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Artisan Chocolate Making for the Holidays

Mary Jo and I are excited to announce a new series of cooking classes at the Hartstone Inn with Artisan Chocolatier Kate Shaffer of Black Dinah Chocolatiers. If you are not familiar with her chocolates, you are in for a real treat. Kate’s beautiful hand-crafted chocolates are made here in Maine (on the small island of Isle au Haut) and are inspired by fresh, local ingredients and her love of flavors from the tiny corners of the world.

The first class in the series, “Artisan Chocolate Making for the Holidays,” will be held on Saturday, December 6th, from 2:30-4:30 p.m. or Sunday, December 7th, from 1-3 p.m. in the kitchen at the Hartstone Inn.

Following is a brief outline of the course:
What chocolate should I use? A real quick primer on how to choose chocolate that you like and how to figure out what you like.
¨ tasting chocolate
¨ what’s with those percentages?
¨ bittersweet, semisweet, milk and white—what’s the dif?
¨ what makes chocolate “real?”
¨ reading and understanding labels

Working with chocolate in the home kitchen
¨ like water for chocolate: how to avoid ruining chocolate and what to do when you do.
¨ using the refrigerator
¨ storing chocolate

What the heck is ganache?
¨ What does it take to be a truffle?
¨ Making ganache and understanding emulsions

Making holiday chocolate confections
¨ truffles
¨ nut clusters
¨ bark
¨ strawberry tuxedos
¨ cups and bowls

¨ packaging and storing

Visit the Black Dinah Chocolatiers online shop on her website for details on her chocolates and to order gifts for the holidays. I guarantee you will be very impressed with her product and presentation. Other classes in the Chocolate Series with Kate will be scheduled soon on our cooking class page on the Hartstone Inn website. Space is limited in each class so sign up soon by calling 1-800-788-4823 or email us at