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From chocolate poems to the real thing. And not just any old chocolate either. . . .

Yesterday afternoon, Gillian and I went to Peebles for chocolate reasons.  It was a fabulous day and the town was looking enchanting in rich August sunshine. The Peebles Show was in full flood and people were flocking.

We flocked right past the show car park, up the hill and into unit 7 of the Southpark Industrial Estate. Ah, it sounds ordinary, doesn’t it? It wasn’t.

Unit 7 is the tidily tucked away Chocolate & Confectionery School of Cocoa Black and that’s where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon. We were two of six beginners in a petits fours making class with world-class chocolatier Ruth Hinks.

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When I say ‘world class’, I mean it. Ruth is not only one classy trainer (it was just like being with a celebrity chef in terms of dynamism and charisma), she’s one of five finalists for the UK Chocolate Master Title at Olympia in less than a month’s time. She’s also tall, elegant and beautiful—proof, if any were needed, that a diet of chocolate is life-enhancing.

Our afternoon at the petits fours workshop was amazing. It was also enormous fun. And we saw all the real stuff, the various ingredients in tubs and boxes and packets, and how they do it: the moulds, the racks, the chocolate mould scrapers, the melting tanks. The magical became possible.

While mixing and piping and scrutinizing and sprinkling, we were thinking about the HappenStance chocolate poem anthology, which is still taking shape. Discussions for its design are gathering momentum. It’s going to be a hardback book, and it will be lovely to read and hold, a direct route up Chocolate Parnassus.

With a bit of luck and nifty organization, subscriber contributors will come and help launch the book next year at quality chocolate centres round the UK.

Cocoa Black also have a chocolate shop, where you can have fabulous afternoon teas on Wednesdays and Sundays. We’ll try them for a potential HappenStand and chocolate poem launch. Watch this space—especially if you’re within range of the Scottish Borders.

HappenStance subscribers can continue to send in potential choc-lit until the end of this month. If you need inspiration for choc-po, try Hotel Chocolat (the Tasting Club is best because the chocolate’s freshly made) or send for some of Ruth’s from Cocoa Black. You don’t even have to write the poems. You can just eat the chocolates. . . .

Chocolates made at Cocoa Black

6 thoughts on “LET THEM READ CHOCOLATE!”

  1. It is a desperate shame that my customary abstemious lifestyle will not permit such indulgence… [and now a bolt of lightning descended from the clear blue of the sky and struck this unfortunate, terminally mendacious person into the middle of a chocolateless next week – it might have been sad had it happened to anyone else – Ed.]

  2. My King Charles, Lolly, always tries to make me feel guilty when I’m eating chocs – about the one thing I can’t share with her. But sorry, Lolly, that reproachful look just isn’t working! Anyone for strawberry creme?

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