Beta5 Chocolates was just open recently in October 2011. It’s located in the industrial area near the Main Street skytrain station. The event started at 8:30pm and we arrived just after 8pm. We were greeted by Jess the co-owner and she graciously offered us champagne and a variety of chocolate-coated goodies, including pretzels, hazelnuts, ginger and espresso beans, as well as interesting items like chocolate covered frozen dried strawberries and mango-passion fruit caramels.
The workshop finally began when all 6 couples arrived. We first got to try chocolate chips from different countries, getting a sense of how the chocolate beans taste different based on their country of origin, climate, soil condition, etc. Some were bitter, some were a bit sour.
Then, time to make our own box of chocolate. Adam, the other Beta5 owner, showed us how to paint the heat transfer sheets, which eventually would decorate our box of chocolate. The paint is fat-soluble edible paint, and we got a variety of colours to play with. We had to channel our creative selves to make this happen. The trick here is to paint patterns that would be able to cut into smaller squares to decorate individual chocolate pieces. Some couples did mostly abstract painting, some drew shapes and cartoons. We did a combination of both.
Then, while we were waiting for the paint to set (dry), we moved on to dip our chocolates. Our chocolate box came with 6 different flavours of chocolate ganache: ginger, cinnamon, cognac, tobacco, port and 85% dark. We were provided with the ganache but we had to hand-dip each of them. Adam prepared a few trays of melted 63% dark chocolate (which is what they use for most of their chocolate products) and we learned to drop, flip and lift the chocolate onto our pan. Then, we quickly put a piece of the painted transfer sheet on top of the chocolate. Tap on it a bit so it sticks to the chocolate, and wait for it to cool and set.
Afterwards, we simply peeled the transfer sheet off, and voila, we got our own box of hand-painted chocolates. The one and only since you can’t find another one that looks the same (we can’t even produce another identical one!). We wouldn’t know to appreciate hand-painted chocolates until we went through the process. It took us like 2 hours to finish 24 pieces, and Adam told us between him and his helper Claire, they could produce 200 pieces in 1 hour. That’s amazing!
We were also treated to some yummy dessert – Goat’s Milk Panna Cotta with citrus fruit slices, marmalade and lemon curd. So refreshing with the citrus flavour.
The chocolate event was a lot of fun, and I think it’s perfect for couples or birthday parties or even bridal shower. I have tried some of the chocolates, and while some of the flavours are rather subtle, the chocolates taste very good. The ganache is silky smooth inside. I believe this is the first time that Jess & Adam hosted event of this kind, but I heard they might be doing something like this more often in the future. It’s a great gift idea for someone who loves and appreciates chocolates. I definitely recommend others to give this a try – you will enjoy it!
413 Industrial Avenue, Vancouver
More pictures here: