Attending a chocolate masterclass with Gerard Coleman at the Dublin Cookery School is really one of the nicer Saturday things to do.
Irish-born Gerard is the founder of the London-based and highly regarded Artisan du Chocolat. He’s one of the very few chocolatiers in Ireland and the UK who produces chocolate from bean to bar, and his wares have won the praises of such cheffing luminaries as Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal. I also happen to think that his chocs are rather good, so you don’t just have to take their word for it.
The masterclass was not only an opportunity to see Gerard at work, but was also a window into the world of quality versus not-so-quality chocolate. Gerard observed that while Irish consumption of chocolate is one of the highest in Europe, we don’t necessarily have a palate for the high quality stuff. Much of what is sold here, even at the fancier end of the market, actually uses the same base chocolate from a very high volume industrial production house. So most of the chocolates we buy essentially taste the same. We are not tuned into the fact that different chocolates can actually taste different, not because they have been flavoured differently, but because they taste different in and of themselves. It was food, and chocolate, for thought.