|Videos||• Latest||• Feature||• Sports||• Your Videos|
If you want to truly get the most out of Christmas, take your example from the city of Stratford in southwestern Ontario, Canada. There, hundreds of visitors are learning the secrets of making exquisite chocolate truffles, rich chocolate bark, and home-made candy canes.
Stepping into Stratford, Ontario is like walking in a Christmas-themed never-never land. There aren't many other cities that take Christmas this seriously. Dozens of shops are decorated with bows, lights, and even giant Nutcracker figures. And of course, Santa Claus always draws a crowd.
But there's another meaning to the word "Christmas" in Stratford. It's chocolate! Every year, hundreds of people make special trips to the city from all over Canada and beyond to experience the holiday season.
Master Pastry Chef John Bex leads the sessions at Pazzo Bakery. He teaches visitors to make traditional home-made truffles, and then put some new twists into it, such as infusing the truffle with earl grey and ginger. But he says the idea is still quite simple.
John Bex said, "I find in my classes that the students find it quite easy and have lots of fun. So it really is, the center is made with cream and chocolate. And then, once it's hardened, then we can dip it into chocolate, it's been melted. And that really is it. The rest is really up to your imagination."
The first step is to melt dark, milk or white chocolate in a bowl, then add cream to it without reducing the heat, mix in butter and let it all cool. Then scoop the chocolate into small balls, rolling them with the palms. Students dip their truffles in double-chocolate or white chocolate to finish them off, and who could resist tasting the fruits of all that hard work?
Rheo Thompson Candies, decked out in green Christmas bows, is one of the busiest places of all. There are countless varieties of chocolate to choose from, all decorated in scintillating paper and colors. At Christmas time, 10 employees are especially dedicated to making chocolate. They make over 2-thousand pounds of it every day.
Mark Johnson, owner of Rheo Thompson Candies, said, "You know what, Christmas around here is a special time, because the store is always filled. It makes what we're doing all year round worthwhile. To see everybody in the store enjoying the product, doing what you're doing here, enjoying making and sampling. It can be fun. So, yea, we love Christmas."
The finished products may end up on Christmas trees for a while, but inevitably, they will become a sweet Christmas memory, one bite at a time.