in some shape or form.
- [In Person] Join Eric Lanlard at Cake Boy in Wandsworth, South London, as he guides you through a hands-on masterclass in patisserie. See here°. Alternatively, partake in a mini chocolate making experience and enjoy afternoon tea for two. Book here°. Or here°. Or another°.
- [Virtual] Work through four modules in this Learn with the Experts: Paul A Young Chocolatier online masterclass. The videos cover everything from tempering and enrobing, to using moulds, rolling and decorating your artisan chocolates. Join here°.
- [Virtual] Learn how to make Raymond Blanc's Le Café Crème by Le Manoir in an online course. Discover how to make the chocolate cup, and then follow the recipes to create layers of sponge, ganache, sabayon, caramel and parfait. Take part here°.
Save 23% off gift experiences up to £250. Exclusions apply. Use code ITBXMAS23 at checkout. Shop at Into The Blue°
Ends on Sunday 3rd December 2023. Terms and exclusions may apply. See website for details.
Chocolate Making Hotel Breaks
You may need to travel to find your nearest chocolate making class, so why not combine that experience with a hotel stay? Here's some options to whet your appetite:
- 1 Night Chocoholics Retreat For Two at Cheltenham Chase Hotel - Devour your chocolate welcome gift, enjoy a hands-on chocolate making workshop, and savour SIX chocolate desserts at the Dessert Club dinner. Plus, you've got full use of the hotel and spa facilities. See here°. Or here°. Or here°.
- 2 Night Chocoholics Escape For Two at Cheltenham Chase Hotel - Like the one night break, but with the benefit of more time away, plus an additional chocolate cocktail masterclass and liqueur masterclass. Book here°. Or here°.
Don't fancy the overnight stay?
- Solo Chocoholics Retreat Day - Enjoy an indulgent day themed around chocolate. Begin with a chocolate truffle making workshop, lunch and light dinner followed by six chocolate desserts at the ‘Dessert Club’. You'll also enjoy the full use of the hotel and spa facilities throughout the day. Book here°. Or here°. Or here°.
Spotted a chocolate making experience or workshop not featured here? Let me know in the comments below.