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L'Ecole de Chocolate a le Maison Robert

This article is about a chocolate class I took at Maison Robert in Chamblee. I've been looking forward to taking a class there for a long time. I finally found one that fit into my schedule. The class lasted all morning, which we used to build a chocolate birdhouse. Chocolate is one of those materials that provides a well-rounded sensory and creative experience. It's very plastic and can be used to make all sorts of things. It is relatively easy to work with but it does respond to careful handling. It smells and feels wonderful as you work with it. Wood has many of the same characteristics, but chocolate is a lot more fun to eat than sawdust.
This is Chef Robert showing us how to temper chocolate. He is a very good teacher who mixes explanation to the group with one-on-one. Tempering chocolate is, he reminded us, a critical operation in working with chocolate. Tempering requires keeping the chocolate at exactly the right temperature, about 89 degrees F, so that it gives a smooth, glossy texture when cooled. You need to keep the chocolate at this temperature during all the time you are working with it. We spent the morning in a pas de deux with our bowl of chocolate: too cool and we warm it in the double boiler, too warm and we add a little chocolate to cool it down.
Chef Robert has a special and very clever technique for building a birdhouse. We used an egg mold to cast an egg that serves as the walls of the house.
We cut the birdhouse door and the flat spot for the stand by heating spots of the egg on a warm pan. We then spread chocolate into a sheet to make the roof and stand. We then glued them together with chocolate and applied some decorations. Voila!
My hands have smelled of chocolate all day long. This class has been a welcome respite from what turned out to be a long day in a long week. Maison Robert Fine Chocolates on Urbanspoon


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