Chocolate making at School of Artisan Food

Artisan Chocolate at the School of Artisan Food

Lime Moulded Chocolates

Last weekend as a break from the house I travelled up to the Welbeck Estate near Worksop. This trip has been long-awaited. Ever since I heard about the School of Artisan Food way back in 2009, I’ve wanted to visit. Hubs gave me a voucher towards a course there and after spending a great deal of time deliberating as which course to do I settled on Introduction to Artisan Chocolate. It was certainly worth the wait.

When I arrived I was greeted by Joe Pilliero, SOAF’s Marketing Officer, then taken up to the canteen to meet the 14 other students on the course. Waiting for us was possibly the biggest pot of tea I’ve seen and a pile of freshly made pastries. It was interesting to see the age range on the course. I would guess I was one of the youngest with the oldest being mid to late 60s and around half of us were female. Everyone also had different culinary experience. One thing that bound us all was a love of chocolate.

Filling the moulds with lime and milk chocolate ganache

Ross Sneddon led the workshop and was assisted by one of the students who is on the year-long Diploma offered by SOAF. We learnt about different types of chocolate and tasted some amazing Venezuelan white chocolate that was unlike any I had tasted before. It was unique in that it didn’t leave a greasy film in my mouth. After being talked through the theory and how to temper in the microwave we moved on to making our moulded chocolates. It was interesting to learn that tempered chocolate will set after 2 minutes at room temperature.

First job was to polish the moulds, then paint the inside of the moulds with chocolate friendly food dye (must be oil based). After that we set about creating the chocolate shells by filling the moulds with white chocolate, then pouring the excess chocolate out. While the shells were setting we made a lime milk chocolate ganache that was piped into the set moulds.

After superb lunch of roast lamb, potato dauphinoise, carrots along with a glorious cheeseboard, including Lincolnshire Poacher and Stichelton, we returned to the kitchen to cap the lime truffles along with making chilli chocolate bars (the other flavour you could make was tonka bean & thyme) along with some chocolate orange truffles. Towards the end of the day we rolled the truffles in our chocolate coated hands then tossed them in cocoa. This gives them a very subtle crunch when you bit into them. Delicious. Spot the past tense. These chocolate didn’t last long because they were so good!

Chocolate truffles waiting to be dipped

During the course Helen Grace Ventura Thompson was around taking photographs of the day. She’s an incredibly talented photographer, currently studying BA (Hons) Photography; Editorial and Advertising, and it is her photos that illustrate this blogpost. It wasn’t practical for me to take my camera in the class so I was very pleased she was there! Make sure you check out her blog her work is fantastic.

At the end of the course Ross commented at how good my chocolate moulding skills were. Maybe there is a hidden chocolatier inside me waiting to get out! I really enjoyed the course and would like to return to SOAF soon. It’s unique place in that is teaching the dying art of artisan produce and it’s fantastic to have a place like this in the Midlands. Well worth a visit if you ever get the chance.

Chocolate Truffles

Post Author: Jules

Freelance food geek who's passionate about food education.

21 thoughts on “Artisan Chocolate at the School of Artisan Food


    (March 5, 2011 - 12:59 am)

    Looking scrummy. I’ve been following your blog for a while. In fact it was my first. I’ve recently started my own, inspired by yourself, and I have also been looking into a cookery course in your native Derbyshire where my mum was born. Nice to have you back. Keep writing we’ve missed you! x

    If you’d like a peek, you can find me at


      (March 8, 2011 - 10:54 am)

      Hi Cat, Thanks for the lovely comment. Glad to have inspired you.


    (March 5, 2011 - 3:53 am)

    I’m lucky enough to be going on a specialist chocolate making course soon and reading this post has made me even more excited about it. Can’t wait.


      (March 8, 2011 - 10:45 am)

      Enjoy the course. I look forward to hearing about it.

    Helen T

    (March 5, 2011 - 3:14 pm)

    Very jealous! Would love to go on any of their courses, and was gutted to find that their courses were more reasonable than the one Dr T had bought me a voucher for (and which I was pretty disappointed with it has to be said).

    Guess I’ll be looking at the list again and leaving notes for the birthday fairy ;)

    jen vaughan

    (March 5, 2011 - 3:15 pm)

    Wow! What an amazing experience. It certainly looks like a fabulous course and a lovely venue! Hope your chocolatier skills have been ignited! The photos are gorgeous, wish I could smell the chocolate too and perhaps delight in a little nibble!


    (March 7, 2011 - 8:01 am)

    It looks great. We wanted to try to get to a course to write up for the magazine but ran out of time. Those lime ones look like zested limes. A voucher for a course is such a great present.

    The Curious Cat

    (March 7, 2011 - 11:23 am)

    ooo can’t wait to check out what else they do at this school – it sounds great! What a great present and thing to do – I hope there was stuff you could take away and put to use? xxx


      (March 8, 2011 - 10:38 am)

      We took away 12 choc orange truffles, 12 of the lime chocolate and 3 x 50g chilli choc bars. We were also given the recipes. I’m looking forward to trying them out at home.

    Petit Filoux

    (March 7, 2011 - 11:49 am)

    What a great present that was! The lunch sounds just as good as the chocolates, and I’m intrigued about the white chocolate, sounds very interesting!


      (March 8, 2011 - 10:37 am)

      If I remember the name of it I’ll let you know. It was beautiful stuff.


    (March 8, 2011 - 12:29 pm)

    Sounds as though you’ll need to rename the blog… The Butcher, the Baker, the Chocolatier… ;)

    Well done – looks like quite hard work, as well as fun. Nothing like taking the fruits of those labours home, though, eh? ;)

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    (March 11, 2011 - 5:29 pm)

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    (March 12, 2011 - 4:33 pm)

    Ooh I really loved reading this, I really want to go here now ! After looking at the website, I will definitely choose ‘Chocolate’ too :)

    I enjoy reading your blog.


    (March 31, 2011 - 7:58 pm)

    Lucky you! I´d love to learn how to make chocolates! They look delish too!

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