Getting educated: vegan truffles at Natural Gourmet!  »

Natural Gourmet is an awesome fucking institution. Yeah, they use poultry and other animal products in their cooking school. But it’s one of the few professional outlets where the public/you can take a baking class—entirely VEGAN!—and learn some real technique. Hands-on, did I mention? I’m a student, and it was really awesome to have a non-academic thing to do on a Thursday night post-finals meltdown. I had the lovely opportunity to drop $110 on a class titled “Decadent and Delicious Vegan Truffles.” Running 3.5 hours, we had a lot of work to do in a short amount of time.

The class was lead by sassy-but-classy Fran Costigan, a pretty respectable self-proclaimed Diva of Vegan Desserts (yes, it was embroidered on her uniform). I mean, look at that paper toque; this woman means business. We learned that ganache is the base for all truffles (or at least the ones she was showing us); and that the key ingredient to a good truffle is really really good chocolate; and, just a tip, the cacao content should be at least 65 percent—the more cacao, the thicker the ganache. The chef recommended a bunch of eco-friendly, fair-trade, vegan chocolate brands (read: Theo). The set up consisted of a short lecture/introduction by the chef, followed by recipe assignments and hands-on production of the truffles. I made a regular old chocolate truffle (no frills) rolled in cocoa nibs.

And my truffles were fucking delicious. At the end of the class, they sent us around to everyone’s stations to stock up on everyone’s truffles. The result: chocolate even CocoaV would be jealous of. I think the $110 price tag was a bit excessive, but in the end the hands-on nature of the class made it all worth it. Oh yeah, and DID I MENTION THAT THIS CLASS WAS 100 percent GEARED TOWARDS VEGAN BAKING?!?! Everyone in the tristate area should take a class there immediately. Oh and guess what I made this morning? Lavender-vanilla chocolate truffles, using a master recipe edited by yours truly. I’m on my way to becoming the best vegan chocolatier out there.

[photos by Brianna!]

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