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For Lent I gave up chocolate.  I failed at the first hurdle – PMT on Monday afternoon!!  I ate chocolate cake on my birthday too…..and maybe a couple of other people’s birthdays, but I have tried and during March at least, I’ve been very good!

Then came alone an invite to a Chocolate Extravaganza at Copthorne Hotel in Manchester – I officially gave myself the day off.

pots of melted chocolate

After a very long day at work I was greeted by the sight of several pots full of melted chocolate, trays of delicious looking canapés and glasses of twinkling Prosecco.

canapes copthorne hotel


Shortly after I was asked to wear a rather surgical looking plastic apron….it was an evening of mixed emotions haha!

choclate extraveganza copthorne hotel

The event began with a talk about the history of chocolate from it’s origins as an Aztec drink laced with chilli, to the day that Henri Nestle accidentally dropped milk powder in coco and created milk chocolate.

tasting different quality chocolate

We tasted four different chocolate drops, very strong 95% chocolate (that blew my socks off), cheap milk chocolate with the coco butter replaced by vegetable fats (that tasted like the stuff from Advent Calendars), rich dark chocolate with the coco butter left in (which turned me momentarily into a dark chocolate lover) and the most divine creamy milk chocolate that I’ve ever tasted!!

makinga giant chocolate button

Then they gave us a pot of the stuff 🙂 and showed us how to make giant chocolate buttons.   My went missing for a little while at the end of the evening and I genuinely panicked…because look….it’s clearly the greatest chocolate button that ever was!

giant chcolate button

We made truffles next, mixing a rich ganache and piping it into little swirls.


Let’s just address straight away the fact that these look like little poops – they really do!  In fact I felt like Gillan McKieth looking around at everyone’s poops and seeing how they compared to mine!  It turns out it didn’t matter what the poops swirls looked like as once they’d hardened slightly, we rolled them into balls and covered them with chocolate!

handmade truffles

Our last handmade treat was fudge, which we cut into shapes and decorated with drizzled chocolate and praline pieces.

fudge handmade

It was such a great way to spend an evening, especially in such lovely surroundings – Copthorne were amazing hosts.  I took my creations one and they lasted four whole days!!

copthorne hotel manchester view if the quay

If you want to hear more about the chocolatey exploits at Copthorne Hotels, check out #toastofthetown on twitter.

Love Rachel



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