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.
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