Kilby WI – Mar ’23

The WI

Our February meeting featured a talk about Chocolate by Tom Phillips. Tom, a former chef turned chocolatier, is now retired after over 30 years experience. He notably worked at his own business, Hannah’s Chocolates in Quorn. It was obvious his love of all things chocolate is still strong!

After a brief history of how the cocoa bean spread around the world, Tom explained how the beans turn into cocoa oil (or butter) and cocoa powder. It is the cocoa butter which allows the chocolate to set.

We learned how the first dark chocolate consisted of just these two ingredients together with sugar and vanilla.

Milk Chocolate

In 1872 a Swiss chocolate factory combined this with Nestle milk to make the first milk chocolate. In 1932 the Swiss again introduced a white chocolate by adding milk powder.

Apparently the nicest chocolate is produced when the mixture has been pummeled the longest (up to two days) in a Conch machine making the chocolate smooth and glossy!

Interestingly in Europe chocolate has to have cocoa butter in it to be called chocolate.  Cadbury’s Dairy Milk does not use the word chocolate! Look at the wrapper next time you treat yourself!

Practical Session

A fascinating 45 minutes followed during which Tom worked with dark and white Belgian chocolate. He used his microwave, fridge and an electric bain-marie to produce some delicious ganache filled chocolates. These were passed round for everyone to try! 

He also made a beautiful Easter Egg from marbled white and dark chocolate and arranged on a cake card with other decorations including a chocolate rose and chocolate bows! This was donated by Tom as one of our Raffle prizes – ticket sales were noticeably up!

Tom made it all look so easy in his own relaxed style but his amazing talent, knowledge and years of experience were obvious to everyone. A very enjoyable evening, tasty too!

Maggie Smith