Because I found the golden ticket!
I am a huge fan of Sporkfoods. I began attending classes before they were listed in VegNews' Bucket List #77. Ordinarily, the two sisters create original themed recipes (think Brunch foods, the County Fair, vegan Thanksgiving) that they cook in front of you & then all the participants gather around and eat the freshly prepared meal. I love, love, LOVE the classes for many reasons. First and foremost, the Spork sisters, Jenny and Heather are too cute for words! I love how they call each other "Sis" and the way they can finish each other's sentences. It's true sisterhood at its best! Second, they welcome everyone to their table, whether they be long-time vegetarians, first-time vegans, or hard-core carnivores. They do not judge. They simply cook a wonderful, healthy, compassionate meal and let the food do the talking. Third, the recipes they create are mouth-watering. It's hard to believe they can create better-tasting food without the usual butter, cream, and meat. Things like clam chowder, fried chicken and pot pies have all been reinvented in this kitchen. I have certainly learned a lot about vegan substitutions because of them.
But I digress.
Last weekend, I attended a workshop that they hosted. The workshop was conducted by premier chocolatier, Tracey Downey. I was blown away by Tracey's energy and enthusiasm, her willingness to impart all her hard-earned knowledge and expertise. I can't tell you how many times she said, "Send me your family favorites and I'll help you convert them" or "Let's talk first before you do that." She had the most giving spirit.
But let's get to the real reason we were all there: the CHOCOLATE! Tracey showed us how to make the most delicious confections! See's Candies and Godiva Chocolates has nothing on her! We were captivated as she created delight after delight, from English toffee to caramels to fudge. And yup, you guessed it, we sampled as we went. I was in pure chocolate heaven!
The English toffee had just the right amount of buttery-ness and crunch. The toffee didn't stick to my teeth, which incidentally was a good thing because I had just come from the dentist that morning with a filling. (The dental technician even specifically told me, "Don't eat anything sticky today. Gum. Caramel." Was she clairvoyant? How did she know what I was about to do?!?)
|Melting chocolate over English toffee|
|English toffee w/ chocolate and nuts|
Next, Tracey made a Butterfinger-like candy, appropriately called "Better than a Butterfinger." Alone or dipped in chocolate, this peanutty candy was perfect!
Truffles were next up. These were special because she started with a fig base and upped the "fig-ness" by adding fig vodka. I didn't even know such a thing existed! The truffles were rich and creamy, truly decadent.
Time for caramels! Creamy, chewy, won't-stick-to-your-teeth goodness! The chocolate caramel with almonds really do taste EXACTLY like the almond royales from See's Candies.
Last, rich, chocolatey, fudge. The great thing about this was that Tracey purposely made it "wrong" so that she could show us how to fix the recipe later on. This was truly a learning experience.
I feel so lucky to have met Tracey. And to all my friends: Guess what you're getting for Christmas?!?