[Guest post by Sammy Talman]
On international happiness day it seemed fitting to spend my evening listening, eating and talking about chocolate. Dawn Shrives from Salon du Chocolat came to visit Thakeham for a community evening.
An evening with chocolate expert Dawn Shrives from Salon Du Chocolat in Chichester
After speaking with some people who came along to the talk, it was apparent that lots of people in the room hadn’t considered that reading the ingredients to our confectionary had all the answers we didn’t know we needed. Many popular products that we buy all the time don’t actually contain real chocolate, it can be just chocolate flavoured. Dawn gave advice on what percentages of chocolate to look for and we were given tasters of different milk, white and dark chocolates to try.
Unique chocolate experiences in West Sussex
Dawn owns a studio in Chichester where customers come to make their own chocolate treats. When it’s Easter time, you can book a session to cast and design your own chocolate Easter eggs, make mini Easter chocolate lollies and learn how to personalise chocolte eggs with patterns inspired by the famous Fabergé eggs. Sessions last about 1 and half to 2 hours and suit all levels and ages of “chocolatiers en herbe”.
Dawn’s studio hosts the perfect activity for those with a sweet tooth and a creative flair! Her chocolate experiences are also suitable for birthdays, hen parties and lots of other special occasions.
Find out more about where chocolate comes from in West Sussex
As well as the studio, Dawn spends some of her time on the road visiting schools, social evenings and various other events sharing some of her expert knowledge with her listeners. Dawn took us right back to the very beginning of chocolate and told us all about how it began. She walked us through from the very start when Cacao seeds where turned into paste and added to water to make a bitter drink. This was popular for years before the first chocolate bar was created. The drink was said to contain anti oxidants and was used for health benefits. Cacao seeds were so valuable that they were used as a form of currency in the 1500s. Chemists turned their professions to Chocolatiers and wasn’t until 1847 that the first ever chocolate bar was made by J.S Fry & Sons.
Dawn talked in depth through the whole timeline of chocolate and how it came to be hugely in demand today. As well as how it’s made, Dawn talked through how marketing and selling have changed what we know about chocolate.
How to store chocolate
How you store your chocolate can change its taste. During the talk, Dawn explained how leaving chocolate in plastic Tupperware could then taint it and you may be able to taste it faintly. Or if you store a piece of unflavoured chocolate near to a piece of flavoured chocolate, the plain piece will start collecting some of its flavour and your chocolate will taste different.
TOP TIP: If you are storing hand made chocolates in your fridge, make sure there are no strong flavours nearby…Including a cut onion in your vegetable drawer for example!
Find out more about Salon Du Chocolat
As the evening came to a close lots of people where sharing their new found knowledge and now feel ready to be more particular over the treats that they buy.
Find out more
Dawn Shrives – Le Salon Du Chocolat
Hortons Yard, Melbourne Road, Chichester, PO19 7ND