Food & Drink

You Can Be a Chocolatier

Did you know that there is a club for chocolate lovers? Yes, it’s called the International Cocoa Organization, and by their estimates, every man, woman and child eats almost three pounds of chocolate each year.

When I walked into the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia on the second floor of Wisma Thrifty, I wasn’t hungry. However, I was famished by the time I left, thanks to the incredible smells that wafted around the whole place. The Academy is conveniently located right opposite Hilton and almost on the highway. It is hard to miss once you’ve taken the Asia Jaya exit on the Federal Highway.

Classes were in session when we arrived and through the huge glass windows, we could see students making their own chocolate sculptures. Upon first glance, these sculptures look like wood, some even have that sandpapered sheen to it. We had to double-check that it was indeed chocolate and soon took to putting our faces close and taking big sni.s. Unsurprisingly, it smelt delicious, which is when we started imagining that the rows of cooking chocolate packages would magically tear themselves open and feed our rumbling tummies.

The rows of chocolates, syrups, sprinkles, chocolate moulds and even work tables were designed for the aspiring chocolatier.

It is known as ‘The Studio’, a never-seenbefore concept which takes the one-stop shop to the next level. Chocolatiers are able to source chocolate tempering machines and quality ingredients from a convenient spot in Petaling Jaya. These products are sourced from Chocolate World, Aeroshield Bakels, Callebaut and Cocoa Berry. This new development happened because the Academy was producing passionate bakers, chefs and Chocolatiers who were unable to source some of the ingredients needed to produce their beautiful creations.

The Studio comes as an addition offering Chocolatier programs at The Academy. For the many non-working spouses who have spare time, or for cooking channel enthusiasts who have imitated their favourite celebs on TV, being a chocolatier does not seem so far-fetched. What’s more – it can even be done right here in Malaysia, without having to travel elsewhere. Recently, the Academy invited a Master Chocolatier to teach their students the art of chocolate showpieces and sculpture. Master Chocolatier Jean Marie Auboine also demonstrated various techniques and skills on making Chocolate Bon Bons, pralines and sugar candies. He used to be the Executive Pastry Chef at the Bellagio Resort and Casione in Las Vegas. Students at the Academy of Pastry Arts Malaysia learn how to temper and mould chocolates and play around with different fillings such as ganache, caramel and nougat. Other techniques such as making truffles, pralines, pate de fruit, and working on textured sheets were also demonstrated during these special workshops. We witnessed the making of a gooey and deliciously tart strawberry.avoured marshmallows, which mostly consisted of mixing ingredients together and knowing the right temperatures to heat the mixture (hint: there was a lot of sugar involved).

The chocolates displayed on the shelves were a miniature version of heaven; most of them imported from various countries and not easily available elsewhere. We also had the privilege of seeing student creations besides the sculptures. One that caught our eye was an Angry Birds cake as well as a cake that looked like a flowing waterfall.

There are classes available on weekends and for those who don’t fancy chocolate, there are classes available for pastry-making as well as cake-decorating. For those who prefer to do a trial first, opt for the short classes or special workshops that are held every now and then.

For more information, please visit www.academyofpastryartsmalaysia.com.

This article was written by Milan Sadhwani ([email protected])
Source: The Expat September 2011
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