One of the best things about going raw is that you really can still have your cake and eat it. Or should I say chocolate. Albeit raw chocolate! One of the first things I made when I went raw was chocolate made from dates, cacao powder and avocado. (The recipe for which you will receive when you sign up to receive the recipes on the right hand side of this site.) If you are keen to transition to raw and are struggling with getting your family members into it, then trust me when I say that introducing it to them with raw desserts is certainly the best way!
A few months ago I discovered Amy Levin, founder of Ooosha which she describes as Raw Culinary Artistry. Amy is a classically trained professional chef who found her way into vegan/vegetarian raw food 6 years ago while training to be a holistic health counsellor at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition (snap – I’ve trained there too!). Amy has worked for several of the UK’s most respected raw food & chocolate companies and was given the position of Senior Sous Chef to World Renowned Executive Chef, Chad Sarno at Saf London & Munich. (So it’s fair to say she’s a dab hand in the kitchen!)
So when I discovered that Amy teaches Advanced Raw Chocolate classes from her home in East Sussex I figured I had to go! I have been making raw chocolate for quite a while now but I wanted to learn about the art of tempering which is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to prepare it for dipping so I can make some uber sexy chocolates with fillings like “malted nougat” and hazelnut praline.
I was a little late for the class (oops!) but from what I’m told, Amy began by explaining why we temper chocolate and what the difference between tempered chocolate and untempered is. Wanna know? Well…tempered chocolate has that glossy, shiny texture to it and gives you a great “snap” when bitten into or broken by hand. If you have ever made raw chocolate and got that weird white film or white streaks or spots (otherwise known as “chocolate bloom”) on your chocolate, that’s because the chocolate hasn’t been tempered.
Amy’s kitchen was a little bit like a sweet shop, with lots of jars adorning the shelves full to the brim with various candied nuts, dried fruits, edible flower petals, spices and herbs. We made so many chocolates and were all given the chance to decorate and make our very own chocolates which I think was one of my favourite parts.
We made white chocolate, milk chocolate and dark chocolate and my fave praline. We dipped, poured and then…ATE. And boy were they good! If you want to learn how to make seriously good chocolate, then I wholeheartedly recommend Amy’s class. She lives in the most beautiful house in the countryside and is an extremely talented lady. She was also very generous with her time, offering us tasters of some delicious kale chips she had made. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and the following day went to work in my kitchen concocting and creating.
We learnt how to dip chocolate properly so don’t get that funny lip on the bottom of chocolates as they set (something I have definitely struggled with in the past) and showed us how to make colourful chocolates with natural colourings. Her class really does give you all the important information you need to get started with making raw chocolate including the do’s and don’ts which is incredibly useful. A big thumbs up from me!
For more info on Amy’s classes, check out Amy’s website Ooosha here.