Chocolate has long been synonymous with Valentine’s Day.
But rather than buying one of those heart-shape boxes with lots of mystery sweets inside for loved ones and friends, what if you made your own?
“Crafting candies is not just a sweet treat,” said Kirsten Fear, a Londoner taking a class at Melt, a chocolate shop in the Notting Hill neighborhood, “but it’s like weaving my affections and memories into each delicate piece.”
On this particular day in January, the shop’s chocolatiers were busy creating sea salt chocolate truffles, orange slices dipped in dark chocolate and other confections. But in the back room, six city residents, all expatriates from Tanzania, Canada and the United States, had donned leather aprons for the three-hour Master Class (149 pounds, or $189). It was one of the half-dozen classes that the shop offers, including a tequila and chocolate evening (after all, the shop’s website notes, both originated in Latin America).
The students took turns using chocolate spatulas to fold warm dark chocolate from Madagascar on a marble work surface, then, after scooping the chocolate back into a container, poured the mixture into molds and put them in the refrigerator to set. They then were asked to don blindfolds and Andrew Nason, the business’s chief executive, led them out to a yurt in the small courtyard behind the shop.
After everyone had made themselves comfortable on pillows inside, Mr. Nason described the history of chocolate — from the Mayans to the Swiss — and distributed different samples of chocolate, including one with chilies, one with raspberries, and another made with honey. He asked the blindfolded students to let the chocolate melt on their tongues, and roll it around in their mouths, to get a real sense of the richness, texture and flavors.