Chocolate, that is.
For some reason that cues the Beverly Hillbillies theme song to play in my head.
Not too long ago, a friend here was browsing Groupon and came across a deal on a chocolate making class! She asked if we wanted to join and I said “HECK YEAH!”
We had toured a chocolate “plantation” while in Costa Rica, Caribbeans (the photo of the view on the website is from their chocolate tasting open air “room!”) so we more or less knew the process from bean to bar. I was totally fine with learning how this particular Hawaiian company made theirs though, plus I would get a chocolate bar out of it!
Madre Chocolate is where we went! They have two locations, one in Kailua and one in Chinatown, Honolulu. Both locations have classes about different parts of the process, and each has a different day and time they teach. We ended up going to the Kailua location as it worked better with Brent’s work schedule.
I’m not sure what I was expecting, but we were kind of surprised when we wandered into the mini factory/store and found that it was just that – mini! The place is tiny.
(it is slightly bigger than this around the corner, but still .. so small!)
There were 2 rows of folding chairs that barely fit in front of the store’s counter. We sat there quietly and chatted until the clock said it was 10 minutes past start time. We were told we were waiting for a couple other tour takers to show up but by 15 minutes after, we went ahead and started.
Nat was our instructor for the evening. He is a very laid back guy that you can tell loves the shop and the chocolate making process. Listening to his lecture was a little difficult as his thoughts and sentences were very broken up and not very fluid but he was very informative. He took us out front to show us the cacao tree right out front, let us taste the leather made from the pulp that surrounds the chocolate beans (not nearly as good as fresh pulp!), and while in the back made sure everyone had plenty of room to see the process as he spoke.
He explained how chocolate is tempered, which is the heating and cooling process it goes through to make sure all of the ingredients don’t separate. When chocolate looks “moldy” tempering has been reversed because the bar most likely melted at some point and was re-frozen without going through the right process. He had ready-to-go chocolate already out, gave us a ladle and a mold and showed us how much to fill it.
I could dunk my face in that ❤
So, while the process from pod to liquid chocolate was explained, it wasn’t shown except through a couple pictures he pulled up on the small TV in the front of the store.
After pouring our chocolate into our molds, we were then able to add whatever mix-ins we wanted from their selection.
Nat explained what each would taste like, and showed us about how much to put by demonstrating on his own chocolate bar.
We put our bars into the freezer and sat back down to hear a little more and do some tasting!
Our favorite was the chocolate bar that incorporated the flavor of the pulp of the cacao pod. If you ever get the opportunity to taste the pulp, be prepared for an explosion of mango-y/pineapple/paradise-y goodness in your mouth!
Nat was so excited about the other flavors that they made that he also let us taste even more he had behind the counter. We even tried an horchata flavored bar!
Finally our bars were done and we were able to wrap them up ourselves. Brent wrapped his up then immediately unwrapped it to eat the whole thing …
Nom nom nom
It was a fun little experience, especially if you know nothing about the process! Remember to look for deals, as I’m writing this August 2017 the class is still on Groupon. If you want more information on chocolate and even get to see some cacao trees and more of the actual process they do have other options here. They even have a whiskey and chocolate pairing class (which Nat says he likes much better than wine and chocolate!).
My beautiful bar for your viewing pleasure. I’m sorry you can’t taste through the screen!
PSA: Don’t put TOO many flavors in your bar – you’ll have more nutmeg and nibs in your bite than actual chocolate!