Down one of the famous Leicester Lanes, there is a fine chocolatier Cocoa Amore. The manager Peter Gardner, and his team handcraft beautiful chocolates using the finest ingredients here.
At the Silver Street store (which just happens to smell divine when you walk in), you can enjoy a custom made hot chocolate, browse and buy from a selection of exquisite chocolates, work with them on wedding and corporate favours or buy and enjoy one of their chocolate workshops.
A bit about Cocoa Amore:
Cocoa Amore has been sharing its passion for chocolate since 2013. Peter Gardener (founder and chocolatier), was invited to 10 Downing Street and got an award for Top Small Businesses. Since then he has opened another store at The Engine Yard in Belvoir Castle and also has an online store.
The award-winning shop is always experimenting and you are sure to find some lovely creations every time you pop into their store. Their new Signature range has been paired with Maison Ferrand’s superior spirits and each chocolate oozes quality.
They work with local businesses too and pride themselves in providing fine handmade chocolate to the high street at affordable prices. Cocoa Amore is also part of Independent Leicester and offers loyalty via the Loyalty Free App.
Having recyclable packaging is important to Cocoa Amore.
The Truffle Making Workshop
We started with a Vegan hot chocolate made with a Vegan Zotter Chocolate and Soy & Oat Milk. The chocolate had hints of vanilla, star anise and cinnamon and went down a treat.
We then moved upstairs and sat around to learn a bit about the cocoa bean before trying chocolates from different regions. My favourite was the Columbia 70% Dark one and that says a lot because I do not normally go for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is not meant to be bitter and this particular one had fruity and floral tones that I could taste.
We got to smell the cocoa butter, have a feel of cocoa nibs and beans and learnt that it takes 5-6 years to grow and the longer it ferments the less bitter the chocolate it. This on its own goes to show why chocolate is not cheap.
Chocolates are stored best in ambient temperatures with the correct amount of moisture. Change to the moisture content causes sugar or fat blooms (white crystals or marks on the chocolate) however this does not make the chocolate inedible. It just doesn’t look great.
Cocoa Amore gets its single-origin chocolate from Casa Luker who has the best Fino de Aroma cocoa beans used to make blends from different regions within Colombia. Most Cacao trees are grown amongst ginger, bananas & hardwood. This is to encourage cross-pollination which in turn doubles yields.
To make simple fine chocolate, the cocoa fat and cocoa powder that is initially separated is put back together. Into this goes in milk powder, cane sugar, natural vanilla (in different portions depending on the manufacturer) and stabilisers if needed.
For more about chocolate knowledge you will have to sign up to one of their workshops. I promise it is so interesting and an eye opener.
Making the truffles:
The ganache was prepared beforehand and once we were had our aprons and gloves on we were ready to roll.
We cut the ganache into 10 pieces and rolled them out into balls before dipping them into some melted ganache twice (to avoid them cracking) and rolling them into cocoa dusting to finish them off. It sounds easy but it’s far from it because whilst rolling the heat from your hands starts to melt the chocolate making it harder to work with.
Cocoa Amore currently has two stores. If you cannot get to their stores you can shop online on their website where you can buy a selection of their handmade chocolates and gift vouchers for the workshops. Free Delivery is available for orders from £30. Until the end of December, you can get 10% off too using mostlyfood10.
Cocoa Amore Leicester: 34 Silver St, Leicester LE1 5ET Tel: 0116 262 3278
Tel: 01476 247060. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org