"Fantastic experience for all the senses! Loved every part of it, from the sampling, the design work and the freedom to explore your own talents... to the idea behind the collaboration. Lovely people too - thank you, we'll be back!"
"Great evening - the knowledge of the hosts across their areas of expertise perfectly complements the mess, fun and sugar overload of the evening, thank you."
"Another fun evening with Jane and the chocolate making, thank you! Relaxing and calm atmosphere"
I hope those quotes give you a little glimpse into our latest #Chocollaboration with the wonderful Brownie Bar. So popular was this session that we had to run it twice! So congrats to The Brownie Bar for being so popular, clearly a much loved local business.
With an autumnal theme, we created wonderful "Brownie Conkers" and chocolate leaves this month, and our talented guest created their own autumnal scene. Starting as we always do with a tasting and sampling session, The Brownie Bar provided us with a selection of their brownies to taste - and the Oreo Brownie, Triple Chocolate, and Raspberry White Chocolate ones featured highest on the scorecards.
Interviews with Sarah (1st Session) and Jo (2nd Session) were fascinating, as I always love to hear a backstory. The Brownie Bar have been going for 13 years now, but started off as The Cupcake Company. Finding that their brownies were the most popular at market stalls (as well as an abundance of cupcake companies at the time) lead them to rebrand and focus on the brownies, and The Brownie Bar was born. Started by 2 sisters, Sarah's background as a pastry chef at the Baltic's SIX restaurant partnered extermely well with the marketing background of Rachel, and they set up in unit on John Buddle Work Village. Soon after they opened shops in Eldon Gardens and Heaton Road, but due the covid lockdown, and the fact that a larger part of their business was through events and markets, they consolidated back into a bakery unit - and we were thrilled to welcome them into our premises here at the Chocolate Factory in early 2023. (Brownies are made downstairs, and chocolates are made upstairs!). Today Jo and Kirstie (also a former SIX baltic pastry chef!) focus on the baking...and Sarah, Rachel, Jo and Michele are found transporting their brownies to an event near you. As well as selling boxes of their brownies online at www.thebrowniebar.co.uk
Jane demos the Brownie conker making... and meets an old school friend, Debbie. (Both of whom have taken very different journeys from Sir Williams Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow to end up in the North East!)
I then demonstrated our chocolate making activity for the evening - rolling the goey brownie mixture into balls, and dipping them in white chocolate. When set, these were then dipped into green coloured white chocolate... and carefully watched until the setting point was nearly reached, ready to pull the chocolate into conker 'spikes'. I then demonstrated making freestyle chocolate leaves - a simple but delicate skill needing precision and timing - and certainly quite a challenge for our guests. They did brilliantly, and were able to create quite a range of chocolate leaves with varied textures and shapes.
Following feedback from our first session, we also incorporated a brownie making demonstration into our 2nd session. It was great to watch Jo make these much loved brownies - particularly seeing how the sugar and butter is melted together first in a pan to get a really smooth batter. Brownies would take too much time to cool and set in order to taste these in the session, so I came up with an idea to make a 'chocolate brownie' sundae with the hot, gooey brownie mixture, and whipped up a gingerbread ganache to pour over it.
Happy folk with their chocolate-brownie-conker creations.
Suffice it to say, I think this may have been the most 'chocolatey' of our #chocollaborations - but maybe that was just why everyone loved it so much! Thank you to all our guests who came to this session - as always, you entered into the spirit of creativity and fun in this chocolate workshop, and it was a privilege to host the evening.
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