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Raising The Chocolate Bar

I went to last weekend’s Temple Bar Chocolate Festival for the chocolate, but was utterly charmed by the chocolatiers – a whole lot of people demonstrating a whole lot of dedication to the cause of cacao.

The enthusiasm of Gillian Walsh, for example, who blogs at Some Say Cocoa, Some Say Cacao, had lead to her conducting a truffle-making class as part of the festival. This was truffle-making 101, aimed at those whose experience ran to eating, rather than making, chocolate truffles. Perfect for me, in other words, and I was more than happy to discover that truffle-making doesn’t have to be at all complicated.

Making Chocolate Truffles

Truffle time

The rest of my festival experience was composed, I would say, of equal parts listening and tasting.

Listening, for example, to Jamie and Beatrice from ChocOneill, who described their pursuit of single origin and single plantation cocoa beans, followed by a tasting of the flavours in their delicate plantation chocolates. It was an experience that would make anyone think twice about reverting to mass-produced faux-chocolate confections.

Willie's Delectable Cacao

Willie has a new bar and it's all for me

The same can be said of listening to Willie Harcourt-Cooze, who gave a hugely entertaining presentation on his own particular journey from cocoa bean to chocolate bar. A man obsessed by chocolate and with a singular determination to educate the public palate in the matter of cacao, it was fascinating to taste the fermented cocoa beans, cocoa nibs and, finally, the resulting 100% cacao in his Venezuelan Rio Caribe bar. It was a pleasure to later taste a truffle made by Mary Teehan (aka The Truffle Fairy), which was coated and filled using some of Willie’s 100% cacao.

Scenes from the Temple Bar Chocolate Fair

Scenes from the Chocolate Fair

There was, of course, plenty of scope for festival-goers to pursue their own cacao nirvana at Sunday’s Chocolate Fair, with a high quality assortment of Ireland’s artisan chocolatiers in attendance. My first port of call was Karola and Maitiú Ó Conaill, who have been making fine couverture chocolate in Cork for 30 years. An absolute pleasure to talk to, they have seen the Irish, a nation with an established taste for Cadbury’s milk chocolate, develop much more of a liking for fine dark chocolate in recent years – to the point where their 100% cacao bar is actually one of their best sellers. Meanwhile, with their dark cherry and vanilla 70% bar, Patricia from Wilde Irish Chocolates hopes to satisfy not only the demand for dark chocolate, but the appetite for chocolate that is organic and fairly traded.

As for me, even if my aim had only been to accumulate a stash of fine chocolate, then I succeeded in spades, with samples secured from all of the chocolatiers mentioned and more besides – I also count goodies from Lorge Chocolatier, Áines Chocolates and The Chocolate Garden as part of my haul. More than that, though, I know who to chase down in future when I want to get my hands on the good stuff and I guess, by now, that you do too.

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Turkish Delight Chocolate Truffles

These were my favourite of the truffles from Gillian’s truffle-making workshop. There are really only 2 requirements here – one is that you like the chocolate that you’re going to use for the truffles (when I was trying these at home I used some Ó Conaill’s 35% milk chocolate, which is very fine indeed). The other is that you like the taste of Turkish delight, which comes from the addition of rose water.

Gillian also notes that the ratio of cream to chocolate should be used as a starting point, as the consistency of the chocolate + cream ganache will vary, depending on the actual chocolate used, so if you find that you’d prefer a softer truffle, increase the amount of cream or, for a firmer truffle, increase the amount of chocolate.

Chocolate Truffles

You’ll need:
  • 150g milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 90ml single cream
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • 6tblsp dessicated coconut
You’ll also need:
  • Not absolutely essential, but it’s nice to have little individual paper cases in which to serve the truffles
The Steps:
  • Place the chopped chocolate in a bowl
  • Heat the cream to just boiling, either in a small heavy saucepan set over a medium heat, or using a microwave, and pour over the chocolate pieces.
  • Allow this mixture to sit for 1-2 minutes while the cream melts the chocolate and resist the temptation to stir it straightaway.
  • Now gently stir until smooth. If the chocolate has not completely melted, you can finish the melting process with 10 second bursts in a microwave on medium power, stirring between each 10 second burst
  • Stir in the rose water and leave the mixture to rest at room temperature for approx. 24 hours or for 4 hours in the fridge, so that the mixture solidifies enough to allow scooping.
  • When the chocolate has rested and you are ready to make the truffles, place the coconut in a small bowl. Scoop small spoonfuls of the chocolate, roll into a ball between the palms of your hands and then roll in the coconut.
  • Store in the fridge in an airtight container but remove about 10 minutes before serving (or not, if you can’t bear to wait). They should keep for up to 7 days, though I would imagine that the chances of them lasting that long are approximately slim to none.
The Variations:
  • The variations are pretty much endless in terms of the flavourings you can add and the coatings you can use – Baileys truffle rolled in cocoa powder anyone?
The Results:
  • Makes about 40 lil’ truffles

And another thing…

It would be remiss of me not to congratulate the winners of the competition that we ran in conjunction with the Chocolate Festival. Kate O’Connor and Deirdre Ní Dheá won tickets to the Willie Harcourt-Cooze talk, which I hope they enjoyed as much as I did, while Raluca Gherghe and Kate Walsh won copies of what I’m sure will be the equally enjoyable Willie’s Chocolate Factory Cookbook. Well done all.


  1. Whitney @ Lettuce Love

    All that chocolate?! Heaven :)

  2. Tangled Noodle

    Congratulations to the winners! I would’ve been in total bliss at this chocolate festival. I can only imagine the flavors and variety of cocoa being offered. I appreciate your reminder to use only chocolate that you enjoy – the problem is that there may not be enough left for the recipe!

  3. Daily Spud

    Whitney: I think that just about sums it up :)

    Tangled Noodle: you make an excellent point – I have to say that when I was making the truffles myself, every second scoop was bypassing the rolling stage and going straight into my mouth!

  4. Gillian

    Wow what a weekend it was … Reading that post has made me want chocolate and a time machine!!

  5. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    The Turkish delight truffles sound amazing! I love the name The Truffle Fairy (have to show that to my daughter). Now I can’t stop thinking to go to the chocolate festival in my area – too bad it’s not until February!

  6. dee

    Thank you so much for the tickets! Myself and the boy really enjoyed Willie (so inspirational listening to him, made me want to hop on a plane to south america) and the bar of chocolate that we blagged at the end.

  7. sippitysup

    By the time we meet gain you will have become an expert in so many areas! GREG

  8. The Diva on a Diet

    What a wonderful experience, Spud! I would love to take a truffle making class … not to mention the wonderful haul of goodies you received. Wow! I’m loving the idea of the rose water flavored truffles … I’ll bet they’re spectacular!

  9. kickpleat

    I love truffles and have made them quite easily in the past. Love your flavour combo. Mmmmm.

  10. OysterCulture

    Perfect timing. I love making truffles for the holidays and this looks like the perfect recipe to add to the repertoire – thanks for sharing.

    I have gotten swamped lately so am way behind on my post reading. Just spent the last 7 days in a business seminar for women start ups. Now I get to mentor one for the next 10 weeks. Its inspiring and crazy busy at the same time.

    Much as I like clean tech, the one starting a granola company did catch my eye. =)

  11. deeba

    Whoa you’ve raised the bar & how. What a great post & ever so delish! Loved reading about the festival…FAB! Also having made Turkish Delight very recently, am entirely intrigued buy these precious truffles. YUM!!

  12. Daily Spud

    Gillian: now you have me imagining a chocolate time machine – it’s quite a concept :D

    Natasha: The Truffle Fairy is indeed a very good name and she makes some very good truffles to boot!

    dee: glad you enjoyed it – he really is quite an inspirational character

    sippitysup: well, I’m certainly trying!

    Diva: turkish delight was always one of my favourite flavours whenever there was a box of chocolates in the house, so it was no real surprise that those were my favourite truffles – yum :)

    kickpleat: I think that was the real revelation – that making basic truffles really doesn’t have to be that hard; will definitely be making them again

    OysterCulture: I know all about being behind on blog reading – I’m in eternal catch-up mode myself; meanwhile hope you enjoy the truffles – they really are a great idea for seasonal presents

    deeba: Hey there, thanks so much for stopping by! Having made the truffles, I would now be intrigued by making turkish delight, so I will checking out your blog for guidance…

  13. Yvette

    doing some spud catch-up and my tongue is hanging out at the thought of these!! am thinking of xmas and the like and wondering how long these will keep in a (padlocked)fridge once they’ve been put together?

  14. Yvette

    Oops, reread the blog and you have already answered that query!

  15. Daily Spud

    Yes, 7 days in a well padlocked fridge, Yvette, very well padlocked :)

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