Sunday, March 11, 2012

Art in Chocolate

We've talked a lot about art in its various forms in the past few Marmelade Gypsy posts -- the paintings of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the art of incredible music from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the art of the restored home at the Whitney and Diego Rivera's mural.

But the art is in the every day -- and eating is something we do every day. (And chocolate is something we might want to eat every day!)

Each year the Michigan State University Museum hosts a decadent chocolate party, during which vendors bring samples of all sorts of chocolate confections (and a few other things!) for us to sample.

There is also a chocolate sculpture contest (I couldn't tell you who won, but I'm thrilled to show you the entries!)

But first, I volunteered at the demo room, where Gayle, the pastry chef from our convention center, showed how to make a number of things using three basic ingredients.

Those ingredients are cream, chocolate and an egg yolk, and the proportions are 1/2 c. cream, 1/2 c. chocolate and 1 egg yolk. She demonstrated how you heat the cream to boiling and mix in a bit with the beaten yolk to cook it, whisking like a crazy person. And adding the chocolate. This mixture can then be used as the flavor base for a mousse, a truffle, or as a dessert filling.

We had the opportunity to sample chocolate truffles and white chocolate cream puffs with chocolate ganache...

...and other treats she had prepared before we arrived.

I also learned from her that to keep a ganache shiny, a bit of corn syrup and some good vanilla will do the trick!

She also spoke of a pre-cooked powdered corn starch that she uses in place of gelatin to help give volume to the chocolate mixture in a mousse, and the ease and importance of using scoops for just about everything!

Then on to the party! Here are the sculptures -- all based on the museum's current exhibit "Cabinet of Curiosities."

Each brought a different spin to the story, with working drawers and cabinets.

Even the details were carefully created.

We also tasted from the seven vendors, enjoyed raspberry dessert wines and all in all, came home overloaded on a chocolate high!

All this, and I learned we have a new crepe restaurant in East Lansing.

This could be trouble...


  1. Edible art pieces! Yum :-) Seriously though, these look like lots of work, but those people are so talented, and have so much patience!

  2. Yum, yum, yum! Everything looks delicious!! And I adore that ET candle holder (of course). I think I need a Paris-themed room some day. :)

  3. OMG, Jeanie! I'm in heaven just looking at your photos! That's really my kind of party!!

  4. Oh wow! I can smell it from here! MMMMmmmmmmmm!!! How am I supposed to diet????! Oh well, who cares! Pass me a piece! (oblis caticese!)

  5. Yum, Yum, Yum....Chocolate is my Favorite...! Back in the day...I used to make a mean Chocolate Mouse...The recipe was from a wonderful little French Cook Book....That place looks fantastic and all the sculptures, AMAZING!

  6. What a fab event to be a part of, I'm not a chocolate lover myself (gasp, quelle horreur)but I think I might have been tempted here, too!
    Happy Monday.

  7. What fun this looks. Love, love chocolate. Even the raspberry wine with all the chocolate sounds good. And crepes, I would love visiting the new crepe shop with you.

  8. Edible art is the best, isn't it?! And especially chocolate art... almost too pretty & fun to eat all of these... almost. ;o) VERY fun, especially that clever Eiffel Tower! You always share such great things, Jeanie--thank you! Happy Week ((HUGS))

  9. Chocolate IS art! What a great party! Love the photos, but now I hove to go have some Hershey's kisses.

  10. What a terrible place to begin getting caught up with you! On the very day I looked myself in the eye and said, "THIS is the week you begin to take off that weight, you self-indulgent thing, you!"

    Seriously, I am almost unable to resist chocolate in any form, and this all looks so good. My mom used to make a chocolate cream that was nothing but eggs, cocoa, sugar and cream whipped up - as I recall, it wasn't even cooked, which would probably give people heart attacks today - but we knew the hens who laid the eggs, and they stil were warm when we pulled them out from under the hens!

    This is just a wonderful post - the chocolatiers are artists, indeed!

  11. As a chocoholic, I'd love to be there with you, Jeanie! But with all the sculptured choc. art works, they all pose the dilemma of looking vs. eating. How can I eat such exquisite objet d'art? Remember I post about the larger than life choc. dragon I saw in Vegas, in celeb. of the Chinese New Year? I was wondering, what are they going to do with it afterwards?

  12. The sculptures are amazing! I can't even imagine being surrounded by that much chocolate. It must smell heavenly in there not to mention the tastes.

  13. What fun! Much more elaborate than the mid-winter chocolate event we had at Macalester College. A great event in both cases.

  14. That is incredible. You do the most amazing things.

  15. Go away! I do not want to know about these wonderful creations in chocolate!

    sorry didn't mean to shout but I got excited...I am a chocolate Lover

    this event would be something I waited for each year...fabulous...thanks for taking us along Jeanie

    now I must find me some chocolate to nibble on :)
    p.s. if I get your double word verification on the first try I will reward myself with another piece of chocie ;)

  17. Oh, Jeanie, this looks like such a fun and yummy event to attend! If I were a chocolatier I'd weigh thousand pounds as I would want to eat all my creations. I enjoyed the "cabinet of curiosities" theme -- I have a Pinterest category with the same name :)

  18. I really enjoyed your series on Detroit. There was so much to look at and learn – your photographs were excellent. Now looking at your last post is difficult – I don’t want to “look” I’d rather “taste” ! Chocolate – such temptation!

  19. Oh, my goodness. Now, this is my kind of art. How fabulous is this!!

  20. Jeanie, Your outings always look like so much fun. If I lived in Michigan I would so be going with you! What a fabulous event, and your story about it is captivating, as usual! ~Marti

  21. Unbelievable!! Such talent!!

  22. OMG....i would have drooled all over myself looking at all of that yumminess.....xo

  23. That's amazing...and now I'm craving chocolate! lol
    Hugs, Cindy

  24. What? A creperie? That's it. I'm coming over there!

    (Also just discovered a crepe-and-coffee place here in STL which I'll have to share with you when you next visit the Gateway!

    regards to the Gypsy!

  25. What fun! :-)

    A dangerously delicious sort of event! :-)

  26. This all reminds me of my years doing a baker's apprenticeship and a 10 month baking course.....we did all that stuff too, right down to the marzipan animals in the chocolate sculptures.
    Are there people who don't eat chocolate every day?? Humph.

  27. oh. my. God.
    this sent me to my chocolate
    and even that isn't getting
    it satisfied.
    so much beautiful sweet goodness,
    it's glorious!
    thanks for the sweetness,

  28. Why...why..why.. didn't you take me along?


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