CocoaNymph is located on 10th and Alma. It's not too flashy on the outside, so be sure to pay attention if you are driving by. Inside, the walls are red and purple. I loved the eye catching décor. The piano is a nice touch, covered in product. Patrons play it from time to time!
I was the last to arrive for the chocolate making class. With one seat left, I sat at a table with a family of 3. They were lovely and the mom seemed to know a little about chocolate. One of our instructors approached myself and the 11 other eager wanna-be chocolatiers. She had a warm smile and welcomed all of us to CocoaNymph and gave us an overview as to what we would be engaged in for the next two hours. First, a history of chocolate and where it comes from, followed by a tasting (yay!) and finally creating our truffles!
Our first instructor explained how chocolate works, what part of the cocoa plant we eat and how it gets from plant to the chocolate we see in stores. She passed around various photos and an actual cocoa bean pod. The pod was donated to CocoaNymph from the Vancouver Aquarium, which I found really neat. I had never noticed the cocoa plant in the Amazon section of the aquarium before.
After the cocoa lesson, we were given a tray with some chocolate samples. The first sample was cocoa butter. We can find cocoa butter in foods, various cosmetics and moisturizer. Cocoa butter is not exactly delightful, but it was not repulsive. It tasted like wax. Next up was some 65% chocolate from Mexico. The soil that Mexican chocolate grows in is kind of acidic. This actually affects the chocolate. Like a more acidic wine, acidic chocolate makes your mouth water. Chocolate from the Dominican Republic (70%) was the 3rd item to tease the palette. I had no idea that cocoa grew in the DR. After the DR chocolate sat some 75% from Tanzania. This chocolate had a little sweetness to it, despite being 75%. We learned that, once again, the soil had affected the taste. Lastly, the class tasted cocoa nibs. Cocoa nibs are dry, roasted pieces of the cocoa bean. Nice little bits to munch on! I like a good crunchy texture.
At last we've arrived at the chocolate making! Well, kind of. Really we weren't going to make any chocolate. The ganache was pre-made and provided to us in a slab.
What we were going to do was shape the ganache, give it a chocolate shell and then decorate. This sounded just great to me! I had never done such a thing before.
We were given some cookie cutters, knives, and sticks to shape our ganache. We were also encouraged to mold the ganache ourselves into whatever shape we desired. The most creative I was able to get was a fish. Considering it was my first time, I'd say my fish turned out pretty well. My other chocolates were all shaped with cookie cutters or rolled up and placed on sticks.
Upon completion, we handed our tray of chocolate treasures over to the Cocoa Nymphs who placed them into the fridge for about 4 minutes. This allowed the chocolate coating to settle and harden completely.
Four minutes after handing over my chocolates, my name was called and I was given a little silver box to place my truffles in. They don't look professionally done by any means, but they sure were great to eat!
I was so impressed by the quality of the chocolate provided by Cocoa Nymph, I had to buy some of their other products. When I had arrived at the store, some of my classmates were raving about the drinking chocolate, so I bought some of that. Earlier in the class, we had a sample of a chocolate bar with coffee and cocoa nibs. I bought that. While waiting for my chocolate to dry, I paroozed the displays and stumbled across some chocolate covered almond slivers, with honey and sea salt. I bought that too.
As I drove away from Cocoa Nymph, all I could think was YUMMY!! The ladies running the class were personable, professional and knowledgeable. I look forward to going back to Cocoa Nymph to purchase some more chocolate and taste the variety of drinking chocolate they provide. Upon visiting the website, I saw that Cocoa Nymph has tastings. I got very excited when I saw there was a chocolate and wine pairing, but I have other plans on the day it is provided :(. I'll be sure to continue to check out the website for more tastings and pairings. So far, Groupon has lead me to some awesome finds!!!
I love you Cocoa Nymph! :D